Nature: Prepare the throne
There are many singers and musicians who yearn for stardom. Few get it. Others are content earning a few quid for beer money, while holding down a day job.
In this day and age of the TV talent show; wannabe’s grabbing their 15 minutes of fame with little talent to back it up, countless so-called stars gain fame and fortune without really earning it.
Not so for young Andre Obrien Ellis. At 30-years-old he is on the verge of a big and exciting long-term career as Nature, the fast rising star of Jamaican reggae music. His debut album “Life’s Journey” one of the best discs to drop this year, of any genre.
But wind the calendar back a decade and it was a very different story for him. I’ll let Nature tell you his own story: “I have three brothers and two sisters. I am the second oldest. I loved football and music as a child. It was a humble family; Mum and Dad struggled to maintain their six children and themselves. It was not easy and we lived in a rough place.”
“But they showed us enough love to do positive things. Dad had several jobs; a cleaner at the hospital in Montego Bay. He picked fruit and sold it on the streets. He was a good baker and a great bar tender. Mum did domestic work.”
“I sang from the age of nine. My form teacher said I was always ‘mumbling’ (singing) something, so I should take part in a concert at the school, which I did two weeks later. It was a blast and I realised then it was something I was good at. At the age of 12, I sang with a local Sound System. It felt special. “I realised I had found comfort when I sang. Growing up in a family of six children it was sometimes difficult to get attention, and there was always a competition for attention. So with the feedback I got from an audience, I realised people loved and appreciated me for it. It is the same today in the sense of the love an audience shows me.”
“But I feel I have a cause now. I know my responsibility: To sing positive music, to elevate people mentally, physically and spiritually. It is far more of a cause than just entertaining people. “I left school at 17 and got a scholarship in music theory at a college in Montego Bay. Since I was 14, I did part-time jobs. Furniture store, book store, bakery, electrician, construction site, chicken farming etc while also going to school. It was a very difficult time to balance school and work. But I needed to help myself and ease some of the pressure off my family.”
“I did the scholarship for a year and then took a full-time job for two years, operating the machinery in the laundry at the Ritz Carlton hotel. It was well paid for a boy my age who just graduated. I was singing around the local community too, but always dreamed of making music my career.”
“So I left home and went to Kingston at 20. My parents tried to talk me out of it. My Father said to leave a well paid job and go into the music business, which was so competitive, was not a good idea. But I told him, ‘Listen. God is sending me on a mission and God will provide and make a way for me.’”
THE ALBUM “LIFE’S JOURNEY” IS OUT NOW ON DOWNSOUND RECORDS
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To read more from our exclusive interview with Nature, including how the artist got into a musical career and how it effected his life... Just pick up a copy of Blues & Soul magazine at your local magazine retailer, inc; WH Smith, Menzies + selected Euro Foods, Cost Cutters and a plethora of independents everywhere! ...If they don't stock it, ask for a "B&S shop save" and they will get it for you.
Words SIMON REDLEY