Julie Lady Virtue Sealy, who performed under the stage name of Julie when she had her hit soca single Lay Lay Man, is preparing for the release of her first reggae album early next month.
The launch of Reggae My Endless Love is a new venture which formally marks her cross-over to reggae, a globally embraced music genre which Jamaica has given to the world.
“Reggae My Endless Love is a project that I have been working on for the past six years,” Sealy said. Explaining why it took six years, she added: “I believe that music should not be just six weeks of the year but an everlasting something.”
The accomplished entrepreneur said reggae was always her passion even though most persons would remember her for Lay Lay Man. “Reggae had always been my first love and back in the 90’s,” she explained. “I would have started writing reggae songs but just putting them under the carpet.”
She added: “Back then, I had a lot of fear. Not that I am fearless now, but I was a shy person.”
Although she reached the Pic-o-de-Crop semi-finals last year with two self-penned calypsos Do Better and Happy 50th Barbados, Sealy decided to return to her old love and finally release the music that she was working on quietly behind the scenes.
“You always go back to your first love. I decided in 2011 I would go back to my first love which was reggae and I would pursue a career as a reggae artiste,” she said.
Upon making that decision, she went to Richard Bourne to do her single Find a Good Man.
“When I decided that I wanted to do reggae, it was just a thought in my head so I told myself . . . if I am going to do reggae, I’m going to the people that know about reggae,” she said.
“So I went to Richard Bourne who has Bourne studios in St Joseph and he did my first single Find A Good Man and that has a video to it as well.”
Sealy said Bourne advised her that if she was really serious about getting into reggae, she should find a Jamaican producer. Acting on the advice, she began searching on social media and found Jamplified Studios, right in the heart of Kingston.
She realized that the studio produces for well-known Jamaican artistes like Queen Ifrica, Jah Cure and Luciano and local artiste Tony Rebel Bailey.
“I contacted the producer and we had a long conversation, sending emails back and forth. Then I investigated even more [ and realized] that he was not only producing for Queen Ifrica, he was producing for the reggae artistes who come here every year,” Sealy said.
After Sealy started to work with Jamplified Studios, she decided that in order to be authentic, she had to go to Jamaica, the home of reggae.
The album, to be launched on November 4 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, is the first product of this collaboration.
There is an impressive line-up of mostly local artistes down to perform at the launch, including Buggy Nhakente, Daniel, Twin Man, and Shirley Stewart as well as Warrior King out of Jamaica.
When asked how Shirley Stewart, lead singer of the 1970s band The Escorts, fits in with her reggae theme, Sealy said she wanted to reach a wider demographic and his appeal is timeless.
She also noted that a lot of Barbadians still do not know that Stewart’s signature hit song, Walk Away From Love, was written by a Barbadian.