Interview: Morgan Heritage
Morgan Heritage, The Royal Family of Reggae, are bringing some of their feel-good songs to The O2 Academy on October 23rd. The Reggae quintet released their tenth studio album Strictly Roots earlier this year to critical acclaim and have recently finished touring the US with Damian and Stephen Marley. Sam Forsdick caught up with guitarist Nakamyah “Lukes” Morgan ahead of their upcoming European tour.
2015 has been a big year for Morgan Heritage with the release of your tenth album and onset of your world tour. How has it been for you?
Good thanks, give thanks and praise. It was the first time we released an album independently so that’s probably been the best part of the year so far for me.
What has been different about releasing Strictly Roots independently?
It was good because we got to see a whole different side to the music business that we were new to. We got to experience what it was like to be an executive and make decisions based on our own music. I’ve got a whole new level of respect for people who work for record labels now that I’ve seen the red tape and the politics they have to go through every day.
What was the inspiration for Strictly Roots and how does it differ from your previous albums?
The message from Morgan Heritage is always the same; we try not to stray too far from who we are and what we believe. Strictly Roots is a reference to the music but it’s also about the roots of every individual. It’s about getting in touch with your roots and with the world, no matter what culture you come from.
You have some great guest artists on this record like Chronixx, Jo Mersa Marley and Shaggy, how did you go about getting them on the record?
Well we’ve collaborated with Shaggy before and always enjoy working together. The Marley family and the Morgan family are also really good friends. We always collaborate with people that we’ve built good relationships with over the years. We’re all good friends outside of music.
You’ve now been in the music business for over 20 years, how do you think Jamaican music has influenced the global music scene over this period?
Jamaican music has had a real positive influence on music from across the world. You now see hip hop, R&B and even country artists looking to make a reggae record. It’s amazing to think that the little island of Jamaica has influenced so much.
You’ve recently finished your American tour, how did it go?
Yeah the Catch a Fire tour, it was great. We toured with Damian and Stephen Marley and it was a beautiful tour. It was good for the music.
It’s now on to Europe, do you find that there’s a difference between the American and European audiences?
Yes, Europeans tend to be more open to trying new things. By that I mean that the American music scene tends to play it safer and sticks with the artists and producers they know they already like. In Europe they are quicker to give new artists a chance and I think that’s why you see so many new artists coming out of Europe.
Your first stop off is at Sheffield O2 Academy on October 23rd, what can the people of Sheffield expect from your live performance?
Expect Morgan Heritage, just a bit more grown. We’ll be playing a lot of new stuff from Strictly Roots.
Do you have a particular place you look forward to visiting whilst on tour?
I always like to play Europe especially the big cities like London, Amsterdam and Paris. It’s always wonderful to play there no matter where we are. We’ve got good fans and it’s always a different experience.
Is there anything you miss whilst on the road?
You always miss your home when you’re away – a man’s home is his castle. It gives you a drive to keep doing what you’re doing and it’s always a good feeling to come home safe after a good time touring.
Head to morganheritagemusic.com for info and more.