As if Guyana has not had its fair share of live performances from Jamaican artiste Mavado, on Christmas Night thousands flocked to the Vege Village super concert for another serving. Just as he promised he 'shut down the west side.' But there is more to this often controversial artiste whose name often lands in the news. During an entertainment exclusive interview on the fast becoming popular Caribbean music Box Programme he reveled that he prefers to let his performance and lyrical shots speak for him be cause as he puts it " me nah inn a dem bragging thing"
Speaking to the youths who often get lost in and adopt the musical messages as lifestyles he made it categorically clear that they should understand that 'education is the key" he also advised them to not be fooled into "taking up guns everyday and killing each other because he says "if you do that everyone would soon be dead."
While he represents for the 'Gully side' he told the Guyanese youths on the programme aired on BTV 2 that if they aspire to be like 'the Gully god' or Natural Black then they have to have a mind of their own and keep a real long term aim and work towards it.
"You can't have an aim towards the destruction of yourself, friends and family. Aim towards prosperity," Mavado added.
Reflecting on being the initial ban from Guyana he expressed thanks to the Government for lifting the ban but remains adamant that "me nah know what mek dem ban me last time cause me nah do nothing."
By Mondale Smith
Recently Guyana has experienced an upsurge of local acts with international potential but as they work out their game plan Jamaica based Guyanese artiste Natural Black is already on a role. Ultimately he aspires to take his music to the four corners of the earth and with it the Golden Arrowhead. Recently he sat down for a one-on-one candid conversation on Caribbean Music Box where Mondale Smith got up in his Business.
Mondale: We know you as the Kid from Plaisance who moved from welding to selling clothes after school and then became a hit on the Jamaica Music scene who has made Guyanese proud. What have you been up to of recent?
Natural: For me it's naturally all music from start and continually. Sometimes you get so caught up in it that you go missing for a while and people start to wonder if you detaching your self from them but that not it cause you are with them spiritually.
Mondale: Some say that while you are a Guyanese you have sold your birthright is that true?
Natural: You can't sell your birthright, what you are, is what you are. Me ah Guyanese 1000 percent and that can't change no matter what people say. But me want them feh know that me don't forget them cause if we forget we self we gon lost we self.
Mondale: Your name is Mortimer...How did you end-up with NATURAL BLACK?
Natural: I usually dress in black and white and in Jamaica they usually try to find another name aside from the one you have on your birth paper. At first I was Black and White but the Jamaican industry can't see through that so since my lifestyle has always been Natural I just take off the white and added Natural and it stuck.
Mondale: Ten albums and counting what has the road been like for you?
Natural: Rough and rugged as life set up but it has it smooth time so I give thanks for those. The challenge is a great challenge but knowing that you can and have reached the level of over coming. It's a great a joy to know me reach from one level to another.
Mondale: you seem to be very spiritual explain that.
Natural: Yes from you know yourself spiritually you know that you can rise above and go through life with a true purpose. The spiritual part of me ensures that I do not hurt myself or others. I think my spiritual connection keeps me balanced so that I can flow through physically.
Mondale: Take us back to life after school before your big break...
Natural: I lost my mother when I was two and after school I joined the army as an apprentice. I moved all the way up to a Corporal and the experience thought me discipline. There I learnt welding then I resigned and started selling clothes by day and putting in appearances at some night spots at night. As I get in the talent line I started seeking out stage shows to perform then the opportunity came for a trip to Jamaica and the rest is my story.
Mondale: When you arrived in Jamaica what was it like?
Natural Black: In Jamaica the scene was a lot like Guyana and I had to work hard with much dedication and that I did then I got to record my first song. Now ten albums down the road I'm going to take it to another level because there are always greater things to life... I'm trying right now to create an album that appeals to all the people.
Mondale: Let's talk Family, your family!
Natural: I grew up with my aunty after my Mother died when I was two. Family life comes with various things and often we may not know or understand some mystic in life but I give thanks to my aunty who brought me through the struggle and eventually I got to know my brothers and sisters. My current family includes my woman and two sons.
Mondale: What's your advice to youths regarding education?
Natural: It requires education to be in my business. With out knowledge you can find yourself in a tight spot because talent alone will not do it. You need discipline, nurturing and guidance.
Do you know Miss Guyana Universe 2010?
Morvinya Sobers, Lianna Damond, Mia Rahaman, Odessa Phillips, Meleesa Payne Jenella Cox all took aim as Guyanese Beauty ambassadors at the Miss Universe crown but while some got pre-pageant night international media attention they never made the final cut. In fact no Guyanese in recent years has been able to do that despite their best formulas and strategies.
Last year our hopes were pinned on Tamika Henry: a rounded Guyanese Scholar who arguably is more than just a beauty and a warm personality. Yet again Guyana's hopes were dashed, and some have thrown the towel in while optimists look to the 2011 competition with hopes galore.
The pampering clouds have faded leaving fond and treasured memories of a month of all expenses paid; enviable glitz and glamorous experiences in Sin City, Las Vegas, USA. Miss Guyana has returned home quietly void of the pomp and ceremony accorded queens in other countries with a mission.
A Queens' College grandaunt from the Tucville Community, this Guyana scholar who completed a Degree in Forensics at the Miami University unlike some past queens is not likely to fade into the woodwork anytime soon. Tamika is among a privilege few that will not only be a beauty queen face but a personality to look for in Guyana's forensic fraternity with an eye and brain for detail that could see many crimes being solved through scientific genius.
During her One-one -One interview on Caribbena Music Box we realized that amidst all the famous educational and fashion exploits, Tamika is an average Guyanese girl, very simple with a love for cooking, music and playing with animals. But while she paraded herself in swimsuits on the local shores and the USA for the world to see she categorically states that "I'm a very strict church girl."
One of five siblings in a home with its own financial difficulties, she blossomed from a shy, quiet and withdrawn lass into an outspoken woman of substance who realized that the best way to become a person of note in society she "had to be smart."
"Education is the key to the world and fulfilling your dreams ...If I'm smart enough I could get a scholarship, go study abroad and then make real money and live the good life...that was my aim growing up." Hence she gained a place at Queen's College where she did home work at times for some of her peers.
By Mondale Smith
Music is the only thing that makes me happy
Stay true to your self because if you are in the industry and you are not doing what you like you are not going to be happy and your fans will notice it. Additionally know that 'You are never too old to learn so continue to perfect your craft.' Such are the utterances of RnB artiste Mario during his first visit to the local shores this past December.
After socializing with and then offering his soulful crooning abilities to his Guyanese fans the 24-year-old says he's smitten by the Guyanese hospitality and definitely will be back to entertain on a larger scale.
Through the Next Level Entertainment group in association with Tower Hotel he was the star act on stage for those who ushered in year 2011 at the hotel's pool side under the theme Allure. Popular for dishing songs such as 'you should let me love you' the music heart throb told television talk show host Mondale Smith that Guyana is no different from what he had heard from other artistes who visited these parts and he concludes that 'Guyana (Georgetown) is a beautiful place with beautiful people for one to come and have a great time, hence he will be back.
No date has been set for his return but he's working on his fifth album which he says will feature him "going for everything from classic to some great radio records that can be organic reflecting the dark as well as the great places" he's been in over the past year.
Like the fairy tale story, growing up music was his main outlet and escape from a tough neighborhood and he is eternally grateful to his grandmother and mother for keeping good music around him. "As a kid my mother used to buy me mikes and stuff like that and I'd listen to the radio and by the time I was 10, 11 years-old I was entering talent shows with grown folks and winning" and that's pretty much how he got started in music.
At age 15 while some were dreaming dreams his musical dreams began materializing with his first record and among the hits was the very celebrated teenage love story of 'just a friend.' Then came album two which had several and now with four chart toping albums to his name number five is on its way.
But above the music he sees education as playing a pivotal role in preparing one for handling your business in the 'dog eats dog' mainstream music industry. Noting his experience and self education he read lots of books and artistes' biographies but as he puts it 'there's nothing like the experience' in an industry that is ever evolving.
His admonition to artistes hoping to make the main stream is: remember that it's very important to learn from your mistakes and "always keep smart people around you that you trust who are looking after your best interest and will be honest with you about everything".
Mario says for his bigger production Guyana show that he wants to bring back he's felling vibes of live instruments and promises that when he returns he's "definitely coming with a full band because this (Guyana) is a beautiful place and I want to give the people that soul they want and deserve." Assuring that he will keep it sexy for the ladies as well as classic when he returns to Guyana after ten years in the music business Mario says his drive to hear his music around the world and being given opportunities to make his fans happy keeps him going.