EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Tippa Irie gave us an insight into all things Reggae ahead of his gig at The Maze

He was the young South London lad back in the 1980s when he took the leap of faith into the rising world of Reggae, and released the iconic “Hello Darling”. He’d already had some success after releasing singles on the Greensleeves label but it wasn’t until “Hello Darling” was released that his career took off in the right direction for him. He was received with open arms and Anthony Henry AKA Tippa Irie was born and in hot demand.

Since then he’s gone on to work with some of the most influential musicians in the World. From Alexander O’Neal to The Black Eyed Peas, his own influence can be heard on some of the most memorable tracks ever recorded.  Most recently he’s worked with London Reggae band The Skints whose style is reminiscent of some of the 80s classic Reggae musings, and certainly fits well with Tippa’s style. His music is as relevant now as it was back where it all began.

I caught up with him ahead of his latest tour with the Lockdown Band which will see him hype the crowds of The Maze in Nottingham on Sunday 16 July.

Hello Darling launched your career and put your firmly on the reggae map back in the day, where did the inspiration come from to create such an iconic track?

I was outside a venue in Paddington and saw a beautiful girl and I said hello darling and she said hello good-looking and I said to myself that is a song right there.

Who has been your inspiration throughout the years when creating new sounds?

Is my inspiration as a MC is Papasan Professor Notts Lieutenant stitches Ricky Rankin Bob Marley Gregory Issak Dennis Brown Peter Hunigale and Lloyd Brown   These people inspire me alot.

You’ve worked with some of the finest talent over the last few decades (The Skints being one of my all time favourites) Who has been most memorable for you?

Working with the Skints, The Black Eyed Peas, Peter Hunigale, Lloyd Brown, and Saxon MC’s Charlie 2na from Jurassic 5 

The raw Reggae sound of the 70s is something that seems to have been lost throughout the years thanks to new technology and mixing techniques, do you think this is the case?

Yes I do agree but different strokes for different folks  me myself I prefer the traditional way of recording   I love Analog more than digital.

As you get older and music styles within certain genres change, do you think that Reggae is still as relevant today as it was back then?

The  sales of reggae music have dropped through the Internet, but I think of course the music is still relevant. Reggae festivals are amongst the biggest festivals throughout the world.

What projects are you working on right now?

I am working on my latest album living the dream and is available right now to buy on the Internet   My latest single is big people now, you can find this on YouTube

Can we expect another album from you over the next 12 months?

I just released my latest album eight months ago so I will not be releasing the next album for maybe two years.

New talent emerges as quickly as artists fade from the scene, which younger talent has caught your eye lately?

The new artist I like right now is Raph The Message, Randy Valentine and Jay Jay Born to sing, as well as the talented Alicia Scott. 

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  1. Living the Dream Tippa Irie 3:27