In an era where most musical artists are motivated by money ,women and fame, Jamaican vocalist Luciano is driven by an entirely different engine. A deeply religious youth blessed with an undeniable voice, Luciano has become one of today's most popular dancehall reggae singers by bringing universal messages of spiritual hope, On WHERE THERE IS LIFE, his debut Island Jamaican album, Luciano delivers 12 powerful tunes, each an eloquent testimony to his living faith.
Born Jepther McClymont, Luciano was raised by musical parents in Davey Town in the parish of Manchester. His father, who had built his own guitar, taught Luciano the instrument. After singing in church and serving the prerequisite Jamaican apprenticeship working with local mobile discos (also known as Sound Systems), 1992 saw Luciano record his debut single, a version of "Ebony & Ivory" for Aquarius record shop owner Earl Haynes.
After voicing several covers for the Producer Sky High, Luciano released "Give My Love A Try," which was produced at Castro Brown's New Name Studio. It was there that Luciano met Freddie McGregor the former Studio One child star who had become an International Reggae Superstar. Joining McGregor's Big Ship production company, Luciano began creating cultural, conscious reggae that reflected his religious and social concerns.
In 1993, Luciano scored a #1 UK reggae hit with the song "Shake It Up Tonight". Leaving McGregor, Luciano voiced a series of records for various Kingston producers including reggae legends Sly & Robbie. Luciano's search for a musical partner ended when he found Phillip "Fatis" Burrell, head of the Xterminator label.
"In the early days before I met Fatis," Luciano recalls, "It was as if I was shopping around to find a serious and constructive producer who was willing to listen to my ideas end work together with me on a musical basis. The seriousness and zeal that Fais has is so compatible to mine that we pull in tandem, like a sculling team"
What followed was a series of hit records that rocked reggae radio and dancehalls in Kingston, London, New York, Miami and anywhere else with a sizable Jamaican population. The UK hits included "Chant Out," "Poor And Simple," "Neighborhood Watch" and "One Way Ticket". In the U.S., lively versions of Bob Marley's "Chant Down Babylon" and "Crazy Baldheads" the latter a duet with the red hot DeeJay Bennie Man, hit the upper reaches of the U.S. reggae charts while bringing positive messages to American ghetto youths.
For WHERE THERE IS LIFE, Luciano and Fatis tapped the talents of Sly & Robbie and the entire Firehouse crew: ex-Third World guitarist, Steven "Cat" Coore, multi- instrumentalist Donald Dennis, keyboardist Robbie Lyn and sax master Dean Frazier. With his guitar work giving Luciano a compositional leg up, he co-wrote all of the album's song's with Fatis. "It's like a fire burning when we're In the studio,; everyone has a natural vibe because they know what they can do," explains Luciano.
The album's first single "It's Me Again Jah," is an unadorned public prayer which is already a major record in the US dancehalls and on reggae radio. "Often When I sing my songs, I'm singing for the man who's down in the ghetto suffering; I realized that many of these youths have forgotten how to pray ," states Luciano. The inspiration for ´It's Me Again..´" came when I said to myself "Maybe I can instigate spiritually in the man who has given up on life if I just offer him an alternative."
Other outstanding songs include the gospel- rooted "Lord Give Me Strength"; "There No Love In The World," with its lover's rook groove and positive messages; the uplifting title track; and "Good God," a militant expression of faith propelled by fierce rhythm.
"I have seen that variety is the spice of life; I realized if you stick to one rhythm, one type of sound, things will become monotonous," Luciano observes. In line with this, the song "Just Like The Wind" breaks new musical ground by combining African-style rhythm guitar work end background vocals over a hybrid Nyabing/Soukous drum track.
In this era of million dollar studio budgets and months spent in the studio, Luciano's approach to recording the song "In This Together," which features DeeJays Louis Culture and Terror Fabulous, was daring in its simplicity. "Somewhere up the night hours, I came to the studio and saw Fabulous and Louie Culture hanging out," Luciano remembers with a smile. "So we just go inside, run rhythm , and start throwing down, ´cause that's how we do things."
After finishing WHERE THERE IS LIFE, Luciano took several weeks off for a religious retreat into the Jamaican hill country. "When I entered this reggae music fraternity, no one knew where I was coming from," states Luciano. "The same reason that brought me to music dictate that I'll have to take intervals off in order to cool out spiritually. You have to travel jah road in order to carry jah word."