Robert Minott is an accomplished Jamaican recording artist, songwriter, and producer currently residing in Houston, Texas. Minott is the nephew of the legendary Sugar Minott. I had the opportunity to interview this talented artist about his musical journey. Here's what he shared.
Hi Robert, how are you doing? I'm good, thank you.
My pleasure. Robert, it's good to speak with you. I love your music, and I love your voice. Thank you so much; I appreciate your loving my voice and music.
Yes, absolutely. So, let’s chat it up. OK
So, Robert, how long have you been performing, how did you become involved in reggae music, and why did you choose reggae? Well, I began my journey in music at 12 years old. One night while sleeping, I had a vision that I was performing on stage. I woke up the next day and started writing and promoting myself as a musician.
After that, I never looked back. Now, it's become a passion of mine. Twenty years later, I'm still singing. That's how it all started.
And why did you choose reggae as the type of music you wanted to sing? Well, being a kid born and raised in Jamaica, I was surrounded by the heartbeat of the people. That's what it's called. Therefore, it was a part of my DNA. I naturally adapted to that sound because it's a part of me.
Could you briefly explain the history of reggae music to those unfamiliar with its origins? What I've grown to know is that reggae came from Jamaica. It’s called sufferers music because it’s music for poor people. The Rastafarians would gather around beating the drums. They call themselves the “Nyabingi Tribe.”
Then they would smoke the herb because smoking herbs are a part of their religion. So, they would smoke their herb, eat natural food from the earth, beat their drums, and sing songs about Rastafarianism.
Then you had “Toots and The Maytals” and Bob Marley. They took reggae to another level when they started putting instruments to it and called it “Ska.” So, they were a Jamaican ska, rocksteady, and reggae band. Before, they were known as the Wailers, and before that, they were known as The Wailing Rudeboys, The Wailing Wailers, and The Teenagers. Bunny Wailer (Neville Livingston) and Peter Tosh (Hubert Winston McIntosh) were the band's founding members in 1963. Even though it changes from generation to generation, they still go back to the root of music, “Ska.”
Thank you for explaining that. So many people are unaware of the origins of reggae, so now we know. Now, Robert, I understand that you are the nephew of a well-known reggae artist, Sugar Minott, who is also a reggae music pioneer. Can you tell me about your relationship with your uncle? Sugar and I were so close. I’m not particularly eager to talk about him because knowing he’s no longer here sometimes bothers me. I get emotional whenever his name is mentioned because we were so close. But we worked together and had a very close relationship, and he was an honorable man.
Two very talented men, indeed. Thank you.
You’re welcome. Besides working with your uncle, who are some of the other artists, you have worked with? I’ve worked with Maxi Priest, Third World, Ziggy Marley, Damian Marley, Burning Spear, and Junior Reed. Not too long ago, I did a show with him in Texas. He works with Alicia Keys, The Game, and other mainstream artists. Also, I did a collaboration where we redid the song, Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant. That’s coming out soon.
I love that song. Yeah, it's banging, and I think you'll hear a lot about it.
Awesome! I'll have to check it out. Most definitely.
Do you sing reggae music only, or are you versatile? I do all different types of music. I don't just do reggae. Because I migrated to the states at an early age, I've been exposed to R&B. Therefore, I do a little bit of R&B, contemporary rock, and pop. But all of it is rooted in reggae. I identify my music as Rasta Funk.
Can you explain that? Yes, so I mix all the different styles into a stewpot. I put all different types of ingredients in there. Rock, R&B reggae, and jazz. I blend it all because I love all music. So, that's where it's at.
You lived in Texas at one point. Have you ever considered singing country music? Well, I'm working on a country reggae song. I'm doing a remake of the song, All My Ex's Live in Texas, initially sung by George Strait.
Awesome! I needed to ask you that question. (laughs) Yeah, I changed it up a little bit. Instead of saying the original title, I say, I had all my ex's live in Texas, and all my baby Mamas live in Tennessee. All my current girls are living with me. Don't hate, congratulate. You can't be me.
Well, there you have it, folks! Straight from the mouth of Robert Minott. So, Robert, can you tell me about any projects you currently have and what you can expect in 2023? My current single is "I Want To Know What Love Is," originally sung by Foreigner, but I did a reggae-pop remake of it. It went #1 for two weeks in the top 100 Chart in Europe and #2 in the network chart. It also went to #1 on another radio chart. So, people love it.
I'm working on my new single called" OK, Fred. "It's a dancehall song featuring "Hawkeye." Another one is with junior Reed, and me called Electric Avenue. That's the latest single. I have an album slated to be released in the spring/ summer of 2023but we have yet to decide on the album's title.
How exciting! I'm sure your music will be amazing! Last, what type of advice would you like to give to you to up-and-coming independent artists? Be loyal to what you want to do, stay true to yourself, and be self-motivated. Don't be distracted by anyone or anything, and believe in yourself. That's the best thing that I can tell anyone. That's the approach that anyone should take.
Well, thank you very much for your time. It has been an honor and a privilege to talk with such a unique and talented artist as yourself. My prayer for you is that God will continue to bless the works of your hands, be it done according to His will. I pray that God will keep you and your family safe. It's a blessing speaking with you. And I appreciate you and your compliment.
Thank you. Thank you, thank you so much.
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Robert Minott photos are coutesy of Robert Minott.