Chronixx recently made his debut appearance at one of the world’s most lucrative and closely watched festivals, Coachella, in California — where he proceed with a message of uplift.
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At 23, Chronixx is at the forefront of what some music industry players consider to be a revival of reggae, which became a global mass movement starting in the 1970s under legends such as Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs and Pete Tosh, but which had been overtaken in its Jamaican birthplace by the more aggressive dancehall genre.
“Reggae music is good for the spirit. It is good for the heart,” the Jamaican singer declared in his ever-mellow voice at the Coachella festival, as the crowd dominated by young Americans swayed under the hot California sun.
Chronixx, whose father Chronicle is a dancehall singer, started off as a producer and offers a modern musical update to the classic reggae sound, with a dash of soul in his voice and harmonies, while the rhythms show a love of hip-hop.
However, Chronixx sees himself firmly in the tradition of roots reggae, believing his music is an integral part of the Rastafarian faith.
In contrast to dancehall, which so often is driven by machismo, Chronixx sings of personal uplift and non-violence.
“Reggae music is a music that was born out of a spiritual awakening in Jamaica,” Chronixx told AFP at Coachella, which runs for two consecutive weekends with identical lineups.
“It has that spiritual element within it. It is part of us trying to be innovative and be creative and have reverence in the spirit that gave us this music,” he added.
Also performing was Protoje, a reggae singer older than Chronixx who is also seen as part of the revival.
But Chronixx played down the talk of a reggae resurgence, insisting that the music was never far away for those who wanted to find it.
“We are just a continuation of musicians who have been around since the 1950s, 1960s and even before that. we are the continuation of the spirituality that Jamaica has been a part of for decades,” he said.
“People are more in-tune with what is happening now. That, to me, is what the true revival is,” he added.
Major Lazer, the crowd-packing electronic duo that is a top attraction at Coachella, tapped Chronixx as a collaborator for a song, “Blaze Up the Fire,” on its latest album.
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, who is known for his interest in reggae and worked with Tosh, showed up when Chronixx played in New York’s Central Park in 2014 and greeted him backstage.
As evidence of the rising interest in Chronixx, the young singer, whose real name is Jamar Rolando McNaughton, Jr., has been winning powerful endorsements in the music world.
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