Following last Friday’s release of Country For Sale by Grammy-winning reggae act Buju Banton, his first track since being released from a US prison where he served time for a drug trafficking conviction, the artiste and his team are already looking towards the release of an album within the next three months.
Within minutes of its release, Country For Sale shot to the top of the iTunes Reggae Chart where it dislodged the popular Toast by Koffee, and has been earning rave reviews from Buju Banton fans globally. It is this response and momentum that Buju Banton’s long-time producer and mentor Donovan Germain is looking forward to as they prepare to reintroduce the artiste to the market.
The producer told the Jamaica Observer that a number of other songs have already been recorded as they prepare for an album.
“It was my decision to release this song at this time. He actually recorded about four and I chose this one because I believe it showcases Buju in the best way possible. We are trying to get the album ready for this year. Like I said he has recorded quite a bit of music and so we are looking at August/September for the album. This song is something that should keep us out there until that is ready, however we might just drop a deejay tune to satisfy that section of his fan base,” Germain shared.
He also disclosed that since the artiste’s release there are been a number of requests for collaborations with other local and international acts.
“We are currently looking into that as collaborations is really an important thing in the business these days. Given his long-standing relationship with Wayne Wonder and Beres Hammond there is a distinct possibility that those two could be the first artistes to share a track with Buju.”
Germain, along with Buju Banton produced Country For Sale, which was recorded in his own Gargamel Music studios in the Corporate Area. The singer and deejay also drew on the talents of his musical collaborators Steven “Lenky” Marsden, Dean Fraser, Donald Dennis, Kirk Bennett, Mitchum Chin and Kenry Mullings.
“The song itself is very relevant to what is happening in Jamaica and the rest of the world at this time. People listening must realise it is not a JLP or PNP thing it is something that affects the country.I even got a call from a friend in Portugal saying the song is relevant for the situation they are facing there too. Buju wrote this song since he came home and after just looking around and observing what is happening,” said Germain.
The Penthouse Recording boss has worked with Buju Banton since his teenage years and was even immortalised in the popular song Bogle, with Buju Banton chanting: “Germain a try but him nuh ready yet, Him betta mek Stumpy teach him the step.” Germain noted that from his earliest days he was always struck by Buju’s writing ability. Having observed him over the years, Germain said the 45-year-old is now showing even more maturity in his music as well as his general outlook.
“He is fully aware of his place in the industry at this time. He is not here to compete with the younger generation, but rather to be an example of the hard work and dedication required to to maintain relevance in the business. he is really committed to this. That shows in the hard work he is is putting in in the studio.”
For Germain the recording of this particular track came after a period of working with the artiste to get his vocals back up to the desired levels.
“We had to spend a lot of time getting his vocals back up to performance standards. You have to remember that the vocal cord is a muscle and because it was not being used during the time he was not performing, that meant we had to do some work. This was three months of rehearsals and exercise to get him conditioned and fit to not only take to the stage but to record as well and hit those notes correctly,” he told the J amaica Observer.
Buju Banton’s Long Walk To Freedom tour continued this weekend in the Spice Isle, Grenada. That show was set for the Grenada National Cricket Stadium in the country’s capital, St George’s last night. The tour then moves on to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. That concert will be held at the Festival Village Grounds on June 15. It is then on to St Kitts for a performance as the headline act for the St Kitts Music Festival at the Kim Collins Athletic Club on June 29. Buju Banton will also headline Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay, on July 20.