Best Reggae Artist - 2003
In the world of reggae music, Freddie McGregor is known as "Mr. Big Ship." The name of one of his many albums, as well as his label and Kingston-area recording studio, Big Ship fits McGregor's reputation as a world-traveling ambassador of reggae's positive vibrations. Active in the Jamaican music scene since the early 1960s, Freddie started as a kid too short to reach the microphone, gradually molding his Rasta roots into ultrasmooth, romantic lover's rock. By now, Freddie is one of reggae's most enduring living icons. A family man (six kids!) with a part-time home in Hollywood -- a city whose mayor, Mara Giulianti, even named a day in his honor -- McGregor is known locally for his good works as well as his good music. Dr. Robert Hochstein of Fort Lauderdale's County Line Chiropractic Center treated the singer for a shoulder injury a few years ago. McGregor was so pleased with his recovery that he referred friends to the clinic -- and did a series of radio ads and billboards bearing his beaming likeness. Last year, County Line donated a new Honda Civic that was raffled off to raise funds for the Haile Selassie Comprehensive High School in Kingston, a neglected institution McGregor decided to help out. Living out the example set in one of his early songs, "Do Good and Good Will Follow You," McGregor is still famous for his philanthropic deeds -- like the Freddie McGregor Children's Fund. His last album, 2002's Grammy-nominated Anything for You, contains the most affecting love songs to date from the perennial golden-voiced ladies' man. Like they say, big ship, big heart.