Wayne Marshall Dubplates

Born Wayne Mitchell, Marshall spent his early years in the Barbican area of Kingston, until his Father, a self-made successful businessman – relocated the family uptown.

Destiny moved the Mitchell family three doors away from the home of the Father of digital Dancehall, Lloyd `King Jammy` James. ‘The King’ had sons that were in young Wayne’s age group, so the Waterhouse studio soon became a pre-ordained second home for the music-loving teenager.

Sparring with ‘The Big Man’s’ offspring meant that the studio was at their disposal, causing Wayne to start checking music on a serious level from an early age. It was early ’94 and Bounty Killer was as ‘hot as hell’.

Marshall recalls meeting a few of the now hot acts when they were just trying to get a buss’. For example the now `Energy God` Elephant Man was then wearing tear-up clothes and Determine was then begging.

Thrown into the mix were the big artistes who came and went all day long. `At King Jammy’s I got to know the ropes in the deep heart of Dancehall – dub plate style!`

Using his pass to the Mecca of Dancehall wisely, Wayne began copying Bounty Killer’s style and pattern at school – Wolmers’ Boys’. `Because I was at Jammy’s, I would always have strictly pre-release Bounty Killer material and done the place! Any new tune that Jammy’s released for Bounty I learnt them straight away and was ready to pop it off anytime anyone asked me at school – all day, every day, first verse, second verse, anything you want’.

The fruits of that labour are evident in Wayne Marshall, the artist, and Wayne Mitchell, the acclaimed songwriter. `From a young age I saw the channel of originality I should run through,` Marshall said.

Despite his adulation for the `War Lord`, age difference and Bounty’s fearsome rep for being unapproachable kept the two entertainers apart…for the time being.

Marshall’s abounding self-confidence allows him to freely acknowledge his skills and he recognised his own talent for creating lyrics as soon as he began penning soulful lyrics at 14. `From I was seven years old I always dreamed, visioned performing in front of huge crowds of people,` Marshall reveals. `Until I realised I could sing and make the girls dem cry, so I just sang and made the girls dem cry!`

Parental influences often dictate that children grow up to become lawyers, doctors, and pilots, and the like, but Marshall’s parents let their son choose his own path. `As an uptown youth, you are convinced that you should strive for something your schooling can bring you, not something that your natural talent can bring forth,` he explains. `I look on it as a sin for me to neglect my natural talent and force myself to do something else.`

Wayne Marshall says that he could not imagine doing anything other than music, `Nothing else could make me feel happy, only music. I couldn’t work and be happy. When I was young I used to listen to music and sit down and wonder how I used to feel this ting so.`

As with most things, it didn’t take Marshall long to work it out: `Musicians feel and hear music differently from people who just listen to music. When you have the vibes to write and create music you feel the real musicians around you easily.`

Marshall says that he was influenced by a number of international and local acts. `Sade – I felt her deeply growing up. We used to get vibes from all different places -Sanchez, Atlantic Starr, Bel Biv Devoe, Baby Face, Beres – all dem cats.`

At 17, Marshall’s voice matured, finding its natural pitch in a song he wrote called ‘Champagne Wishes, Caviar Dreams’. Vocal versatility, another trademark of Bounty Killer, had manifested in Marshall’s voice box and he went for the gap. `I decided to use my high pitch sound, my singing voice and my deejay voice to lock the whole world,` he says, explaining his marketing strategy. `I knew that if I wrote the right thing, organized my stuff properly, that combination would be unstoppable.`

Despite Marshall’s confidence and natural talent, Jammy’s hit factory still overlooked him. `It was tough because all the flavor yutes I was around were telling me my stuff was the wickedest ting,` he remembers, `but I just kept writing and holding direct meditation in myself, to find and bring forth originality out of myself.`

Marshall was bursting to record on wax, so a friend organised an audition one evening with a producer at his studio. After a nervous introduction the producer insisted Marshall sing over a track he was listening to in the studio, ignoring Marshall’s pleas to sing something original. `Sing back weh the singer sing?` Marshall asked himself. `This old time music that mi not even listen to?` As a result Wayne faltered and the producer dismissed him as ‘needing nuff voice training, yuh no ready yet.’

The artiste decided he was going to disprove that producer, `I decided that I was going to prove him wrong,` Marshall says, voice still thick with defiance. `Prove that he gave up on something good because he didn’t want to listen to my little song, that I wrote specifically to impress him that day.`

Disappointment fostered self-doubt, because he was a big man in the business, but the drama didn’t even last a week.

He simply focused harder on his vocals. At last the chance came to voice on the Bada Bada riddim – the vehicle that propelled Wayne’s Jammys labelmates Ward 21 to stardom. Marshall rode their wave of success, travelling with them on shows and collaborating with them on songs. `Ward 21 got bigger and King always forced me in the package – made me travel and eat all some food,` he says. `King always push me inna di link hard, even before me ever had a one hot tune.`

Despite his larger-than-life persona, Marshall is eager to learn and not above taking on board criticism. So Wayne attended voice-training classes of a very pleasant little white lady who has schooled almost everyone currently calling themselves Reggae or Dancehall artiste. `Every day I was there for an hour,` says Marshall. `I was caught up in the studio flex and didn’t even have a car but I made sure I dedicated myself to her class.` His friends noticed the difference in his voice. `You ready,` they told him.

Wayne Marshall Biography
Born Wayne Mitchell, Marshall spent his early years in the Barbican area of Kingston, until his Father, a self-made successful businessman – relocated the family uptown.

Destiny moved the Mitchell family three doors away from the home of the Father of digital Dancehall, Lloyd `King Jammy` James. ‘The King’ had sons that were in young Wayne’s age group, so the Waterhouse studio soon became a pre-ordained second home for the music-loving teenager.

Sparring with ‘The Big Man’s’ offspring meant that the studio was at their disposal, causing Wayne to start checking music on a serious level from an early age. It was early ’94 and Bounty Killer was as ‘hot as hell’.

Marshall recalls meeting a few of the now hot acts when they were just trying to get a buss’. For example the now `Energy God` Elephant Man was then wearing tear-up clothes and Determine was then begging.

Thrown into the mix were the big artistes who came and went all day long. `At King Jammy’s I got to know the ropes in the deep heart of Dancehall – dub plate style!`

Using his pass to the Mecca of Dancehall wisely, Wayne began copying Bounty Killer’s style and pattern at school – Wolmers’ Boys’. `Because I was at Jammy’s, I would always have strictly pre-release Bounty Killer material and done the place! Any new tune that Jammy’s released for Bounty I learnt them straight away and was ready to pop it off anytime anyone asked me at school – all day, every day, first verse, second verse, anything you want’.

The fruits of that labour are evident in Wayne Marshall, the artist, and Wayne Mitchell, the acclaimed songwriter. `From a young age I saw the channel of originality I should run through,` Marshall said.

Despite his adulation for the `War Lord`, age difference and Bounty’s fearsome rep for being unapproachable kept the two entertainers apart…for the time being.

Marshall’s abounding self-confidence allows him to freely acknowledge his skills and he recognised his own talent for creating lyrics as soon as he began penning soulful lyrics at 14. `From I was seven years old I always dreamed, visioned performing in front of huge crowds of people,` Marshall reveals. `Until I realised I could sing and make the girls dem cry, so I just sang and made the girls dem cry!`

Parental influences often dictate that children grow up to become lawyers, doctors, and pilots, and the like, but Marshall’s parents let their son choose his own path. `As an uptown youth, you are convinced that you should strive for something your schooling can bring you, not something that your natural talent can bring forth,` he explains. `I look on it as a sin for me to neglect my natural talent and force myself to do something else.`

Wayne Marshall says that he could not imagine doing anything other than music, `Nothing else could make me feel happy, only music. I couldn’t work and be happy. When I was young I used to listen to music and sit down and wonder how I used to feel this ting so.`

As with most things, it didn’t take Marshall long to work it out: `Musicians feel and hear music differently from people who just listen to music. When you have the vibes to write and create music you feel the real musicians around you easily.`

Marshall says that he was influenced by a number of international and local acts. `Sade – I felt her deeply growing up. We used to get vibes from all different places -Sanchez, Atlantic Starr, Bel Biv Devoe, Baby Face, Beres – all dem cats.`

At 17, Marshall’s voice matured, finding its natural pitch in a song he wrote called ‘Champagne Wishes, Caviar Dreams’. Vocal versatility, another trademark of Bounty Killer, had manifested in Marshall’s voice box and he went for the gap. `I decided to use my high pitch sound, my singing voice and my deejay voice to lock the whole world,` he says, explaining his marketing strategy. `I knew that if I wrote the right thing, organized my stuff properly, that combination would be unstoppable.`

Despite Marshall’s confidence and natural talent, Jammy’s hit factory still overlooked him. `It was tough because all the flavor yutes I was around were telling me my stuff was the wickedest ting,` he remembers, `but I just kept writing and holding direct meditation in myself, to find and bring forth originality out of myself.`

Marshall was bursting to record on wax, so a friend organised an audition one evening with a producer at his studio. After a nervous introduction the producer insisted Marshall sing over a track he was listening to in the studio, ignoring Marshall’s pleas to sing something original. `Sing back weh the singer sing?` Marshall asked himself. `This old time music that mi not even listen to?` As a result Wayne faltered and the producer dismissed him as ‘needing nuff voice training, yuh no ready yet.’

The artiste decided he was going to disprove that producer, `I decided that I was going to prove him wrong,` Marshall says, voice still thick with defiance. `Prove that he gave up on something good because he didn’t want to listen to my little song, that I wrote specifically to impress him that day.`

Disappointment fostered self-doubt, because he was a big man in the business, but the drama didn’t even last a week.

He simply focused harder on his vocals. At last the chance came to voice on the Bada Bada riddim – the vehicle that propelled Wayne’s Jammys labelmates Ward 21 to stardom. Marshall rode their wave of success, travelling with them on shows and collaborating with them on songs. `Ward 21 got bigger and King always forced me in the package – made me travel and eat all some food,` he says. `King always push me inna di link hard, even before me ever had a one hot tune.`

Despite his larger-than-life persona, Marshall is eager to learn and not above taking on board criticism. So Wayne attended voice-training classes of a very pleasant little white lady who has schooled almost everyone currently calling themselves Reggae or Dancehall artiste. `Every day I was there for an hour,` says Marshall. `I was caught up in the studio flex and didn’t even have a car but I made sure I dedicated myself to her class.` His friends noticed the difference in his voice. `You ready,` they told him.