Shinehead is seeking to re-emerge on the Jamaican dancehall scene in a big way. The dynamic performer has been working on a number of projects to vault him back into the spotlight in a major way.
Although dancehall fans in Jamaica have not seen much of him in recent times, he says he has been working steadily.
"Almost every weekend, I have a show, I had one in San Diego recently, three weeks ago I was in Hawaii, one hour before, they asked me to emcee the show, so mi bring on Junior Reid, Sugar Minott, Everton Blender, so show gwaan every weekend," he said.
He will be one of the headline acts on a show set for November 11 in Hartford, Connecticut with Coco Tea, Richie Stephens, and African Love disco. There are plans to be a part of a scheduled tour of the United States by African Love disco as well.
"Who knows, I may be in Jamaica this Christmas, I got a phone call from Hardrock regarding Sting this year, so that is another possibility," he said.
Shinehead is a man of many moods,and he demonstrates this throughout the interview, switching from hilariously comical foreign accents, to being very sober and intense, sort of like a chameleon, changing moods when necessary.
Asked what are some of his new projects for 2006, he answers:
"I am trying to be the Jamaican Spongebob, picture this if you will, you a watch a cartoon, yu hear a voice, a Jamaican voice on Nickelodeon, and it's me Shinehead! Nobody no get pay like those guys who do voice overs, dem work de mi like, because mi have the talent," he says, before lapsing into a cartoonish voice that sounds like a man with a thick Indian descent
"I have many voices, for the people's choices, but I have to keep it cleaner fi The Gleaner," he raps/deejays.
The man called Shinehead was born Edmund Carl Aiken in Jamaica, but grew up in the Bronx, going back and forth between the two worlds until 1976, when he settled permanently in New York. He first started singing on July 5, 1982, officially on the sound called Downbeat The Ruler. He moved on to African Love, and then was signed to Elektra. His first LP,, "Rough and Rugged" came out in 1985. He released several albums between the late '80s and early '90s that blended dancehall and ragga with hip-hop. He is best known for singles such as 'Shine', and 'Jamaican in New York'. He parted ways with Elektra in 1995 after the albums, 'Unity', 'Real Rock', and 'Trodding', and he did an album called 'Praises' with VP Records in 1999.
"I have some stuff that is not new but current. I worked with Anthony Malvo on a track for the Ballistic Affairs riddim, and did a song for a man who lick ova the Two Year Old riddim. I did a cover of 'Man Next Door', an old Studio One, my version is called 'Girl Next Door'. Plus I have another song with Anthony Malvo, called 'The Reason Why We Sing' which has a Kirk Franklin and Mahalia Jackson vibe to it," he said.
Have you found religion?
"Mi nah find religion when me get old, mi pray when nobody nah look. Some people find Christianity, or rasta, and suddenly,dem a big star.
Shinehead's daily routine involes going to the gym, going to his voice-over class, and using his furniture-making skills.
"Yea, man, we fix up one or two board house inna foreign, my uncle, Isiah Aiken, was one of the top furniture builders from St. Thomas, mi learn a thing or two from him, and boardhouse work mek some rahtid money ah foreign, classic craftsman pure ah dem tinged...mi a bad man from Home Depot, dem have a bad man from, Dunkirk, Jungle, Sherlock, mi a bad man with original jigsaw pon hip," he said.
He was last in Jamaica on August 7 where he performed alongside Beenie Man in Negril in a show that was affected by rain.
"I am looking forward to coming back to Jamaica soon to perform," he said.
For now, he likes to spend time with his family and doing his hobbies.
"Right now, my day can go anywhere, in the morning, mi get up and go gun range, go fire some bow and arrow, fire some gun, play some golf, a serious ting, mi nah exaggerate, or fly go West Coast to do mi voice-over class Hollywood. The lady who teach me ranked #7 in the world," he said.
He is still the perennial joker. When asked his age, he responds in a stirring rendition of Johnny Matthis, crooning in a clear, stirring voice: "It is Not For Me to Sayyyyyyy."
The performer claims that he has been doing well since parting ways with Elektra in 1995.
"Since then, I have been doing my own productions, did one album with VP, Praises in 1999. I have tried to what my fellow co-workers have done all the time, song here for this label, a song for that label, that has its moments, see singles, hear new songs, so I am doing my thing," he said.
WHO HE RATES
"Mi rate Papa San, Cobra, Ninjaman, don't give up pon mi folks. I did Bob Marley Day with Vegas in Los Angeles, I had a chance to see a bunch of them perform. For the fans who I love who have been there for me over the years, remember it's not where you live, it's how you live, it's not what you will, it's how you will. It's not what you save, but how you save, anything you want in life, you can strive and achieve it. For now, this is Shinehead saying Striiiivvvvve," he said.
For more information on Shinehead, check out the website, www.shinehead.net