KY-MANI why he called his CD THE JOURNEY and the singer/songwriter
answers thoughtfully, "Because hopefully my music will take you to
many different destinations and because the process of making my music has
been a 'journey' for me as well." Of course that's only fitting
for a charismatic artist whose East African name means Adventurous
Ky-Mani has transformed his trials and triumph into words, which speak of his depth, and sounds, which cling to the heart and soul. With a vibrant consciousness approach to his craft, Ky-Mani was born to create music. He embarks on a journey of the spirit, the senses and the heart. On his long awaited and much anticipated Gee Street/V2/Shang Records debut, THE JOURNEY, Ky-Mani embraces various sounds including hip-hop, country and rhythm and blues. The richness of his self-penned songs is like a rhythmic road map leading towards the most lovable destination - the heart.
At first, Ky-Mani was unconscious of his musical abilities, he admits sports was his first love, but with his mom's direction he took piano and guitar lessons and played trumpet in his high school band. "I really liked music but it wasn't really something I saw myself doing. Music was something there but I didn't realize it until it just manifested." Ky-Mani's mother, Anita Belvanis who reigned as Jamaica's number one table tennis champion did much to shape his childhood. Sports were a big thing in the household, both in his native Jamaica and later in Miami where he has lived since he was nine. In high school Ky-Mani was a serious jock, competing in soccer and football.
A then teenaged Ky-Mani started rapping and deejaying; his first single was 'Unnecessary Badness'. He became inspired as a singer after being asked to sing a hook to a song during a recording session at a Miami studio. Ky-Mani recalls, "I liked it and so did everyone at the session." The decision to actually get into the entertainment world loomed over him because of his father, Bob Marley's legacy. "It's kinda hard," Ky-Mani admits. "Everybody is expecting something, but I don't feel the pressure cause I am really and truly doing what I want to do." Ky-Mani soon began laying tracks- experimenting and creating, at times with his brothers Stephen, Julian and Damien.
Ky-Mani soon signed to Shang Records and Management whose founder, Clifton 'Specialist' Dillon was a pioneer in bringing dancehall music to the forefront of the international market. Ky-Mani recorded several singles on the Shang label. The first was 'Judge Not' with Patra, followed by 'Dear Dad' as well as 'Who The Cap Fit' (remix) and 'Sensimellia' all of which added to his growing reputation as a master in the new generation of reggae musicians. In 1997, Ky-Mani joined forces with Praswell (Fugees) on a hit cover of Eddy Grant's 'Electric Avenue.' The extent of his star power became abundantly clear when Ky-Mani took the stage at Midem (international music showcase), which for the first time in its history was held in Miami. In front of an international audience and a capacity filled Cameo Theatre, (stemming mainly from the Midem market place), Ky-Mani delivered an explosive set which was aired live by CANA (Caribbean News Agency) to thirty-six countries. Ky-Mani immediately became the subject of an intense label bidding war.
Ky-Mani signed with Gee Street/V2 Records in 1997 where he completed another collaboration, this time with label mates P.M. Dawn on the single 'Gotta Be Movin' On Up' (Senseless Soundtrack, went Gold in Africa). Both collaborations helped to establish Ky-Mani outside his tight knit reggae community. "Being that I'm Bob Marley's son and that I don't think it's right for me to limit my talent, I want to be able to take my talent where it leads me, I am willing to work with anybody as long as we are making good music."
Ky-Mani's willingness to embrace all genres of music is quite evident in The Journey. From the Spanish guitar which introduces 'RudeBoy', to the lover rock flow of 'Fell In Love', the deeply spiritual 'Lord Is My Shepard' or the rock steady tribute 'Dear Dad', Ky-mani brings songs of universal themes laced with a personal insight and passion. "My message is always to deal with love, peace and unity. That's the most powerful thing, and if people can feel that on these tracks then I have done something right." Armed with a diverse selection of songs, Ky-Mani invites us all to embark on The Journey.
Visit Ky-Mani's web site at: www.bugjuice.com/kymani/