Lovers’ rock and conscious reggae lover that I am, I was thrilled yesterday to interview Anthony Cruz! Some madddddd tunes coming on his ready-to-release album, Cruz Control!
The 35 year old singer/songwriter from Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica is the nephew of the late, great Garnett Silk but has spent the past decades carving out a spot for himself on the reggae scene – making the ladies swoon :love: and giving us some clean, conscious music to lift our spirits. He does it again on his latest release, Cruz Control.
Be sure to watch the videos and check the links following the interview for free downloads of his songs (gotta love FREE, right?!!) and the Southside EP featuring the hot, new Bwoyla Riddim with Anthony Cruz, Wayne Wonder and Honorebel. BAD tunes! :yes:
To contact Anthony Cruz or for booking information, contact him at email@example.com. Bookings (Jamaica): 1-876-432-3781 (Shan Shan Records); Bookings (US): 1-917-617-0874; Bookings (Worldwide): 1-973-985-1369
Anthony, thank you so much for taking time to do this little interview for the fans of KeepItJiggy.com!
KeepItJiggy (KIJ): We know you were born Rohan Smith. What made you go with Anthony Cruz for a “stage” name?
Anthony Cruz (JAHCRUZ): “Well, Anthony is my middle name , and I just wanted something different that will stand out in the reggae industry, so I know Cruz is a Spanish name so I decided to use it because there is no Cruz in reggae music, and Tom Cruz [Cruise] is my fav actor so that makes it even better, LOL!”
KIJ: When did you first become aware that you had a singing talent? And who encouraged you the most to pursue your career?
JAHCRUZ: “At the age of about 16 years, and lots of people encouraged me, friends and family.”
JAHCRUZ: “Well, my uncle Garnett Silk had a very positive influence on my career because of the type of music he made - positive reggae music and move the world. So I couldn’t help but to follow his foot steps.”
KIJ: I believe you have a new album coming soon called Cruz Control – how did you choose the title?
JAHCRUZ: “Cruz Control is an album produced by Tads Records Int’l and I chose that name because I’m now in control of my music career, LOL. So instead of saying “Cruz in Control” I just say Cruz Control, u see it? LOL. And when I suggested the name to my good friend Big A from IRIE-FM, he said the same, so I decided to use it.”
KIJ: I hear you do a Dennis Brown remake on it? I can hardly wait!
JAHCRUZ: “Well it’s called “If This World Were Mine”. Tads, the original producer, asked me if I wanted to do a verse on one of Dennis Brown’s songs and I didn’t even hesitate, so that’s how it came about.”
KIJ: I particularly love the positive message of “Only the Father”, inspiring us to keep the faith. What made you write this one? And tell us how you got so lucky to use Bob Marley’s “Coming in from the Cold” riddim?
JAHCRUZ: ““Only the Father” is such a real song. It’s more like my testimony. I’ve gotten so many fight in the industry it’s not even funny, but man does not control my destiny, GOD does, so I leave it all to him. The riddim was brought to me by King Jammy’s son, John John, and he's cool with the Marleys so that’s how I got to use it. I love that song - one of my all time fav.”
KIJ: What is the song that you’re most excited to show your fans when the album hits the streets?
JAHCRUZ: ““Calling a Meeting” - first song I’ve ever done that made me cry.”
KIJ: “Back Downtown” and “Block the Road” are more mad tunes. Do they have any special meaning for you? (Superb riddims by the way!)
JAHCRUZ: “Yes, they both have meaning to me. These songs are for the ghetto people. “Block the Road” I wrote because it’s reality – that’s how the people get their message across. And “Back Downtown” is just my way of giving back to the people in West Kingston, sending back people to support them, so they can get back on their feet, send their kids to school, etc.”
KIJ: Out of all the songs you’ve written, which one are you most proud of?
JAHCRUZ: I’m proud of all my songs, they all send a different message so they play their own different role. So I would say all, LOL!”
KIJ: I have to ask about “Place Too Bloody” that you recorded back in 2005 with Buju Banton. (I credit Buju with igniting my love for reggae). Did you write this one as well? And doesn’t it seem like we haven’t made any progress at all since then?
JAHCRUZ: “Yes, I wrote this one as well along with a friend of mine, Black Pearl. As far as progress, a lot of artist come and sing these kinda songs. It’s there for who want to listen. But remember I sing not only for the people of Jamaica, I sing for the world, so I hope it reach the right ears, LOL.”
KIJ: What's the most fun part of being a songwriter and performer?
JAHCRUZ: “Well the most fun part is getting to create and say exactly what millions of people don’t get the chance to say because they can’t sing. LOL! And seeing the reaction from the crowd when you sing these songs.”
KIJ: What is the hardest part?
JAHCRUZ: “The hardest part is getting it to play on the radio so the people can hear it.”
KIJ: Any particular challenges in starting your own record label, Shan Shan Music?
JAHCRUZ: “No challenges at all; just building it step by step.”
KIJ: Who are some of your biggest music influences?
JAHCRUZ: “Influences are Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis, Sanchez, Beres (Hammond), my uncle Garnett Silk.”
KIJ: If you could have any guest artist to play on your next record, who would you choose?
JAHCRUZ: “I would choose an international artist like T.I, Jay-Z, or R. Kelly. LOVE THEM.”
KIJ: What is your favorite city to perform in? And do you have any plans to visit Southern California any time soon? (LOL… selfish question… I’d love to see you here!!)
JAHCRUZ: “I’ve enjoyed all the places I’ve been. Everybody loves Anthony Cruz, and I’m humbled by that. And I can’t wait to come on that side, just can’t get the right link yet. But I’m sure you gonna give me some links there! LOL.”
JAHCRUZ: “”Halfway Tree”, “Mama’s Blessing”, “No Gun a Dance”, “Too Bloody”, “U Got it Bad”… so much… sure forward LOL."
KIJ: Although we’re most familiar with, and adore, the Lovers’ Rock side of Anthony Cruz, I like the way you’re mixing it up with conscious music. To me, the conscious & culture roots of reggae are its backbone and the reason humans around the world can relate to the genre. Can we hope for a bit of a comeback for conscious reggae?
JAHCRUZ: “Conscious reggae has gone nowhere. It’s the radio DJs and the selectors need to stop hiding the music from the people and play them. Garnett Silk, Bob Marley and D. Brown dem set it already. There is no reggae artist bigger than Bob Marley and Silk. And it’s conscious reggae they use to reach where they at right now. So, conscious reggae will always be here.”
KIJ: What impact do you think the explosion of social media like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and internet use in general have on the industry?
JAHCRUZ: “To me, its the best thing, because they try to hide a lot of artists here in Jamaica, like myself, but the people can now get to see what the artist looks like and interact directly with them, so they can go check me out on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, even Tagged.com.”
KIJ: Last question – Any goals in your career that you haven’t accomplished yet?
JAHCRUZ: “A lot I haven’t accomplished yet, like going to the motherland Africa, China, etc., and collaborations with other major artists.”
KIJ: Again, thank you so much for your time! Big ups for the new album. Bless. And always Keep It Jiggy!
Free download of Mama's Blessing (2006), Fight With All Your Might (2008) and new songs.
Free download of Southside EP featuring new Bwoyla Riddim with Anthony Cruz, Wayne Wonder and Honorebel - HOT!