Born in the parish of Trelawny in the island of Jamaica, Anthony B learned the best music was endowed with two qualities: hard work and positivity. Unlike other reggae acts, when he was coming up, Anthony B refused to sing lyrics that demeaned women or celebrated guns, preferring to create music that embraced spirituality, justice and marijuana.
Calling him prolific is an understatement. He's released over 1,000 singles and guested on over 100 other albums through the years. With a release party for Tribute to Legends at Revolution Live forthcoming, New Times caught Anthony B in one the rare moments he wasn't recording a new song. He greeted us with a "Blessings" and shared his influences, his protégés, and his goals as a performer.
New Times: Your concert Saturday night is an album release party. Can you talk about the new album?
Anthony B: This new album is titled Tribute to Legends, showing the younger generation where the music is really coming from. We have all these great artists and this album is a tribute to their influence and their role in my life. We have my mentor, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley. I also pay tribute to the Beatles and John Lennon, Ray Charles, Israel Vibration, and there is Sophia George, a female artist I listen to and my mama listen to. This is a 16-track CD of my versions of trying to reach out and find how the artists feel.
According to your website you've previously released over 1,000 singles. Is that right?
Yes, we try to stay current with every generation. So that every new listener knows there's an artist called Anthony.
Where do you find the inspiration to create all these songs?
In moments like this. Talking to a person like you where we share our thoughts in a common moment. Maybe in a conversation, maybe watching a movie, maybe reading a book. From day to day life, every day. Sometimes I wander off in what we call an imaginary world. Another world where we can imagine what life could be like, which is why I do a cover of the song "Imagine" by John Lennon, because he sings about a life where there are no guns, no deaths, no destruction, no hunger. We wander off. But then we come back to reality.
What other musicians besides Lennon are able to dive into that imaginary world?
Peter Tosh. He is my angelic artist. The way he picks up a sound, a word, the same words that can be said by a parent and says it to you like an angel.
Are there younger artists you work with to be a positive influence the way Peter Tosh is for you?
I'm in what we call a merger, a business partnership with Master One, and they have an upcoming artist called Tydal that we're working on for the rest of 2014. On my new album, on the second track ("So Easy, So Hard") there's an upcoming champion artist from Jamaica, Zamunda. (singing) "If everything in the world was so easy, life wouldn't be so hard." He's on that track.
Finally, what can audiences expect when they attend your show Saturday night?
I want them to feel renewed, reenergized, rejuvenated and positively. If they come in there with doubts, with negativity, I want to be able to energize their hearts.
Anthony B, with Beenie Man, Freddie McGregor, and Romain Virgo, 10 p.m., September 28, at Revolution Live, 100 SW 3rd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale. 18 and over. Call 954-449-1025, or visit jointherevolution.com.