Richie Stephens is back! And, although still in what he says is “a healing process” the popular Jamaican music maker declared he is not just back, but “back with a bang.”
Stephens, who missed this year’s Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival due to the tragic death of his 22-year-old son, said he is really looking forward to “singing his heart out at the (2012) festival.”
The music star announced his return at the studios of SirrusXM Satellite Radio during the recent New York launch of the 2012 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival. The packed house included leaders of the Caribbean-American community, mainstream media, music moguls and government representatives.
“When I was at my lowest it was the strength of the Most High and the healing power of our music that helped me to move on,” he recalled. “But it was while still at the crossroads of my healing and speaking to the Almighty that the message came back – Live your life.”
That message morphed into his anthem, ‘Live your life,’ which he is looking forward to performing at the 2012 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival carded for Jan. 26 to 28, 2012 at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium in Jamaica.
“‘Live your life’ is a blessing to me because it came at a time when I really needed it,” he confessed. “But now it’s touching the souls of so many people across the world and that makes me feel good.”
During his whirlwind visit to the Big Apple, Richie Stephens spread his message of love and healing with appearances at the Festival’s media launch as well as to the popular weekend radio show with Davhed Levy on 107.5 F.M. WBLS where he and the host took listeners down memory lane. Levy compared Richie Stephens to reggae greats Beres Hammond and Freddie McGregor.
Richie Stephens described performing before an audience of 750,000 people in Poland as part of his therapy. He did so at the invitation of his friend Gentleman, one of Germany’s most popular reggae musicians.
Next year, Stephens will return the favor when he introduces German reggae to its Jamaican roots by having Gentleman as his special guest at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.
Walter Elmore, chairman of Art of Music Productions, praised Richie Stephens along with Shaggy – who was also present at the launch – as true ambassadors of Jamaica: “Their hearts are as big as our country – and they represent us day in day out by making people aware of our music, our culture and our people.”
In addition to Richie Stephens, Shaggy, and a plethora of other top Jamaican performers, next year’s festival is highlighted by the presence of multi-platinum, five-time Grammy award-winning Celine Dion who will stage her first performance in the Caribbean.
A visibly emotional Elmore called Dion’s presence, “a dream come true” for the Festival.”[Having such an international act] is something I have been dreaming about for 17 years,” he asserted.
Other confirmed artists for the 2012 festival include Kelly Rowland, Nicole Henry, Jully Black, John Holt, Yellow Man and Half Pint.
Next year’s Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival kicks off a year-long series of major events in celebration of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of its Independence from Britain.
For further information, visit www.jamaicajazzandblues.com.