Hard work, luck and honesty… the dancehall star’s golden rules for living.
1 PATIENCE IS KEY
I played water polo and swam for Jamaica at regional competitions. Our coach was hardcore. I spent so much time in the pool I thought I would grow fins, but it definitely gave me discipline and patience for repeating tasks until I got them right.
2 KEEP AT IT
Never give up… Ever.
3 BE THE DADDY
I love being a father. I look forward to waking up and spending time with my son every day. I want to be there every step of the way with him. Becoming a father has refreshed my whole perspective on life. It’s all so brand new again.
4 STAND OUT
My early shows in Kingston were mostly Uptown with a lot of friends there, so they were pretty cool. It was after that, when I had a few songs out there and moved to the next level of shows which were more populated by the general public, when I realised how hard it was to please a Jamaican crowd. It’s well known that a Yard crowd is one of the hardest crowds to move. People said I sounded like [ Jamaican dancehall deejay] Super Cat, so I guess that made me stand out at first.
5 NO REGRETS
I don’t really do regret. I think it’s a wasted emotion. What has happened is gone, it’s in the past. We just need to learn from it and move on.
6 GET CREATIVE
I’m happiest during the creative process. I like writing, being in the studio. I do a lot of creating with my brother, Jigzag. I started producing music a couple of years ago as well. It gave me even more insight into music. I get so deep into that shit now. I just love it.
7 WORK HARD, BE LUCKY, REPRESENT
Hard work and luck both have something to do with the fact I’ve been able to carve out a career in music. I think a lot of people don’t realise the work ethic that this business demands. It’s not just “make music and do shows”, there’s promo, video shoots, TV appearances, radio drops, photo shoots… and interviews. I’m proud of all the awards I’ve won... my Grammy, my Mobos, my American Music Award, but I’m most proud of being able to travel the world and carry the flag for Jamaica, and represent for dancehall music.
8 HAVE A HOME FROM HOME
I’ve never lived anywhere but Jamaica but I spent a lot of time in Toronto from the age of about 11 to 15. My brother was born there and I have a lot of love for that city and Canada overall. They’re always good to me when I go there, whether it’s for shows or otherwise.
9 DISHONESTY IS THE WORST POLICY
Dishonesty is the trait I dislike most in other people. And people who don’t have respect for the biz. I’ve met so many great artists who are so humble, then you meet people who have one or two hits and they act like they are legends and treat others like shit. I hate to see that.
10 SHOW RESPECT
I’ve done a lot of collaborations that haven’t made it to the public, but I’ve had some banging ones released. The secret of making a collaboration work is being able to respect each other and give each other the space to do your thing. I’m a student of music and it always amazes me how adaptable dancehall music is to other genres. That helps, too.
“Respect each other…” Mr Collaborator (here with Beyoncé) explains how it’s done.