“I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
He tells me every care on Him to roll.”
-First verse from the song “Lily of the Valley” that inspired the title of the album. A song that Jesse grew up hearing his grandma in the countryside singing. It was a song that always resonated with him.
An evening of rain- waters cooled the land. As the moon began to shine, leaving the day behind there is one place many were trying to find. The Serengetti, at Hope Zoo- here an album was to be launched. Enter, “Lily of Da Valley”, by Jesse Royal. The Small Axe, more commonly known as Jesse Royal, had spent years in contemplations just to make sure that this album was composed and released as it should be and when it should be, respectively. As the evening was graced with the sounds of reggae blasting through speakers a crowd trickled in. Within a few minutes, the venue was filled. A diverse audience awaited Jesse’s album to be presented to them. There were celebrities like Protoje, Sevana, Donisha Prendergast, Aidonia and much more. Still, the crowd consisted of many who were solely consumers of reggae as well.
A metaphor becoming reality, a final shower came down and very soon after sprouted Lily of Da Valley. It all commenced with Debbie Bissoon interviewing Jesse, asking him about the inspiration behind the album and what his thought process was like for a few tracks. Jesse played two samples straight from the album to give a feel of its beauty. He spoke of how honoured he was to collaborate with so many talents including Llamar “Riff Raff” Brown who would soon take the stage and begin to set up as he was playing keys for the performance. Jesse retreated backstage after the interview while the band took their places and tuned their instruments.
Then it began… Kicking it all off with a lengthy introduction of instruments, soon the Small Axe took the stage with finesse, in his element. He performed the tracks off the record with his band; flanking his voice with instruments and the beautiful voices of the band’s three singers. The crowd rocked, danced, and sang along. You could tell that Jesse’s music had impacted them in some way before and if it didn’t, it surely did during this night’s performance. He is known to always deliver an eccentrically energetic and soulful performance and he did not fail to keep up this image. After the performance, he met with fans to reason, sign CDs and take photos. You could tell everyone was pleased with Jesse’s delivery. Not long after its release “Lily of Da Valley” chopped its way to the number 1 position, on the Billboard 100.
“He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.”
-Refrain from the song “Lily of the Valley” that inspired the title of the album.
Words by Christopher Lee “Th’Ink-King” Murray and Jik-Reuben Pringle, The Visual Ninja
Soundcloud interview by Gladstone “S7one” Taylor.
~Peace, Perfect Peace~