Mortimer is the strong, cool breeze that reggae needs. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, but raised in the rural district of Whitehall, St. Elizabeth, the rising singer originally had dreams of becoming a soldier or auto engineer. He decided to redirect these passions into music instead, dancing between traditional roots reggae and contemporary Jamaican sounds and blending old-soul sensibilities with a progressive youthfulness. His commanding voice floats over a riddim, driving messages home with eloquence, prophecy and grace.
It should come to no surprise that Mortimer lists Bob Marley as one of his musical influences, along with contemporary musicians like Stephen Marley and soul singers Donny Hathaway, Jacob Marley and John Legend. If you listen closely, you can hear these elements come together in Mortimer’s distinct vocals. He glides effortlessly between a raspy, smoky alto and a silky falsetto, with an unhurried delivery that has become his signature sound.
Mortimer stepped onto the scene officially in 2014 with his first project, Message Music (VP Records) – a four-song EP produced by Jay Crazie Records and earned favourable reviews. However, it was a collaboration with Protoje for the opening track to the critically acclaimed Ancient Future album that launched the singer full force into the reggae revival movement. “Protection” produced by Winta James, became an instant classic and the beat of a much-needed drum in the midst of spiritual warfare. The song is wise beyond both artistes’ years.
Winta James and Mortimer continued to work together: on the Mile High Riddim with “Nice Up Di Scene” and following up with a next Protoje collaboration for the haunting yet honourable “Truth & Rights”, which was included on Protoje’s GRAMMY-nominated “A Matter of Time” album. Around the same time, Mortimer released “Careful” via Overstand Entertainment/Easy Star Records. The explosive track was labeled a “big, heavy tune” by BBC Radio’s David Rodigan and included on Apple Music’s “Best of 2018” playlist.
The dynamic duo return with their next release, “Lightning”, available today on all streaming platforms. At first listen, this is classic Mortimer. Sultry, soulful and somber yet with all the lightness and warmth of the summer sun itself. The simple riddim comes in over a full house production which features live organ, rhythm guitar, live steel guitar, horns and sythensisers building to a passionate crescendo.
Lightning is a naturally occurring electrostatic discharge during which two electrically charged regions in the atmosphere or ground temporarily equalize themselves, causing the instantaneous release of as much as one billion joules of energy. (Wikipedia)
While the title may cause you to think of lightning, thunder and brimstone – the message is a more potent and urgent one about love. Both the power of love, and the suddenness of it. Inspired by his empress, wife and mother of his children, Mortimer delivers romantic, heart-felt lyrics with the timeliness and confidence of a modern-day prophet.
“I do music because it is my first love and where my passion lies. For me, it’s about a message… One of love, hope, kindness, selflessness, and also an opportunity to share a piece of myself with others.”
May love find you when you least expect it. Let Jah’s ‘Lightning’ strike you.
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