Tippa irie-real name Anthony Henry-started his musical career in South London on his father’s Sound System called Musical Messiah. Family members soon realised that young Tippa had talent and encouraged him to enter local talent competitions. Most of the local Sound Systems in the area also recognised his talent and invited him to perform on their Sound Systems.
The first Sound System to actually record Tippa on record was Sir Lloyd on the LGR record label where he made his first record, aged 17, called The Opposite. Following his first release he then took part in a series of live recordings at Dick Sheppard Youth Centre. The live albums were DSYC Vol’s 1, 2 & 3.
Tippa got his first big break when he was asked to join King Tubby’s Sound. He stayed with King Tubby’s for a couple of years before being spotted by Dennis Rowe and Lloyd Francis from Saxon Sound System, who were both blown away by Tippa’s talent. They asked him to come to South London and join Saxon Sound. Tippa accepted the offer, as he saw an opportunity to get his name across to a wider audience.
Saxon Sound System became the forefront of the UK Reggae and Dancehall scene and helped launch the careers of Maxi Priest, Papa Levi. Smiley Culture, Tippa’s sister Miss Irie, Daddy Colonel, Daddy Rusty, Roger Robin, Peter King-who created the fast talking style that Saxon MC’s were famous for- and many more.
The sessions were recorded on cassette tapes and as the tapes circulated, their popularity grew. Tippa and Saxon became famous all over the UK, USA, Europe and Jamaica. Record labels such as Virgin, Greensleeves, Island, Ariwa and Fashion became interested in the artists’ on the Sound.
Greensleeves offered Tippa a recording contract which he accepted and went on to release ‘Jus a Speak’ with Daddy Colonel. Next, came a string of singles including ‘Good to have the feeling you’re the best’ ‘Complain Neighbour’ and ‘Hello Darling’ which hit no. 1 in the British Reggae charts and no 22 in the British National charts and was a hit all over Europe and the Caribbean.
‘Hello Darling’ was taken from Tippa’s first album ‘Is it really happening to me’. Since that album, which was released in 1986, Tippa has gone on to release 15 studio albums-with a string of no. 1 hits including ‘Ragamuffin girl’ ft. Peter Hunnigale and ‘Superwoman’ ft. Winsome which were released in 1989. ‘Stress’ ft. Lloyd Brown was released in the 90’s.
‘Shouting for the gunners’ was recorded in the 90’s for the Arsenal Football Team and reached the top 30 in the British pop charts. ‘It’s a love thing’ ft. Lloyd Brown was also a big hit in the 90’s.
The 90’s was a great decade for Tippa. He also teamed up with Mad Professor in 1994 and recorded the critically acclaimed ‘Rebel on the roots corner’.
To date, Tippa remains one of the most successful entertainers to come out of the UK and continues to fly the flag for the UK scene wherever he goes.
We can safely say there is not a continent in the world that Tippa has not graced with his talent. From Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica to 12 cities in China, the 52 States in America, almost every country in Europe, all over Asia including India with The Reggae Rajahs, Thailand with Gap-I from the Ska band T-Bone, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia and Singapore. Also Australia and Africa including Gambia, Kenya and Botswana. We could go on but let’s stop there!
Artists’ from all over the world have requested to work with him in all types of music genres.
He worked with the Black Eyed Peas and was nominated for a Grammy in 2004 for the worldwide smash hit single ‘Hey Mama’ which Tippa wrote with Will-I-am and taken from their album ‘Elephunk’. He also worked on the BEP’s next album ‘Monkey Business’ on the track ‘Dum Diddley’
He has also worked with bands and artists such as Maxi Priest, Peter Spence, Pato Banton, Long Beach Dub All-stars, Jurassic 5, Friendly Fire Crew, Detour Posse, Chainska, The Uppercut Band, UB40 (who he supported on their Labour of Love lll tour in 2000), Aswad, The Far East Band (who helped him record his personal favourite album ‘Stick to my Roots, released 2010) and more recently Congo Natty aka Rebel MC to form a group called UK All-Stars with members General Levy, Sweetie Irie, Top Cat, Daddy Freddy, Tenor Fly and Daddy Colonel and countless others.
Tippa Irie continues to be one of the most consistent artists’ around and is not afraid to continually reinvent himself and venture into different genres to keep his music fresh and current which attracts people of all ages. Evidence of this can be seen in his latest releases such as ‘Angry’ with The Bug, ‘Not givin in’ with Solar Lion and ‘Good to have the feelin’ which he collaborated on with DJ Deekline-and is a Jungle re-mix of his original track.
The most recent band Tippa has worked with is The Skints and has recorded two tracks on their latest album called ‘FM’ released 2015. He also toured the UK recently with them alongside his good friend Horseman and is also featured on Horseman’s latest album ‘Dawn of the Dread’ 2015 on a track called ‘The Yout’.
2016 Tippa has struck gold again with his latest album ‘Living the Dream’. The album is a mix of Reggae Dancehall, Soca, Hip Hop, Pop & Afro Beat. He teams up again with Peter Hunnigale with the track “Friends will say’ & General Levy with the track ‘Ebola’. The album also features Safiyah, Sun-I-Safari, Baker & his son, Raph the Message. Tippa is really excited with the feedback and response from this album.
The beat goes on in 2016 as Tippa joins up with L’Entourloop with the track ‘Le Rendez-Vous’ ft N’Zing. The lyric maker continues to break new ground in different genres of music and Jungle is one of them. He teamed up with Jungle icon Congo Natty on the track ‘UK Allstars’ ft Daddy Freddie, Sweetie Irie, General Levy, Top Cat & the late Tenor Fly.
Tippa Irie is not just a successful entertainer, he has built up a reputation as a top Record Producer and owns his own Studio.