Music tells the story of life and for Timothy Redbwoy Kellman it chronicles the reggae singer’s religious journey.
“My inspiration from the beginning comes from my walk with Yahweh. As I have matured personally, had different life experiences and grown in my understanding of him, so has the music,” he told Bajan Vibes.
Redbwoy classifies his offerings as “life music”. “It’s music about life and music that gives life. It also has an authentic, old school vibe, so it feels sweet and familiar but like nothing you’ve ever heard.”
The singer said that his music is a revelation of who he is, his character, his world view, his love for people and his relationship with the creator. His music is unique.
“What sets my music apart is that it isn’t the ‘flavour of the month’ music. I don’t do trends, up-to-date yes, but not fads. Anytime you listen to Redbwoy music you will get real life and always go away feeling uplifted or inspired in some way.”
His involvement in the music scene was unavoidable since he was surrounded by music his entire life. He explained: “I grew up in the era of street fairs, the era when if your house wasn’t playing music the neighbours were playing it loud enough for you and everyone else to hear, oldie goldies, you name it. My dad used to sing as well, and he was the one who introduced me to the classics, from Brook Benton to Beethoven.
“My uncles on either side were also into music, especially dancehall and reggae, and I remember sitting and listening to cassette after cassette and realizing how much of a connection I had to that vibe. Once I realised I had a voice and something to say, it was a natural progression from there.”
The performer’s musical career spans over two decades, starting with a homegrown group called S.W.A.T.G SQUAD. More formalized performances came after joining top local group Bloodwashed.
Eventually, he teamed up with his brother-in-law, fellow artiste King Servant, to create the group RUGGED ROYALTY. They quickly became one of the most sought-after bands on the local scene.
The multi-talented artiste is also a skilled songwriter who pens all of his music and is inspired by the world around him.
“As I put it, I get ‘downloads’ from Yahweh, could be a personal life event, something happening in my community, world event, you name it, but it’s all about what is his perspective on this.”
For Redbwoy, the highlight of being an entertainer is connecting with the audience. “I get these messages in song and I go all out to craft them and present them to people to the best of my ability and then when you see the response, hear people singing the lyrics like it’s ‘their’ song or someone comes and says… ‘Man, that song seriously spoke to me where I was at…’ There is nothing like it!”
Though COVID-19 has created a “new normal,”, the singer adopts an optimistic viewpoint. “I’ve been looking for all of the silver linings, spending lots and lots of time with my family, doing some gardening, catching up on some creative projects which I didn’t have time for previously and of course, creating more music as the inspiration keeps coming,” he added.
Redbwoy recently released Leaders’ Prayer, which he considers a very timely work. “It had its genesis way back, but about a year ago the Father started to bring it seriously to my attention again and through a series of amazing events and amazing people, namely my brother Philip K and Jaicko Lawrence, I was able to finally get it finished.
“The response has been phenomenal as it’s a song obviously for leaders but for all of us at the same time. It’s been really connecting with people and I give Yahweh nuff thanks for that.”
He promised: “More is coming too, but as soon as we have a bit less restriction.”
Selecting a favourite from his catalogue of music was impossible. “This is a tough one. They’re all favourites because they are all from different seasons and had special meaning and impact of their own,” he told Bajan Vibes.
The artiste has performed at numerous events across the island, from school concerts to national events. “I’ve also performed in St. Vincent, Trinidad, St. Lucia and Antigua. Wherever there are people who might be willing to hear the message, I’m there and I’m planning to do much more travelling in the future.”
On his wish list would be the opportunity to collaborate with Stitchie. “I’ve shared the stage with him and had the opportunity to spend some off-stage time with him on more than one occasion as well. He is the genuine article. Not only is he passionate about what he believes and about his art, but he really loves people and is an amazing performer.”
Though producing music is one of his life’s passions, the high cost of music production poses a challenge. “It’s always a balancing act between taking care of your family and other responsibilities and pushing the art. The ideas and art usually come faster than the funds.”
Yet another challenge is getting his music through some doors. “It can still be about personal preference as opposed to just promoting all music, but I believe that the season is changing, so the music will reach the masses.”
Outside of music, he finds joy in working with young people. That, coupled with his love for agriculture, ensures that every moment spent teaching that subject is a joy.
Redbwoy enjoys exploring his culinary talent and once operated a pizza and roti business. “I’m pretty decent in the kitchen and have the stamp of approval of my family to say that,” he added with a smile.
The jack-of-many-trades previously offered a mobile barbering service and lists being a playwright and actor among his varied skills.
Music must have longevity and he advised: “Create music not just for now but music which could live way past you, music you will be proud to listen to years from now and proud to have your children listen to. Also, create music which positively impacts people’s lives and builds up your world. Not tear it down.” (STT)
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