June 30, 2010, New York, NY – VP Records recording artist and crossover success story, Gyptian, is slated to release “HOLD YOU” on July 20. The 15 track CD includes the summer jam, “Hold You,” which has held the #1 spot on Billboard´s Reggae Singles Chart for 9 consecutive weeks and is currently climbing the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart as well as the R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart. iTunes will offer two exclusive tracks for fans. With “HOLD YOU” Gyptian introduces the World to the new era of Sexy Reggae Music as he dedicates this album “to the ladies across the globe.” NPR (National Public Radio) has even stated Gyptian is“swoon-worthy stuff.”
“A new artist with old-school flavor, delivers marvelously mellow love songs. His debut album My Name Is Gyptian (VPRecords.com), also showcases stripped-down, socially conscious tracks that evoke Marley at his most political.”
– Caribbean Travel & Life
“Gyptian’s brand of rasta-lite throws a lion into the rat race”
– Fader Magazine
FIVE STARS… …a well-balanced young singer who is committed to creating love saturated roots music. With a calming sound very reminiscent of reggae favorites, Beres Hammond and Sanchez, Gyptian’s promising voice garners and deserves your undivided attention. Gyptian’s music has the power to help revive reggae.
“Gyptian is often hailed for bringing the conscious reggae movement to the mainstream masses.”
– Jamrock Magazine
“The resilient Jamaican singer has survival stories to tell… in a voice like liquid gold.”
– Vibe Magazine
“Making sweet noise in reggae….”
– Trace Magazine
Gyptian “Hold You” Biography
The bawdy double entendre that comprises the hook of reggae singer Gyptian’s current crossover hit “Hold You” is, simultaneously, so sweet a child can chant along to it yet so risqué many adults would blush at its intimate disclosure: “Girl me just want to hold you put me arms right around you, girl you give me the tightest hold (hole) me ever get in my life.” “I wrote the song with a double meaning; it’s all about a tight hold, however you choose to take that,” laughed Gyptian as he explained the lyrics of the song that has expanded his popularity on the reggae circuit while concurrently taking his music to an entirely new audience. “Fans who understand it, don’t really want to say what it means but they know. It’s heard differently by different people and I think that’s one of the reasons it became so popular.”
Delivered in a lilting, patois-laden sing-jay style over a sparse dancehall rhythm embellished with a succession of cheerfully plunked piano keys, “Hold You” is the title track to Gyptian’s third album for VP Records, which drops on July 20. One of the biggest hits of the summer of 2010, “Hold You” has spawned countless remixes including turns by Nicki Minaj and Major Lazer’s club friendly version. For nine consecutive weeks following its digital release on March 9, “Hold You” topped Bilboard’s Reggae Digital Singles; it entered the Billboard Hot 100 on May 26, where it has peaked so far at No. 86 following four months on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, peaking at No 33 on that tally. “I knew “Hold You” was a good song, but this is a whole other level of success for me,” states 26-year old Gyptian, who rocketed to fame in Jamaica with the somber social commentary “Serious Times”, from his 2006 VP Records debut “My Name Is Gyptian”. Gyptian’s inaugural effort reached No. 13 on the Billboard Reggae Album chart while his sophomore effort “I Can Feel Your Pain”, featuring the popular reggae sufferers’ anthem “Nobody No Cry” peaked at No. 4.
Despite the somber societal messages in the aforementioned songs, Gyptian’s music primarily caters to the ladies, as evidenced by the romantic and sexual themes that dominate “Hold You”. From the traditional reggae tempo that underscores “Drive Me Crazy” and “So Much In Love” to the hypnotically woven dancehall beats driving “Call Gyptian”, all courtesy of the set’s primary producer John FX Crawford, Gyptian’s third album is sure to take hold of music fans’ iPods and CD players the way the single has taken hold of the Billboard charts and the Hip Hop and R&B airwaves.
“Some people love the cultural side of Gyptian but you can’t forget the girls,” notes the singer, “and for them it’s all about lovers rock because everybody needs love and everyone needs to share love and I am fortunate that I can share it on this CD.”
Born Windel Beneto Edwards on October 25, 1983, Gyptian was raised in the rural King Weston district in the parish of St. Andrew by his Christian mother Pauline and his Rastafarian father, Basil. Neither parent dictated their son’s spiritual path but both encouraged his musical talent; thus Gyptian, who earned his nickname because he often wrapped shirts around his head in the style of an Egyptian pharaoh, sang at his mother’s Sunday morning church services and at the Saturday night dances promoted by his father who owned the Sugar Stone sound system.
Gyptian’s musical ambitions brought him to reggae’s epicenter, Kingston, where he was introduced to legendary guitarist/producer Earl “Chinna” Smith and together they created a version of “Serious Times” in 1999, which was never released. He returned to King Weston and took a break from music but before long, he was referred to a studio owned by producer/talent scout Ravin Wong located in the Kingston suburb of Portmore. Wong had a proven track record of transforming aspiring young talents, such as Portmore based sing-jay I Wayne, into hit making artists. Under Wong’s guidance, Gyptian began performing at various stage shows and talent contests; he won the 2004 Portmore Star Search competition and the top prize included a performance slot at the December 2004 staging of Sting, Jamaica’s premier dancehall concert. Renowned for attracting an audience that, when warranted, will express their displeasure with artists’ performances by bottling, that is, throwing bottles, cups or other objects at an unwelcomed act, Gyptian, despite his fledgling status, was not intimidated. “To be frank, I wondered what I was doing there,” Gyptian laughingly recalled. “It was difficult. I knew I wouldn’t get a forward (an audience’s call for an encore) but from a long time music is what me love so me just struggle through it.”
A few months later Gyptian was working a construction job when Portmore producer Kenneth ‘Spragga’ Wilson asked him to take a day off to voice “Serious Time”. Gyptian was never paid for that session but the song’s subsequent popularity, which led to his inclusion on all major stage shows in Jamaica and several international reggae festivals, more than made up for it.
Gyptian’s heartfelt vocals detailing the island’s worsening crime, accompanied by the meditative drumming of celebrated percussionist Bongo Herman and melodious sax lines courtesy of veteran Tony Greene made “Serious Times” one of the biggest reggae hits of 2005/2006. The song topped several major Jamaican and international reggae charts; Vibe Magazine ranked it number 21 among the top 60 songs of 2006 and Gyptian was nominated as Best New Reggae Artist and named the Most Promising Entertainer at the 2006 International Reggae and World Music Awards held at New York City’s legendary Apollo Theater. At home, Gyptian was cited as the Best New Artist of 2005 by the Jamaica Observer newspaper and “Serious Times” tied with Damian Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” for the daily’s Song of the Year honors.
“A lot of people said I would be a one hit wonder, but I never thought that,” Gyptian offered. “I never go into the studio thinking that I will get a number one song. I love every song that I sing but it’s the people who judge them and make them hits.”
It’s the people who have made “Hold You” a summer anthem of 2010 and Gyptian will undoubtedly recruit an even larger fan base with the release of his heavily anticipated third album. Like an overture to a momentous classical score “Hold You” commences
with the minute-long “To Be Held”, as Gyptian’s impassionedly murmurs a single line from his current hit over producer FX’s lushly orchestrated piano arrangement, a teaser of the artfully crafted grooves, extracted from myriad genres, that contribute to the album’s sleek, contemporary reggae soundscape.
Throughout, Gyptian punctuates his sweetly crooned vocals with scatted syllables that are further enhanced by various aural effects, resulting in a consistently mesmeric tone, especially on the exquisite “Na Na Na (A Love Song)”, which fuses rock guitar riffs into a steady reggae beat, and the sensual “Rendezvous”, set to a heavy drum and bass driven one-drop rhythm. The cascading romanticism of the gently rocking “So Much In Love”, like so many songs here, is guaranteed to make the ladies swoon and hopefully teach male listeners a few things about amorous pursuits.
Gyptian needs little instruction in that area: on “Call Gyptian” the self-proclaimed “swag daddy” boasts that he can “fit the mission”; he boldly details the techniques that keep his woman coming back for more on the up tempo “All In You”, produced by VP Records’ Director of A&R Neil “Diamond” Edwards, while his seductive come-ons steer the steamy “Tease Mi (Haffi Easy)”, produced by Adrian Lock. “Drive Me Crazy” gently melds lovers-rock reggae with delicate strands of Latin guitars and “Beautiful Lady” produced by Ray Stephens for Vertex Records, which initially appeared on Gyptian’s debut album, seemingly an ode to a gorgeous woman, actually recalls a brief, unexpected romantic encounter.
The decades-old roots reggae rhythms “Heavenless” and “Diseases”, as updated by FX for a 21st century audience, respectively provide the foundation for the tenderly romantic “Where You Belong” and the party anthem “Leave Us Alone”
The digital version of “Hold You” includes a reprised rendition of “Love Against the Wall” from “I Can Feel Your Pain”, refurbished with an irresistible reggae undercurrent. Also included is the Major Lazer remix of “Hold You”, which has been nominated for “Remix of the Year” by MTV2, the first of what is sure to be a slew of nominations for Gyptian’s song throughout 2010.
For Gyptian’s fans of the past five years the “Hold You” album represents a further maturation of his immense talents; for those who have just become acquainted with his music through the steady radio play of his hit single, the album demonstrates a sophisticated incorporation of the diversified influences comprising his distinctive brand of modern Jamaican music. “It’s all about putting spice in your life,” notes Gyptian. “With music you can’t just stick to one sound you have to pick and choose to satisfy the largest fan base and that’s what I have done because right now it is all about advancing my career.”