January 21, 2010
Courtney Johnson's Whatage Music moving ahead
Carl Gilchrist, Star Writer
Since the departure of Al Francis from his label, nothing much has been heard from Courtney Johnson's Whatage Music.
But now the Manchester-based producer has stormed back with two artistes who seem destined to go places, Black Light with Jah Bless The Fathers andGucci Flava with Neat Inna on the Iceberg rhythm.
Jah Bless the Fathers, which speaks positively to the role of fathers in the lives of their children, is getting heavy rotation, and seems destined to be the breakthrough hit to launch Black Light on his musical career.
Black Light is currently getting ready to be part of an all-island road show with a 16-venue stop, starting in March.
"Both artistes are taking their music and talents to the streets, performing on all events possible," Johnson said.
Black Light, born Andrew Troy Roberts, hailed originally from Waltham Park before moving with his family to Mount Friendship in the St Andrew hills.
His music represents the struggle, love, hope and faith from his daily life, and he takes pleasure in the consciousness and spiritual 'upliftment' that his songs deliver.
His first show as an eight ear-old at St Theresa All-Age school revealed his immense talent, putting him in demand for shows in the surrounding communities.
As Preacher Blacks, he won the Tastee Talent contest in 1998.
His journey eventually led him to Johnson's Whatage label in 2006. Two years later, in 2008, his first single, Vision, was released.
With Jah Bless the Fathers developing into a huge hit, Black Light is now working on his first album.
"Black Light is a lyrical genius who performs with effortless energy. An artiste who is looking to make a name in the music industry - on the rise, and promises to continue delivering positive and uplifting music for the masses," says Johnson.
Gucci Flava, (real name Owen McDonald Jr) also originated from Waltham Park and grew up in Seaview Gardens.
"My parents encourage my musical career in all aspects - from my first guitar to first stage performance at age six," Flava explains. Now, as a single parent to three children (Angel, Jalani and Asia) Gucci Flava is instilling the same values and encouragement he received as a child.
From 2002 Gucci Flava migrated to Hartford, Connecticut (USA) to expand his horizon as an artiste and, according to Jamal Bartelle, writing in Assault Magazine in 2007, rose in five years to be one of Connecticut's brightest young underground reggae artistes.
"As a songwriter, my songs reflect the day-to-day life unfolding around me. As much as we want to protect the youths, there's realities and pitfalls that they should be aware of and to protect them is to sing about it. Life is not all roses," says Flava.
Meanwhile, Whatage Music is preparing to drop its latest project, the Light rhythm, featuring artistes such as Nesbeth, Natty King, Lutan Fyah, Anthony Red Rose among others.