All that 34-year-old Jamal Green has ever known, from the time he was a little boy, is music.
In fact, he grew up in a household where listening to music was a regular activity. It came as no surprise, therefore, that he chose to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter.
Green, who is better known by the stage name SupaStar, recently chatted with Bajan Vibes about his musical journey thus far.
“I always liked music,” he said, “and some older people around me that always played reggae music and the conscientious vibes”.
Growing up, Green said he enjoyed collecting cassette tapes with recordings of shows.
However, what made him certain that he was going to be an entertainer was when schoolmates at the then St James Secondary School paid him to sing songs for them.
“I always mimicked entertainers and artistes like Buju and Spragga Benz, and plenty other old school reggae legend artiste, ” he recalled.
Green started writing songs at the age of 11 and, finding it easy, he “just kept writing and writing”. Saying he has possibly written over 1,000 songs, SupaStar sees his talent as a gift from the Creator.
“It is an energy that the Almighty just put into me. Songs that I wrote at fourteen are still relevant for today.”
When asked which song, in his view, has had the most impact, he mentioned one called Hustling. “I believe songs have seasons and songs are more effective in certain seasons, so . . . there is not one that is more effective over the other,” he explained.
Green fondly looked back to the early stages of his career when he began making a name for himself. In particular, he recounted an experience involving a competition called Drop the Bomb on Hott 95.3 FM shortly after this youth-oriented radio station was launched.
To take part in the competition, he said a listener has to call in to the studio, sing a jingle on air and if it was good, he or she would be applauded but if it was bad, the ‘bomb ’would be dropped on the listener.
Green recalled at the time that he had broken his foot while playing football and was at home for a two-month period and everyday he would call in, so much so that the Hott FM DJ Fuzz knew his name.
Following the exposure he gained via the competition, he released his first song, entitled Platinum, which made it debut on the airwaves in 2000.
Shortly after he linked up with Popular DJ freedom songs, Jerry Dan and crew and would they would perform at school fairs, pageants and dub houses around Barbados.
“I am still growing in the music,” Green acknowledged, even though he has been in the industry now for about 20 years and has not only performed here in Barbados but also overseas in the Caribbean and in the US.
He is best known in Barbados for a hit single entitled, Pressure Point, recorded with the band, High Grade, that earned them two Barbados Music awards as well as a number of other singles like Hustling, Determination and ‘ohh fada’.
He said the popular six-year-old song was continuing to do well in the overseas market. “I have DJs all over in Japan, Europe, United States who are seeking out my music so my songs are still rising,” he said.
SupaStar also produces and markets his brand. “I promote and sell my own music this is more than ten years, and have sold over 90,000 copies, I’ve managed to make money and be paid from my own music while voicing dub plates and jingles for DJ’s all over the world,” he said.
He has performed here at Reggae on the Hill and at Hennessy Artistry on a number of occasions and other big events such as ‘Jam Jam’ in Jamaica held by veteran singer Coco T along with other big name artiste. “I performed with Beenie Man, Junior Gong, Vbyz Kartel, Mavado and popular Barbadian artiste LRG ,Peter Ram Shaky Ranks and others.
At the beginning of the year, Green released two new songs, Real Born Hussler and No Shoota. With the increase in gun violence and segregation on the island, SupaStar found it necessary to speak out against this development.
In No Shoota, a line goes “me nah want nuh shoota, me nah want no shooter, no more dead body in a di gutter”
“I know my music would influence those who have vision and those who are awake,” he said. “The truth is the truth so when I speak of upfulness, togetherness, moving forward, ambition and determination, that would inspire the people somehow.”
Green reported great support for both songs from the public and revealed plans to release two supporting videos shortly. He said his biggest challenge, which he shared with other local artistes, was insufficient exposure of Bajan music by local DJs that is why SupaStar would promote events in his community inviting young artiste and entertainers so others could get some foundation recognition.
“Some of them are doing a good job, but we need to push it some more. There is so much good quality Bajan music,” Green said, adding he was not fazed and intended to press on.
He offered some advice to emerging musicians. “I would just say to know yourself, know your worth and get the drive to push yourself. Use your mind to be creative in music and whatever field you are in” he said.