TARRUS RILEY; Why This Reggae Ambassador Earns A Badge of Distinction

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Videography: Brian Houchen || Photography: Bronson Blair || Written By: Marissa Williams 

He connects. He inspires. He entertains.

He has enthralled audiences around the globe with electrifying performances. With each  production, he and his band raises the bar on what the world can expect from reggae artistes and Caribbean artistes in general. His thought provoking lyrical content always manages to tell a story that is relatable to his audience whether it be a love story, a story about broken-heartedness, a story on history  or culture to name but a few.

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Courtesy Bronson Blair|| Tarrus Riley Concert|| ATL

His extensive discography is a testimony to his dedication to producing quality music for his audience. But, I am sure growing up in a musical household did not hurt this mission either. After all, his father is veteran reggae singer, Jimmy Riley who was a member of ‘The Sensations’ and ‘The Uniques’. His close relationship with renowned saxophonist, Dean Fraser, also plays an important role ensuring that his musical quality is always above par.  In a nutshell, Tarrus Riley’s music and stage presence personifies distinction.

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Courtesy Bronson Blair|| Tarrus Riley Concert

Is my bias showing yet? Despite his many awards and nominations including his 2009 Soul Train Music Award for Best Reggae Artiste, his 2011 UNIA Marcus Garvey Award for his musical contribution and his 2014 MOBO Awards for Best Reggae artiste; he still manages to embody humility. After an over 3 hour long performance in Atlanta, and a packed schedule that that had him heading to Orlando the next day for a concert with Beres Hammond, he still graciously allowed the 2BKaribbean team a few minutes to ask some quick questions.

What keeps you motivated on your mission to educate people about culture and history?
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Courtesy Bronson Blair|| Tarrus Riley Concert|| ATL

Tarrus has diverse sources of motivation ranging from reading books, thought provoking conversations to the burning desire to continue being a better person. He sums up his various inspirations into one catchy phrase; ‘In spirit action’ i.e. act on what is in the spirit.


What one song would you use to describe yourself?

It is impossible to sum up his personality into one song, because for Tarrus, each of his songs represents a different mood. Sometimes he feels strong and bold like the sentiments expressed in his song-Lion Paw. Sometimes, he is in a passionate loving mood as is expressed in his love songs like ‘Far Way.’ It all depends on what the day brings


What do you think needs to be done to keep young Caribbean artiste inspired?
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Courtesy Bronson Blair|| Tarrus Riley Concert|| ATL

Caribbean people are notorious for downplaying the achievements of their cultural ambassadors. But this approach doesn’t seem to carry over to their reaction to foreign artistes. Tarrus’ suggestion is to equally acknowledge the achievements of Caribbean artistes and give them credit for the work they do as a way to encourage them. He also suggests that the different governments in the Caribbean islands can play a more significant role in developing the musical arts and nurturing upcoming talent.


What role does your younger audience play for you and your music?

Tarrus is aware that his younger audience is listening to his music and gathering knowledge on life experiences they haven’t yet had. He does admit that  his music is heavily supported by women but he takes the responsibility of educating and engaging his younger audience seriously.


For more information on Tarrus Riley Music visit: www.tarrusriley.com

SOUND OFF: Tell us what is your favorite TARRUS RILEY Song in the comments

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MISSION: To elevate the brand of Caribbean culture in the fields of MUSIC, BUSINESS and the ARTS by celebrating the work of cultural ambassadors while advocating for upcoming Caribbean talent1.


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