Music

JoJo Mac has a greater power

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Thursday, June 20, 2019

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IN a moment of self-reflection, singer JoJo Mac was inspired to write a song that summed up her personal and professional life. Titled Greater Power , it was released in May by Philadelphia-based Nyah Bless Music.

For JoJo Mac, who also lives in the “City of Brotherly Love”, the single is timely as she celebrates 25 years in the music business.

“It's me questioning myself on where I was going wrong, and telling myself that as long as I keep the faith, I will get there,” she said.

While recording Greater Power, JoJo Mac said there were flashbacks to her years attending church in Jamaica. That, however, is the extent of her religious ties.

“I am not a religious person but I believe in spirituality. Again, I know there is a greater power that governs us. Religion to me is segregation,” she said.

Greater Power continues JoJo Mac's record of doing songs for different producers. Her first album, Hard and Soft, was produced by Duckie Simpson of Black Uhuru, with whom she toured for two years.

She also worked with Lloyd Dennis of Pickout Records in the United Kingdom, who guided her on a cover of Joy White's roots anthem, Dread Out Deh. Released in 2015, that song is her most successful to date.

Though she collaborates with producers in the United States and Europe, JoJo Mac composes and produces most of her songs, a rarity in contemporary reggae.

Gender, she points out, has nothing to do with releasing good music.

“Production is hard work and it takes a lot of money when done right. Having a good producer on board is a good thing, but we still have to know enough to recognise a well-produced track,” said JoJo Mac. “Not everyone is cut out for it. It's easy to say women should write more, not everyone is a good writer, but if they are good at it, I say go for it.”

Born in Kellits, Clarendon, JoJo Mac (real name Joan McKenzie) has lived in the United States since 1983. The music bug bit her while living in Washington DC, but it was not until hard and soft that her career began in earnest.

Since then, she has recorded three more albums and numerous singles including Dread Out Deh and Stormy Night, originally done by Roland Burrell.

In 2002, she cut 22 tracks for legendary producer Clement “Coxson” Dodd at Studio One in Kingston. They were intended for an album, but the project was shelved when Dodd died suddenly in 2004.


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