VoiceMail @ Bass Station

Mi. 02.07. Cassiopeia Club
22:00 VoiceMail @ Bass Station
Reggae, Roots

Bass Station Floor:
Live: VoiceMail
DJs: Universal Strugglaz & Friends

VOICEMAIL

The biggest unintentional secret in Dancehall/Reggae music since SNOW is that the fluid sound you hear on tracks recorded by Voice Mail is not the singular range of one singer; but that of a group. Stacked with an abundance of control and timing these three manage to belt out each bar and verse in such harmony that it is easy to be mislead. It truly takes a skilled ear to initially distinguish the different voices. A shared destiny and ambition has bonded these three singers: Craig Jackson, Kevin Blaire and Oniel Edwards together as one group. Performing as a unit for the last 5 years, the three have remained as the final legacy of Voice Mail.
Quickly becoming recognized for their intro trademark "You've got mail, Voice Mail!...Heyeee!", as only Craig can deliver, Voice Mail have been making waves in Jamaica with charting singles such as "Weh Di Time" and their succession of videos. Its their energetic stage performances, that fail to hide the enjoyment shining in their eyes from the pure pleasure of being in front of audiences at key events like: Spring Fest 2004, Sumfest 2004 and Fully Loaded, that are wining over critical audiences.
Like many groups in Jamaica today, the three met up a local talent show. It was there that the foundation of Voice Mail began with two additional members: Robert Manning and Leonardo Grant, all committing themselves to a recording career in 1999. However, as the road to achievement is often long and hard, and the music industry in Jamaica very trying, two of the members eventually moved on; parting the group amicably. However, for the remaining three; Craig, Kevin and particularly Oniel Edwards, whose father is a famous Jamaican recording artist and producer, Rupee Edwards; this was never a consideration.
By 2003, the trio began to actively record with producers testing the waters without the missing members. Their first recording was with radio personality and producer Arif Cooper. They laced an R&B fashioned tune "Never Really Want To Let You Go" with such ease and finesse that, if this song was your introduction to Voice Mail, you would assume they were strictly an R&B group. However, like many talented youths from Jamaica, Dancehall Reggae is the heritage, the music and the largest influence. Although the group is notably inclined to R&B, appreciating artists such as Boyz To Men and Jodeci, it was the direct exposure growing up to Wayne Wonder and Sanchez, as well as Scare Dem Crew, of which Craig's older brother was a member, which molded their musical direction.
Like any group, the three have their distinctly different dynamics. Craig is the mushy one, who is always cuddling, lovable and laid back. However at the same time, hes the one that they all agree is most miserable and meticulous when it comes to recording. Anything less than perfection is simply not an option! Kevin Blaire, a former model is surprisingly the quietest and most unassuming member of the group. He describes himself without airs, for the most part, "Im just a happy go lucky person, always bouncy and ready for anything". Once you get to Oniel, the baritone voice of the group, it is clear that he is the leader, the organizer and the unspoken boss. Always an entrepreneur, Oniel had his own business importing and selling goods prior to joining the group. Kevin even shares "Hes the man that while we sleep, hes there pon the phone calling this person and that person, setting us up to record and all those things. Hes the man in charge".
Teaming up with Danny Champagne of Champagne Records in Jamaica signaled the start of a distinctive period of growth in recordings and relationships. This independent producer actually puts forth more energy in promoting his recordings as demonstrated by the coordination of a video for Voice Mail with Delly Ranks, also featuring dancer Bogle, for their collaboration "Weh Di Time". This video truly helped provide Voicemail and Champagne with extra promotions since it was aired on all of Jamaica's local video channels, even in New York where several programs are re-broadcasted. Later, "She Want It", another collaboration with Delly Ranks, was recorded by esteemed Dancehall producer Tony CD Kelly, known for his timeless riddim tracks for the Grindin riddim, allowed them another hit locally and more penetration Internationally.
Filled with talent, their determination and dedication has allowed them to move forth and record with some of Jamaicas elite producers. They linked up with Christopher Birch at Big Yard Studios in Jamaica for the title track "Salsa" on the Salsa riddim. Also at Big Yard Studios, they laid down their singles "Exit Sign" on the Thriller riddim. Their special chemistry impressed Robert Livingston and they are featured on his THE RETURN riddim creating a crossover friendly track "Jamaican Jiggas". As Voice Mail is gaining support and recognition for their recordings, additional producers are quickly approaching them as they are also featured on the vivacious Dancehall Rock riddim from Skatta with the song "Higher".
This group, whose material is comprehensive, often patterning their writing style in a similar fashion to R&B are not the ones to look at for controversy. They are focused on quality recordings, not mixing up the pot or going for the shock factor just for the sake of publicity. Songs they record portray feel good vibes and at the same time intelligence. Voice Mail is determined to keep moving forward and break into the International market. They have the right discipline, dedication and commitment to their craft. They could very well be the first strictly R&B fashioned Dancehall group to not only stay together but really make an impact. Look out for more videos and a website shortly!

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