Dylan Murray
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Dylan Murray


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"Murray keeps Marley’s music alive"


T.K. Dallman

Published: Monday, February 11, 2008

This Friday, February 8, The Out Back Shack will be celebrating (what would be) Bob Marley's birthday with a triple-bill of reggae and pop music featuring Staylefish, I.An.Eye, and one of the most talented singer-songwriters in Southern Ontario, Dylan Murray. I had the opportunity to speak to him recently about his music, travels, and what to expect from the future.

It turns out that at 27-years-old, Murray has accomplished quite a lot on his way to a musical career. He has released an EP (with a full-length coming in the summer), placed well in high-profile radio competitions and has recorded reggae music in the country he considers his second home - Jamaica.

In fact, much of his success, he owes to the country.

“I've been going down since I was about 18,� Murray explained. “The first time I went down I just wanted to help out and see what was going on, and then a little bit later I started meeting people and started making music and that kind of thing.�

What started out as a trip to work with inner-city youth in poverty stricken Jamaica, ended up inspiring Murray’s musical creativity, through which he met other artists and made friends. This led not only to invaluable contacts in the country, but the opportunity to compete in one of the biggest songwriter competitions in Jamaica - Big Break on Irie FM. Despite the thousands of talented artists he was up against, Murray advanced to the top 12 in the competition and was actually favoured in the top three. This was two years ago, and his music has only been improving since.

Back in Toronto, Murray was scouted by Soul Clap Records/Universal, with whom his debut EP, White Wing Roots will be released. These eight songs showcase his writing and performing talents, which range from Jack Johnson-esque pop tunes to more traditional reggae sounds and themes (see his song, “Ganja,� for instance).

Well before he ever visited Jamaica, however, Murray had a prospering love for the island’s music.

In fact, he said his affection started in grade six or seven. First captivated by the feeling and style of the genre, it has stayed with him to the present day and remains a large part of his life.

Of the reggae artists that Murray grew up listening to, one stood out for him - the legend, and the man this concert is a tribute to - Bob Marley.

“Marley’s music is very inspirational,� Murray said. “It was one of the first tapes I was introduced to at an early age... so that has definitely influenced a lot of my music... the style, and where I get emotion from. It inspired me to be a musician.�

The style and emotive quality that Murray respects in the reggae legend has had the same effect on multitudes of others, and there is no doubt as to why Marley is now considered the benchmark of reggae music.
The concert taking place this Friday is not a tribute to Bob Marley in the traditional sense, where artists merely cover his songs, but instead, one can look a little deeper and see that, because of his influence, artistry and sheer ability to touch people, all reggae music after him is, in one sense, dedicated to him already.
- Fanshawe College

"Big Break Montego Bay a mixed bag"

KERIL WRIGHT, Observer staff reporter
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Montego Bay, St James - There was mixed reaction to the 12 finalists in this year's staging of the Red Stripe/Irie FM Big Break competition at Saturday's show in Montego Bay. Some artistes had the crowd, numbering several hundreds, eating out of their hands while others failed to ignite and one artiste even had a bottle thrown at him.

The show kicked off at around 10:00 pm at Dump Up Beach with mad juggling from IRIE FM's DJ Sunshine, alongside Renaissance Disco.

The crowd however turned hostile when Prophet Elijah, the first artiste to hit the stage at around 12:30 am, ignored the barbs and boos in reaction to his tribute to Jamaica, Pretty Island. As the artiste chanted the last verse of his song, a single Red Stripe bottle flew out of the crowd, barely brushing his face. Speaking with the Observer after his performance the artiste said it was just a part of life. "Some people just don't like the positive," he said. "But that don't stop the message."

Cabaret songbird Lesline, one of four females in the competition, fared better, countless howls and whistles greeting her on stage as she belted out her original love song, Love Slave. Fellow contestant Mystic Roots, a student of Edna Manley College, also got similar love for his original, Reggae Music Positive.

Next came the dreadlocked Harry Chapman, whose big voice set the crowd on fire with Ratta Tat Tat. Ratta tata tat \rude bwoy run from dat\ another ghetto youth drop, found a hold with the audience and they hung on to his every word.
By far the most energetic performer, Chapman jumped and pranced from one end of the stage to the next, to the delight of the audience.

Following on the heels of Chapman's powerful performance, Dylan Murray was not so well received and one could hear whispers of "white man come off a di stage".

The grumbling soon turned to squeals of delight, however, as Murray, with acoustic guitar in tow, showed versatility and deft deejaying skills with his original Money Ting. In the end it was "Him bad yuh nuh," and resounding applause from the audience. Commenting on the audience's response Murray said, "It was nice, the vibes was nice and open."

Irie Love, with her entry Revival was also well received. "Jah is the light," she sang, "He will guide", while dub poet I-Nubia, betraying none of her backstage nerves, greeted the audience, "Greetings, MoBay! This year I-Nubia next year you". From then it was smooth sailing as she sang about the Blessing Of The Black Skin. Craig Dennis' Come Back Home went down well with the audience but colleagues Akewa with his Never Give Up and Reds Wonder talking about Surprise failed to ignite the audience.

Contestant Natasha, however, found the right gear and had complete submission from the audience with her singjay entry, Summer Cute. The petite, fast-talking Caucasian, sporting curly shoulder length hair and a skintight outfit earend resounding applause with her versatile deejaying skills.

Trelawny native Iwhana finished nicely with his entry Take A Look.

The next road show will be in Kingston on June 16. The competition last year launched the career of Prophecy, who was Saturday's guest artist. His performance, along with Sojourner, went down well with the audience and after giveaways of CDs, he completed his set with last year's popular winning song Too Little Love. - http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle/html/20060529T230000-0500_105699_OBS_BIG_BREAK_MONTEGO_BAY_

"A well-deserved break"

BY AYESHA SINGH Observer writer
Sunday, June 11, 2006

HECTIC schedules and road shows have been the order of the past few weeks for the 12 finalists in the Red Stripe Irie Big Break competition. Last Tuesday, however, the big breakers got a well-deserved breather during a party held for them at Main Event in Kingston.

Despite the intermittent showers, the party went as planned under the cover of a large white tent. Ideally erected adjacent to a dazzling stream and fountain, the tent also housed the bar, mingling and stage areas.
Finalists in the Red Stripe IRIE Big Break enjoy the happenings at the big break party on Tuesday night at Main Event, Kingston. From left are Dylan Murray, Irie Love and Reds Wonder.

After a warm welcome from Carlo Redwood of Red Stripe and Brian Schmidt of Irie FM, the self-proclaimed 'Rasta Pasta', the contenders intermingled and chatted with well-wishers, fans and their sponsors. Musical selections by Main Event created a warm and relaxed atmosphere.

This paved the way for DJ Bones, who was in his usual comedic mode. Bones added not only humour to the proceedings but managed to keep the happenings flowing smoothly.

Performances by each finalist brought a fitting close to the party. The ladies were quite popular and received high praises for their performances. I-Nubia who delivered an original piece Blessed and Danish finalist, Natasja who sang her popular song Lately were particularly entertaining. The men did not disappoint either. Craig Dennis, Dylan Murray and I-Whanna all elicited resounding applause.

Last year's winner Prophecy also thrilled the guests with his piece.

Enjoying the lyme were Safia Cooper, Joseph Oates, Prophet Elijah, Solomon Sharpe, Stephen Steele, Irie Love, Harry Chapman, Akewa, Reds Wonder, Sheldon Barnes, Michael Edwards, Lesline Kidd, I-Whana, Mystic Roots, Donnette Spence, Claudette Desouza, Winford Williams, Suwanee Caine, Wayne Boodasingh, among others. - http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle/html/20060610T220000-0500_106720_OBS_A_WELL_DESERVED_BREAK_

"Big Break rocks Devon House"

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle/html/20060522T190000-0500_105156_OBS_BIG_BREAK_ROCKS_DEVON_HOUSE.asp - http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/lifestyle/html/20060522T190000-0500_105156_OBS_BIG_BREAK_ROCKS_DEVON_

"EP Launch in Jamaica"

Dylan Murray & Friends Thrill the Village

Darren Khan, Observer Entertainment writer
Thursday, April 12, 2007

Canadian Dylan Murray
There was only one live performer at the latest edition of Tuesday Nite Live, held at the Village Café, Liguanea, St Andrew last Tuesday.

Actually, that is not entirely accurate, since Canadian sensation Dylan Murray did bring some home-grown talent to the stage with him during his two sets.

Bottles of Kingston 62 beer were all around, green flashes in the air they caught the lights. The crowd on hand was decidedly mixed in terms of age, sex, race and in some cases, one might say ideological beliefs, but they all did seem to share one trait - a love for music. Smoke from cigarettes and other sources floated, bottles and glasses clinked, the bar staff took orders and on the upper deck, 'Miss Tiney' took orders for her conch soup and various permutations of fish, festivals and what looked like fritters.

Prior to the live performances, selectors from sound system Bobby Six Killa, with the needed assistance of house deejay Venom, spun some tracks, seemingly unaware for the most part of what needed to be done properly in order to keep those present happy. He was not bad, but he failed to make much of an impression. Perhaps in recognition of this fact, Murray ended up doing two sets - this being the first time in recent memory in which only one live act was scheduled to perform at the Mystic Urchin-produced event.

With 'Wrong Move' on the keyboard, Shaun McDonald playing saxophone, Noel Parks on bass and Deleon 'Jubba' White playing drums, the Canadian and Caucasian (the latter description being rather relevant, for reasons which will become clear) Murray came to stage front and centre with Babylon Will Fall. What became immediately clear was that here was a man who embodied the spirit and the sound of the roots rock reggae of yesterday. Close your eyes and listen to him, the first thing that would probably come to mind is a black Rastafarian, dreadlocks grasping for the ground.

Granted, Dylan Murray wore a white knitted cap atop his head but that was the closest you could get to fulfilling that dream just by looking at him. Listen however, and you are blown away - as was the crowd. If You Wanna Give - which he says is the first reggae song he ever wrote - was next and he was backed on both by (male) deejay Dark Angel. Black Rhino joined in for the third, with all three being effective together, to put it mildly. However, what almost literally brought the house down was the next song - Batty Ryda Raid. The song started off normally enough, seemingly about another beautiful day in Jamaica, even if a few eyebrows rose at Murray's description of it and the 'spliffs' involved.
Then Dark Angel got in on the act and with his rhymes about sexy young ladies and their effect on him inspired the first 'pull-up' of the night. The second rendition was as well-received as the first, closing with a good sax solo from Parks.

In the 'intermission', the Kadillac Dancers put on choice which invoked cheers while Bobby Six Killa played and then the band reappeared. Seeming a little fatigued, they went through Money Thing and This Is My Life with Murray singing solo before he was again joined by Dark Angel and Black Rhino for a medley of Ganja and Love Is Everyday, which brought the second set to an end. Each song was well-received by an appreciative audience, many members of which could be seen after the show offering their congratulations and showing their appreciation to the singer long after the last note had died into the night air.
- The Observer

"White Wing Roots doesn't disappoint"


White Wing Roots doesn't disappoint
published: Thursday | April 19, 2007

Good writing from Dylan Murray on White Wing Roots.

Anyone named Dylan who picks up a guitar had better come good as a songwriter. Talk about name pressure.

Dylan Murray does not disgrace the famous name on his release White Wing Roots, which in these days of one score songs on a CD is dubbed an EP, not an album it does has all of eight tracks.

The name is not unfamiliar, as Murray entered the IRIE FM Big Break competition last year. And for those who attended the contests eliminations the first song on the EP, Money Thing, will not be unfamiliar either, as it was his entry in the competition. It got good response live and the recording justifies that initial enthusiasm, as Murray's lyrics, laid over an acoustic guitar, have an impact. He sings that once you pull the trigger and kill your brother man, mean sey yu kill yourself, you understand the government and the media make the people fight in the city yah, confuse their minds, chaos within, and the people at the top jus a grin, cause it's a money ting.

Good, very good

Not bad at all, the same going for the other two acoustic guitar backed tracks on the set, Don't Wanna Sit Around being a lyrical bombshell that deserves several rewinds, mixing life philosophy with a lover's wistfulness.

It is good, very good.

Of course, White Wing Roots is not all acoustic, reggae rockers having their fair share of EP time.

However, on Babylon Will Fall, which features Dark Angel, the lyrics (like the topic) are stock in trade and, coupled with a saxophone that is way too loud in the refrain, it is not a significant addition to the set.

And on the rockers of This Is My Life, the writing and the reggae come together in a beautiful description of this big big music from the little rock. As Murray sings, he put this reggae music here and just say use it as your vest, fe keep we all afloat till the day we can res.

Love makes the cut on I Love The Way You, but not in any very striking way.

White Wing Roots is short, but contains more than enough substance to make it a worthwhile listen.

Track listing

1. Money Thing

2. Babylon Will Fall (feat. Dark Angel)

3. If You Wanna Live

4. I Love The Way You

5.Don't Wanna Sit Around

6. Batti Ryda Raid (feat. Dark Angel)

7. This is My Life

8. So Far From the Earth

- Mel Cooke - Jamaica Gleaner


White Wing Roots - The EP.



Dylan Murray began his career while volunteering in the inner city ghettoes of Jamaica as part of a cultural/poverty awareness project. Dylan taught students in some of Jamaica's toughest ghettoes- He has been writing and performing reggae and acoustic rock for the past 7 years. He has opened for some of the biggest reggae acts in the world including - Sizzla, Beenie Man, and others. But his music stands out on it's own. He also performs beautiful acoustic rock sounds. Check him out at www.dylanmurray.net or www.myspace.com/dylanmurraymusic