Saturday, May 24, 2008

Spotlight: Redemption Voice

Someone to watch...

One to watch Colin Simpson:

Just a man with a dream Saturday,

March 17th 2007

The cover of Colin Simpson's self-produced album CD. Colin Simpson has never had a record deal, sparse crowds have heard him sing a few times and just about three persons knows he has lyrical skills, yet when he walked into Stabroek News on Monday and casually sat on a stool outside, people thought otherwise. "Is he a member of First Born?" someone asked and understandably so given that he bears a slight resemblance to one of the members of the local reggae group. But as another observer put it, he has a more conscious look and comes over as someone who is more than he appears to be. Another enquired whether he was a Jamaican artiste stopping over in Guyana. Asked who he is, Colin simply said, "Just a man with a dream", a man, he said, who has struggled for many years to recognise which path he is suppose to take in life while the dream is to bring his music to people. He goes by the name 'Redemption Voice' though some know him as 'Quiet Storm' or 'Colin I'. Colin has actually recorded an album right here in Guyana, arranging all the music himself and doubling as producer and singer but it is yet to be released. What is he waiting for? The right moment. Something about him does say singer and when he speaks you get the impression that he has spent a lot of time figuring out his life. His cool demeanour and easy-going attitude rules out "big shot" though he is somewhat withdrawn and particularly quiet except when he is asked a question. Colin 'Redemption Voice' Simpson Opening up about the person he is, Colin said he is pretty ordinary. For most of his life, well the part that matters, he has been an Ital food vendor pushing his cart around the city day in and day out to raise money for his album. At one time he was a regular feature at Regent and King streets. He said his menu was mostly peas, beans, vegetables, plantains and rice. Loyal customers often followed him around as he journeyed from spot to spot selling his food. Before the push cart days Colin had a permanent spot at Orange Walk, Bourda where he sold his Ital food. He said that the food business is what made the album a realisation though preparing Ital food is a passion. Now that those days are over he is looking at becoming the next great voice in reggae music.

Colin is 35 years old. He said he started writing songs ten years ago when he was faced with many trials in life and had no one to turn to. He said the book and pen became his closest friends. "I gave up the life I was living at the time and turn from women, quit the wayward direction I was going in and just became focused. I decided what I wanted to do in life and just started working on that so for years I sold food and saved my money because I didn't know if people were going to support my dream. Honestly, no one has to this day except for a few friends," Colin said. In 1996, Colin worked with First Born as a personal hairstylist to the group. He spent five years with First Born and during that period hoped to get his first gig alongside the group. It never happened. He managed to get a spot at a few minor shows but the opportunity of bringing his music to a wide audience never came. Instead of giving up Colin said he prayed about it. His album, 'Good Health and Long Life' has 14 tracks and while he was here on Monday he laid down two of the songs for us. Why he is still waiting to be signed is the question we asked. Colin's lyrics are clean; his message is elevating. He sings it as he sees it and his voice is refreshing. One of his songs, "Black and Beautiful" is a poetic tribute to women of every colour - the word black does not signify ethnicity but strength. The title song questions the "don't care" attitude some people have in life. At age ten years, Colin said, he worked his first job.

Describing his childhood days as nothing too special, he said, things were so bad at one time that he ran away from home and lived on the streets for a little while. He said for a long time home was not a place where he felt comfortable. Colin said writing was his escape and over the years he has complied an unbelievable number of songs. He said there is enough material in his collection to record 20 more albums. But according to him, there is no rush. Over the years rejection has made him stronger and more patient. He has a feeling greater things are in store for his album so he has not pushed to release it in Guyana. Colin migrated to the United States the day after he came to Stabroek News and though he pointed out that he would need to go back to school and get a job in the interim he intends to push his album over there. "It could use more work and with the right people behind me I am going to get it done. I don't foresee a release for another year. If all goes well things could happen sooner but there is no rush at all," he said. Something about him says Colin Simpson is going to get that opportunity to reach people with his music.

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