Duane Stephenson
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Duane Stephenson

Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica | INDIE

Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica | INDIE
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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Music

Discography

Albums:
FROM AUGUST TOWN-2008
BLACK GOLD-2010

Singles and Compilations:
Think Twice - Think Twice Rhythm
Border - We Remember Gregory Isaacs
Crying Out - Riddim Driven: Rocksteady
Suspicions - Reggae's Gone Country
Better Tomorrow - Single
Black Beauty - Our Favorite Beres Hammond Songs
Hard Times - Joyful Noise
I'm Fine - Joyful Noise

Photos

Bio

Duane Stephenson's debut recording, FROM AUGUST TOWN released on Cannon/VP Records and produced by reggae maestro and saxophonist Dean Fraser was heralded by Billboard magazine as one of six albums, "collectively galvanizing a roots reggae revival" with "lyrics that convey romantic longings and the anguish of ghetto realities with equal conviction."   Pitchfork.com cited the album as "undoubtedly a highlight of not just 2008, but perhaps the past few years."

Duane's second album BLACK GOLD released on VP Records, is nominated for the 2010 Album of the Year at Jamaica’s EME (Excellence in Music & Entertainment) Awards.  "Rescue Me" the initial single from the BLACK GOLD album has maintained a top three chart position for several weeks, reaching #1 and the BLACK GOLD album has reached #1 on the Jamaica Music Countdown.   These songs are written with originality and profound intention as Duane explains,  "When we do an album, we do music that people can relate to because any situation you find yourself in, chances are someone else has found themselves in that situation.  It is real life situations, so the real life emotions come out, that is how it is."

The  BLACK GOLD album title has its metaphorical roots in several areas, including the "representation of self-worth as a black person, and by extension Africa," as Duane explains, "BLACK GOLD is also oil and we see how precious it is and how much abuse goes on to obtain it; people are suffering and yet we are spending millions on guns, bombs; instead of buying steel to make a house you buy it to make a gun.  The song and album title also speak to the value of our music, because it is black gold."  As Duane reflects on the songwriting process for his second album, he notes, "I started to travel, meet new people and have new experiences; there is so much growth mentally, emotionally, and musically, I tried to encompass that growth into the songs on BLACK GOLD."  And as for the messaging on the album he explains, "A record must have a purpose, and my ultimate purpose is to speak about what is happening but to ultimately leave people with hope."

Collaborations on BLACK GOLD abound with some of reggae's most innovative lyricists and such as dub poet Mutabaruka who speaks truth to power on the acoustic track, "Truth Is" or sparring for a woman's affection with Gramps Morgan on the country music-influenced, "Rescue Me" or addressing issues facing Jamaica's young girls with the outspoken Queen Ifrica recording the cover of Dennis Brown's  "Stay at Home."   

In the fall of 2010, Duane teamed up with The Wailers, led by Aston "Family Man" Barrett  performing as a special guest on tours throughout  North and South America. in Brazil he shared equal billing with Ky-mani Marley, Big Mountain, Pato Banton and The Wailers for the  One Life Tour. Recent shows have garnered a positive response with sold out performances for this compelling songwriter and versatile singer.  

Festival performances in 2011 included the Rotterdam Reggae Festival in The Netherlands, Rockers Rockers Rockers in France, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in the United States. In 2012 Stephenson has appeared on Rebel Salute and Western Consciousness in Jamaica, conducted a 17 date tour of the Western United States, as well as a tour of Zambia and South Africa.

Summer 2012 festival dates include Reggae on the River, Northwest World Reggae Festival and Irie Sea Breeze Festival in the United States.

In October, 2010 Duane was invited by the World Food Programme to honor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the The George McGovern Leadership Award Ceremony as part of his work to raise awareness on the need for more action in addressing the issue of world hunger.  As for the scope of his contribution as a reggae artist and humanitarian, he explains: “What I am doing is part of a larger mandate. The more you can do to make the world a better place for everybody, it is really a pleasure to do the