Richie Stephens is no rookie when it comes to the music business. With 31 years and counting under his belt, the Jamaican artist shows no sign of slowing down — readying his next album to be released in May.
According to Richie Stephens, “I’m cooking up a storm. I got a project that I’m just finishing right now; the album is just mastered. We’re getting ready to put it out soon.”
The upcoming album, titled “Richie Stephens and The Ska Nation Band,” is a collaborative album bringing Italian-based ska band and Richie Stephens together on one record.
“We got together last year for the first at a festival. We decided to do some ska music together and it materialized,” he said.
For some, ska might appear to be an abandonment of Stephen’s usual dancehall and reggae sound. But for those familiar with the artist you will notice that he has dabbled with ska throughout the years.
He also affirms that ska is the first international music to come out of Jamaica so his decision to get into the sound now is not that farfetched.
“Ska music is our first international music from Jamaica. I’ve always loved and respected it over the years,” he explained. “It won’t really be a problem for people to catch on that listen to Richie Stephens. I’ve always wanted to do a ska project and now is the time.”
This album, as he explains, is not necessarily meant for the typical reggae listener. This project is meant for an international landscape — one he has noticed over the years to be very appreciative of ska.
“This album is basically done for an international audience — Germany, France, Japan, Australia, all those places and places that really love ska music and I noticed from touring over the years, that people really have a love for ska music,” he said.
Following the release of the album, Stephens and the nine-man band plan to be all over Europe touring and pushing the album.
Aside from making headlines with his upcoming music, Stephens has also been recognized for Rihanna’s latest single “Work” featuring Canadian-born rapper Drake. Sampling his 1998 “Sail Away” riddim, Stephens was well aware that the track was coming since her camp cleared the use of the sample with him ahead of time. Overall, he finds Rihanna’s rendition to be a good track.
“When I heard it I said, ‘hmm kind’ve different.’ It’s very simply but catchy. I like the song, it’s a nice little catch tune that I’m sure will be big,” he said.
“Richie Stephens and The Ska Nation Band” is anticipated for a May release with a following summer tour.