From the roster of Digicel Rising Star hopefuls, Okeefe ‘Laden’ Aarons has emerged victoriously. With a cool, smooth singing style he captured the hearts of many during his talent show run in 2006 that took him to the top ten of the Rising Stars, from which he was the eighth person to exit.
Today Laden has come into his own with the release of many well received singles and is shining like the competitive ‘rising star’ that initially thrust him in the spotlight.
“Time to Shine” is his latest release and in just over a month since its launch it has landed on many radio charts in Jamaica and overseas, making Laden one of reggae’s latest hot commodities.
Thrilled with his progress and success to date, Laden told Yardflex that his was not a church choir or school concert triggered attraction to singing. He spoke of his first performing experience as being actually influenced by a dismal situation since it was a time in 2004 when Laden wrote and presented a song for a good friend, Mark Ritchie Gussie who passed away following a tragic accident.
Laden’s song that day was well received by all in his St Elizabeth community, including the sound system operators there and everyone encouraged him to develop his amazing talents, which he did. The Digicel Rising Star competition was the break he needed after spending two years writing more and more songs and honing his skills at the Micro Tech Studio in Junction, St. Elizabeth.
“Digicel Rising Stars did a lot for me in terms of exposure…people got to know me and when I would visit studios after that, producers recognized me and were willing to listen to me,” Laden explained.
After a short stint with Shocking Vibes where a couple of songs were recorded and one, “Gonna Lead” on the DJ Canter rhythm, was released, Laden moved on to the Big Ship Studios in search of that big break.
And it was forthcoming for the young singer of lover’s rock and social commentary who started recording for ‘kickin’ producer, Stephen McGregor and reeling in top shots one after the other. Songs like: “I’m Sorry,” “Time to Shine” and “Really Like You,” are exclusives, produced by Stephen McGregor.
Other manifestations of the McGregor/Laden collaboration include: “Gal Coward,” on the Daybreak rhythm, “No Dash Weh,” on the Day Rave rhythm, “Don’t You Like It,” on the Chiney K rhythm and “Do Your Thing” on the Work Out rhythm.