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MF GALAXY

MF GALAXY is a weekly podcast powered by four mighty engines: * Writers on writing: the craft and the business * Pop culture including TV, movies, graphic novels, and more * Progressive politics, activism, and social enterprise * Africentric change-makers, histories, cultures, art, and more! Mixing brand-new interviews with classic conversations (from my archive of 23 years in broadcasting) with famous and dynamic figures in the arts, Hollywood, and politics, MF GALAXY will take you to places you've never been before, and deliver fresh insights on the places you've been.
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Now displaying: Category: writer - lyricist - reggae
Feb 20, 2017

Souljah Fyah. They’re an outstanding reggae band. And that’s not just me saying it. Here’s what Shelly Gummeson from Earshot-Online says: “On and off stage...[lead singer] Sista J exudes a high voltage, positive energy. Unfettered without setting limitations is precisely the attitude and energy that has propelled Edmonton’s Souljah Fyah to become Canada’s top Reggae band.” They’ve won all kinds of acclaim: including a Juno nomination, two Western Canadian Music Association awards, and twice-declared the best reggae band in Canada by the Canadian Reggae Music Awards and the Reggae Music Achievement Awards.

So who’s in Souljah Fyah? The leader is Waymatea Ellis, better known as Sista J; she’s the lead singer, the lyricist, and she plays bass; she’s also a reverend with her own healing practice. Too Tall Paul Joosse sings and plays keyboard and bass. Stormin’ Norman Frizzell plays keyboard and megaphone, and the Original Tribesman plays percussion. The band is back with The Long Walk, recorded at Edmontone Studio in Edmonton and Mad Rebel Studios in Negril, Jamaica, and the album features the classic mix that made Souljah Fyah great: intelligent lyrics full of personal and social commentary, and music and lyrics as warm as the Caribbean sun.

In today’s conversation, Waymatea discusses:

  • Why she makes albums rich with political and social content even though love songs would be more likely to make her rich
  • The impact of guest vocalist Access on the album and how she met the Jamaican singer
  • How her songwriting has changed to produce this latest album
  • Her most recent lessons in marketting and promoting her band, why she won’t tour the United States, and the impact of the late Soulicitors ska band member Kelly Callin on The Long Walk.

Throughout today’s show you’ll hear tracks from the latest album, including “Inner Critic,” “Bigger Than Me,” “One More Chance” with guest singer Access, “Circle,” and “All is Still.” Waymatea spoke with me by Skype on February 14, 2017. We began by discussing the meaning of the title The Long Walk.

SOULJAH FYAH

souljahfyah.com

waymateamusic.com

 

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souljahfyah.com/listenbuy

 

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waymatea.com

 

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Jul 14, 2015

Waymatea, better known as Sista J, is the band leader, lead singer, lead lyricist, and founding member of Souljah Fyah, one of Canada’s most popular and most celebrated reggae bands. Souljah Fyah has released three albums including their self-titled debut, Truth Will Reveal, and I Wish. The band has just returned from producing an album in Jamaica that is scheduled for release early 2016.

 

Unlike most of her contemporaries in popular music, Waymatea is an accomplished song writer, weaving her albums with everything from searing anti-genocide anthems and hometown cheer-sections to spiritual hymns and tender songs of heartbreak.

 

In this episode of MF GALAXY, Waymatea discusses:

  • What poets and prose writers who want to try songwriting need to understand to find artistic success
  • Her practice of editing lyrics, and the magical mindset for creating those lyrics in the first place
  • The power of ironic contrast between lyrics and melody
  • The business of running a band, and the surprising first business move Waymatea made when she formed Souljah Fyah
  • How her professional school teaching background shaped the way she ran her band, and when and why that stopped working
  • Her unexpected advice for how millennials should promote their bands, and
  • The amazing power of early adopter super-fans

 

 

Waymatea spoke with me on December 3, 2014 by Skype from her home in LA—that’s Leduc, Alberta.

 

 

Note that throughout our conversation, Waymatea’s young daughter makes several quiet cooing remarks and sound effects. Full disclosure: Waymatea and I are good friends; we met when we were both children, and in the early 1990s we worked together in EBONY, an African-Canadian youth group. We begin with Waymatea introducing herself.

http://souljahfyah.com

 

 

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