Tarrus Riley is here and wants to meet you. That was the message the Jamaican reggae artiste sent to the people of Trinidad and Tobago when he spoke with the Express on Wednesday. He was taking a break from rehearsals at home in Jamaica and spent a few minutes chatting with us before getting back to the music.
Riley will tomorrow perform at the “Forever Summer” concert taking place at the Jean Pierre Complex, Port of Spain alongside fellow Jamaican artistes, Romain Virgo, Bushman and Loyal Flames with local reggae/soca act Ziggy Rankin. This event is being presented by Tropix Entertainment in conjunction with Rickel Services Limited.
Before the concert, however, Riley is seeking to meet and greet his fans at a pop-up shop he is setting up this evening at Route 66, Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook. Riley will be at the venue from 4 p.m. to about 7 p.m. to meet with his fans and chat with them, take photographs and autograph posters and CDs. There will be CDs and other Tarrus Riley merchandise available at the location.
“I don’t want to just come in and do a show then leave. I love meeting the people who love my music and support my career, buying my CDs and coming to the concerts. They matter and they are the ones who allow me to continue to enjoy the career that I love. So I am going to be out on Ariapita Avenue to spend time with you all taking photos and just getting to know you. So come down early so that we can spend as much time as possible together,” Riley said.
He is excited about coming here for the show, he said, and he made it clear that he was not just saying that to win props. He said he has always received a lot of love here in Trinidad and Tobago and from Trinbagonians wherever he meets them around the world. Riley also said he is very happy to see the measure success that soca music has been enjoying especially in the last few years.
“Trinis give me a lot of love wherever I meet them and so I am truly excited over coming there this weekend. Patrons at the concert can expect the unexpected and a very high standard of music. This is summer time, party time and we are going to have a great night together. I am very happy to see the success that soca music is enjoying.”
“In fact soca and reggae music are really taking over the world like never before and sharing the sunshine of the Caribbean with everyone else. I am really interested in doing some collaboration with soca artistes in Trini and will be looking into that. I thank Bunji Garlin for introducing me to singing soca and its vibe (Riley and Bunji Garlin did a remix of “Carnival Tabanca”). I love the soca sound,” Riley said.
Riley’s songs are based on life as he sees it and as he believes it should be. He added that he is inspired by the things he experiences daily as well as by what he sees the people around him dealing with. Riley’s music is for the most part feel-good music that is meant to lift spirits, give hope and address issues in a manner that provides solutions or at least a pathway to improvement.
“Music is what feelings sound like and it speaks to every emotion. I write with the aim to ease off the stress of the people. I write about what I am inspired by, for example, I may be reasoning with a brethren and then end up writing a song based on what we were discussing or debating over,” Riley said.
Riley is the son of iconic reggae artiste, Jimmy Cliff and his music although having it distinct identity, reflects the depth, tenacity and near perfection of his father’s music. Riley said he does recognise and accept that his father’s personality is present in his own music and he sees this as natural because he grew up seeing his father create music and perform.
“Maybe more than I am conscious of, is the presence of my father in my own music. I saw him at stage shows and learned a lot from watching him perform and also seeing him as he created. My father is the first person I saw dedicate so much of his time to music. I also had the opportunity to see the greats like Garnet Silk perform and learned from seeing them,” Riley said.
Riley is one of the most loved and people-friendly artistes in Jamaica and he credits his parents with this. “I love people and I don’t like being alone at all. My mother and father taught me to love people and to respect every person regardless of status, ethnicity or religion. So I can’t be one who shy away when there are people who want to offer their friendship. So come out and meet me,” Riley said.