My Jamaican love affair

Alston feels a connection to Jamaican music

Observer senior reporter

Sunday, November 18, 2018

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Whether as a member of the R&B group The Manhatttans or as a solo act, Gerald Alston has lost count of his number of trips to Jamaica. However, the one thing that has remained with him is the love he gets from his Jamaican audience whenever he performs on the r ock.

He was recently on the island as part of the promotion for the Love and Harmony Cruise 2019. The Manhattans featuring Gerald Alston will be part of the impressive line-up which will take to the high seas between April 13 and 18 next year, along with other acts including Beres Hammond, Romain Virgo, Cocoa Tea and Admiral Bailey.

Alston noted that the love he feels from a Jamaican audience is due in part to the similarity of his genre of music and reggae.

“It's because our music is true; our music speaks of things that go on in everyday life and that's how our fans here relate to us and, in a sense, the best comparison I can give you is that reggae music, soul and R&B music are linked as they all talk about life and what could really happen. We identify with the ins and outs of falling in love, falling out of love, breaking up, cheating or whatever situation you find yourself in. and that's what brings everybody together.”

Alston found it hard to pinpoint a single moment during his past trips which stands out in his memory. Again he came back to the love and warmth of the Jamaican people.

“Wow, let me see. We always have such good times in Jamaica. The reception we get from the local audience is always so warm and welcoming, makes us always feel right at home. I remember once we were playing here; it was at the National Arena. Somebody else was headlining. I won't call any names. We came on sang and just did our thing and the Jamaican audience was just amazing. They really warmed up to us and sang along with us, word for word. When it was time for the headliner, they really had to come on and sing. They had to perform extra hard. It's not like we considered ourselves to be better than everybody else, because their is always somebody else a little bit better. But the fans showed so much love for us that night, but the truth is it has always been that way. That's really the highlight of performing here in Jamaica, the fans show so much love and make it so special for us. So we just always have to take the time to sign autographs, take pictures, shake hands and just mingle with out fans,” said Alston.

“That's why we can't wait to perform on the Love and Harmony Cruise. We immediately said yes to performing as it will be like performing at home, but its on a cruise ship at sea. So we're planning to party and have a good time the whole time we are there,” he continued.

Alston admits to liking a specific type of music. Of the younger generation of artistes, he enjoys the music of Mary J, Boyz II Men and was recently introduced to the music of Jazmine Sullivan by his son and is truly impressed with her vocals. This blend of music from his era and new acts has helped inform the current music of The Manhattans featuring Gerald Alston.

“We just released a new single on October 7 called Get It Ready, and we are in the process of recording an album to be released probably by the end of January. We have a second single alreay waiting to follow this one.”

As to a favourite Manhattans track, Alston said .

There's No Me Without You, that's my favourite because even though it's a love song it's my way of saying thank you to all my fans, all my supporters, to radio, to everybody. We just want our fans to know how much we love and appreciate them because we would not exist without you.” .

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