Soul stars Musiq Soulchild and Syleena Johnson have teamed with hit-making reggae producer Kemar McGregor to create an album of reggae duets. 9INE was released on September 10 and has already spawned a first single, Feel The Fire. Shanachie is the label behind it.
Seems that Kemar sparked it off. The guy, known for his work with such as Gyptian, Beenie Man, Barrington Levy, Marcia Griffiths, Beres Hammond, Elephant Man, Etana and more, started to make a compilation album featuring such artists as Sinead O’Connor, Musiq Soulchild, Angie Stone, and Syleena Johnson singing on reggae tracks. In the process of recording a duet for said project, Musiq and Syleena hit it off so well that they decided to do a whole album.
“I wanted to do a Reggae album,” Musiq Soulchild says, “Syleena wanted to as well, and we wanted to work together. We’ve known each other forever!” “The music was so good, and [Musiq and I] both love Kemar’s production, Syleena adds.
Working with McGregor, the pair wrote and recorded nine tracks for the album in nine days – hence the album’s title.
Syleena, at least, is unconcerned about any backlash from the established reggae community:
“I hope people don’t calculate it so much. We’re not changing our names. We’re still Syleena Johnson and Musiq Soulchild. We’re going to be our same selves. [This album] is going to make people feel good and enjoy our salute to a timeless genre of music. That’s what we need in the world: feel-good music.”