Reggae music is alive and well in South Florida with acts like Fireside Prophets and Making Faces. But for the most part, the bands are fronted by dudes. That's is all good, but we were definitely interested when we heard about a touring group heading to town that's going against this trend.
Meet Hirie. She heads up a reggae band that shares her same name. Otherwise known as Patricia Jetton, Hirie is currently touring with Stick Figure and Pacific Dub and is bringing her island groove to Culture Room this Friday. We spoke with the young singer about being irie, getting up, standing up, and what she'd say to Rasta legend Bob Marley if he were alive today.
New Times: What is one thing you would say to Bob Marley if he were still alive today?
Hirie: I would really like to thank him for his music. It's been a timeless staple in music culture and has brought many smiles, laughter, and positive vibes to people of all walks of life!
How do you think reggae music fits into the South Florida scene?
Florida is a really laid back and fun place to be. Whether at the beach or riding your bike down the street, I feel the people here are social butterflies and love having a great time. Reggae promotes being happy, and working towards bettering your life and daily situation. I really love visiting Florida. The fans show a lot of love there for reggae bands!
Your promo materials state: "Music that brings you to a positive place: that's reggae. Music that lifts you to a higher space: that's Hirie." Could you elaborate on that?
Reggae is a genre where the artists fight for happiness and oppose materialism. If you can find happiness in your heart through reggae, as an artist, we feel we've done our job.
I came up with the word "Hirie" while thinking of Hawaii, where I spent most of my childhood, and the feeling of "irie." I wanted to create a sort of vibe from both, that promote feeling lifted up above influence, and free to soar wherever your body and mind want to go.
What is reggae music to you?
Reggae to me is a call of action. To "get up, stand up" and go about your life with priorities that matter and all with a positive attitude. Reggae music is so rich in today's US culture, though not as many people follow it as they do pop, and other more mainstream genres. Reggae promotes positivity and good vibes, and as someone who strives to have those qualities, I'm drawn deeply to reggae and old school roots music in general.
You're Hawaiian? Do you think that plays a large part in your
I'm not Hawaiian. But I lived there for 11 years and feel extremely rooted into the culture and people. I listened to a lot of Hawaiian reggae growing up, and so it definitely plays a role in my influences and writing style. The "island way" of life seeps into my lyrics from time to time as I absolutely miss living there.
Are you recording any new music?
Yes! I've been working on new material for months, and in between touring I've been starting to pre-produce music with my fellow band members! The songs are coming out amazing!
How was performing at the Reggae Rise Up Festival?
It was amazing! The fans were warm and welcoming and I feel we received a great response. I loved it.
Do you get a lot of attention for being a female vocalist?
Yes. I think people are interested in what I have to offer and the change in tone, message and vibe that a woman can bring. Luckily there seems to be a demand for female reggae artists and I'm humbled to be a small part in its growing movement.
If you weren't singing reggae music, what genre would you be singing?
I write a lot of singer/songwriter-style music. I love writing and playing acoustically, and get excited playing to strangers in coffee shops and tiny venues for open mics.
Hirie with Stick Figure and Pacific Dub, 7:30 p.m., Thursday, September 18, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. $15 at the door. Visit cultureroom.net.