O’Neil Edwards, one third member of the Dancehall Reggae group VoiceMail passed on May 26, 2010. It is still very difficult for me to put my thoughts into words as I’ve worked closely with the group from their first hit in the early part of 2000’s. (I wrote their first bio – used to this day and so much more). Much like a number of other artists in this genre, these guys have a piece of my heart. You don’t work so closely with people in this business on the level of management, artist development, booking, marketing, promotions, publishing, press etc without getting close; and it’s natural that you build a strong personal bond with people. I love these guys. O’Neil is a very special person; positive, God believing, God fearing, progressive, a no-nonsense individual – just my steeze. O’Neil and VoiceMail greatly understood their role as artists; as being leaders – please watch in his own words (in this below EPK) how strongly he felt about this.
Many know the details; he was shot by would be robbers on May 10th returning to his home in Duhaney Park Jamaica. He was operated on almost immediately removing four of five bullets. One remained and a week later after his vitals stabilized enough an additional surgery was performed removing the last bullet. He’s been steadily improving; understand his injuries were very severe, it’s not like he woke up the next day and was walking and talking. He was lying in the hospital bed resting, healing and sleeping. He needed more time; we (Craig, Kevin, myself, Sharon Burke, Tony Kelly, Mr Vegas, CeCile and so many others) all believed he was going to recover fully. I could go on but I’m stopping here, the rest is just not as important as is the fact that he is now gone.
There is a song that was recorded six months ago as part of the group’s upcoming album ‘NEXT LEVEL’ called “One Life To Live”. It’s been released early following his shooting as a tribute to him and to raise funds; O’Neil has left a daughter behind, as well as his group members/brothers Kevin Blaire & Jerome “Craig” Jackson and countless others who loved him considered him family. Take the time to follow this link and purchase the song.
There is a lot of senseless violence and immoral mayhem happening in Jamaica right now. WE, those with a voice in this genre need to take that role into greater consideration and not let this tragedy fade – but use it to empower us to do the right thing, to speak out against this, to have a POSITIVE IMPACT as those with a voice, leaders and looked up to. It’s natural for children to edify their elders and those in the limelight. Producer Tony Kelly, another very close to the group has had some strong thoughts expressed on Twitter today and with his permission, I encourage you to read this.
Again, this is so very raw and painful to me I cannot fully express my thoughts at this time. O’Neil, Craig and Kevin you guys know I love you for life and throughout eternity. Anything, anytime and always.