By Stacey Marie Robinson
Music is a powerful force. When you combine tight production, natural skill, positive messages, and an intelligent messenger, its power only multiplies. With all of those elements, and a vibrant talent behind the force, the possibilities for success are limitless.
The music industry in Canada is a difficult one to infiltrate, so those who have earned the respect and displayed the strength to break through barriers have a mighty responsibility to make their fellow Canadians proud. Reggae artist Blessed, aka Peter Skinner, has been ‘blessed’ with this power and with the release of his first full length album in September, was able to share his voice and represent Canada around the world.
“When people go out and support my album, it’s doing more than they would ever imagine,” said Blessed, 32. “It’s not just helping me, but it’s helping the Canadian reggae community and the Canadian music fraternity in general.”
Anyone that knows Blessed’s music can quickly conclude that he has a good heart. His respect for women, love for his country of birth, Jamaica, and awareness of life in general is evident in award-winning songs like “Natural African” and “Reggae Time,” as well as popular tracks like, “Jamaica Land of the Sun” and “Unexpected.” The track closest to his heart, “Final Road,” expresses that although the journey is tough, he will survive, and teach others as he learns.
This is the spirit that has encouraged Canadians to support him, and audiences to accept him at home in Toronto and Montreal, as well as across the ocean in Jamaica, where he performed along with Sizzla and other top reggae artists at, ‘Rise to the Occasion 3’ this past summer.
“I think they just love the energy I bring to the stage,” said Blessed. “They love the music I sing, and the fact that I make positive music. It is uplifting for the community.”
Although the road for Blessed has been a successful one, with two Juno awards, and recognition from the Urban Music Association of Canada, it has been a long journey. Entering the industry requires talent and perseverance, however one of the main obstacles to progress is the lack of money allocated to supporting Canadian music. Blessed was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to shine.
“I strongly believe things don’t happen in life unless they’re meant to be,” said Blessed. “The best part of the process to me was just hearing that the album was going to be released; there have been many false starts. Knowing that the album is out there -- it’s the greatest feeling.”
Blessed’s album is available at Wal-Mart, HMV, Best Buy and Music World; supporters can also connect with him at www.myspace.com/blessedvibes.
“I want people to remember that I did something to help the music go further in Canada. That’s my main goal. I want people to get the respect they deserve, and for people to live off of their music in Canada. I hope I can be remembered for helping to change that in Canada.”