Reggae Sumfest 2018

Wayne Wonder parting ways with Dave Kelly - "I don't know what happened"

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This is part two of an interview with Wayne Wonder published in the September issue of YardFlex magazine.

By: Claude Mills

WayneWonder_NoLettingGo_Sean_Paul_Dancehall.jpgWill you ever make music with Dave Kelly again?

"Ah music me mek, if him want to make music, we'll work together again. I don't know what happened why we're not talking. I guess people want to grow, they need changes, sometimes fundamental changes are needed, and that was me," he told YardFlex.com.

Wonder met Dave while he was working under Donovan Germain at Penthouse Records. When Dave Kelly began his own hit factory, the Madhouse / Xtra Large labels, Wayne continued his fruitful relationship with Kelly bring him some his biggest hits to date with the worldwide reggae smashes "Joyride" and "Keep Them Coming." Wayne's album for Madhouse / Xtra Large, 'Da Vibe' contained singles like "Watching You" produced by Dave's brother Tony Kelly (K-Licious). But then things soured between the notoriously eccentric Kelly and Wonder. However, it was the dancehall classic "Saddest Day" which became Wayne's first big conduit to the U.S. when he sang on Foxy Brown's remake on her Broken Silence LP in 2001.

"Me and Dave no link up again, but me and Cham link up more time, we link up a few weeks ago in Hartford, Connecticut at the Caribbean America Day there, and it was cool," he said.

Luckily, despite the turmoil, Wonder was able to use his immense creative ability to trod on. It was a dark period in his life, almost similar in its tone to the anger and alienation he felt when he left Donovan Germaine's Penthouse Records.

"When mi lef Penthouse, mi go through it bad, mi coulden write or create, more time, me even did a pree terrible things, but mi just pray, and God help me through it. Again, when the thing with Dave go down, Him answer me again because Him give me a bigger ting that the whole world ah rock to," he said.

"I look at myself as a songwriter, me tek the writing ting serious bad, mi like songs that are real, I won't use a rhyming dictionary, I want to speak to the soul, songs must have body like songs like 'I Still Believe', mi just put me all into it," he said.

He wrote 'Murderer' while he was in Japan with Buju Banton, 'No Letting Go' was written in a basement in New York, and wrote 'Deportee' with Frankie Sly while in Antigua.

"Me is a conservative yute, mi like mi heavens peaceful. Once I can create, and the atmosphere is there to write and create, mi good," he said.

EARLY INFLUENCES

Born Von Wayne Charles on July 26 in Buff Bay, Portland, Wayne s initial singing inspiration came from attending Sunday school, where singing was compulsory, and from his mother who sang in church. As a child Wayne and his family moved all over eastern Kingston, living in areas such as Dunkirk, Franklin Town and Rae Town, home of the weekly Sunday night Reggae/R&B oldies street dance. Maybe it was the exposure to vintage 45's at these dances which has provided the singer with a richer, more soulful vocal approach to a Reggae rhythm track than many of his contemporaries.

After a raft of reggae hits, Wonder never got his big international break until VP Records, signed him in the winter of 2003. VP, which also had another hot commodity on its hands at the time with Sean Paul, was in the process of inking a deal with Atlantic, giving the label an option to release certain artists via joint venture. VP and Atlantic became partners in January 2004, and Wayne's No Holding Back dropped in March.

During the interview, Wonder said that he is pleased with the quality of songs coming out of the dancehall in Jamaica recently.

"Busy, no Busy mek me laugh man. Mi love Movado, his songs are nice and presentable, nuff meolody. Mi like Assassin, him creative bad. Mi love how the music is going, it's like we create a movement and I can see where it's going."

Maybe that's because he's leading the way.

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