AS part of the Emancipation celebrations, the Emancipation Day Parade, which will be hosted at the National Park (as is the norm) will feature performances from many guest artistes, including renowned Reggae artiste, Luciano. With the release of his landmark CD in 1995, Luciano has emerged as one of the most important reggae singers in decades, and the greatest hope for roots reggae’s survival in the digital dancehall era.
Since that much-acclaimed release, Luciano’s music has been consistently praised for imparting sentiments of spiritual salvation, edi?cation, and humanitarian upliftment.
In these troubled times, Luciano’s engaging baritone voice resonates like a divinely ordained instrument, possessing the power to comfort souls from all walks of life.
Luciano is estimated to have made at least 40 albums; the prolific artist releases three (full- length) CDs per year.
“I have so much music and messages, that I cannot be holding it inside of me,” he declares. “From a management point of view, they would like to see me cooling out for a while, but if a bird doesn’t sing, tell me if that bird is happy?”
Music has run deeply throughout Luciano’s life. Born Jepther Washington McClymont on October 20, 1964 in Davey Town, a small community located atop a hilly region on the road to Mandeville in the central Jamaican parish of Manchester, Luciano was raised in the Adventist Church, and sang in the church choir.
His father, Arthur, passed away when Luciano was just 11 years old. He left behind a guitar he had built, and as Luciano recalls, “through those early years, I fell in love with the guitar and started to learn to play, which I realised was showing love and respect to my father.”
His beloved mother, Sophie, who struggled to raise Luciano and his eight siblings, is also a gifted singer.
As he grew older, Luciano sang in local youth clubs, and took the ‘mic’ at local sound-system dances.
In the late 80s, he arrived in Jamaica’s bustling capital, Kingston, hoping to transform his musical talent into a ?ourishing career. He sold oranges in the marketplace as a means of initially supporting himself, but when a drought restricted that year’s orange crop, he returned to Mandeville.
However, the music beckoned, so it wasn’t long before Luciano went back to Kingston, this time with even greater determination to succeed. He worked as an upholsterer by day, and at night he sought recording opportunities in various studios. It was suggested by one of his mentors, Homer Harris, that the name Jepther McClymont did not have the requisite charisma to propel the career of an aspiring entertainer; Jepther was (professionally) re-christened as Luciano. The name was also somewhat prophetic: “Luci” means bearer of light, and within a few years, Luciano would shine as one of the brightest lights in the Jamaican music constellation.
Said he: “Over the years, I have listened to other international icons like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Jim Reeves. By listening to all these great brothers, I have learned to appreciate other works, and see that there are no barriers in music. Although I am well known as a cultural reggae singer, I have an international message, and so I cannot deliver it just to reggae fans; I have to extend it to people from all walks of life.”