Vienna, Austria. When you think of this famous city and its musical history, you think of Beethoven, Mozart. However, in today’s Vienna, dancehall and reggae are growing ever more popular. Over the last several years, Reggae and Dancehall artists have begun making noise; getting louder and louder. The city boasts several local sound systems, dance crews, artistes and one golden haired dread known as Jami Dread (Di Dreadful). These Viennese represent a new generation of the global vibes dancehall music brings.
Jami Dread is a visibile staple of Austria’s dancehall movement and as the scene grows his popularity follows suit. Jami is a dancehall deejay, as well as a riddim producer, for his own label Lyrical War Records; who recently released the Hot Skull Riddim.
Jami debuted two major singles this year and they have been on steady rotation, from Kingston to LA to Vienna and back. The first, “High and Frass” is a testament of the singer’s commitment to the roots-reggae culture. Jami began dreading his locks at the young age of 13, which is also around the time he began to make his own music and set himself apart as a serious musician.
His first introduction to reggae and dancehall music came through his own roots, his family. “Reggae deh deh since mi born, my family listen to Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and the reggae legneds, my whole family is music fanatics and music nerds so reggae deh deh since mi born,” Jami said, “So mi also start fi learn bout dancehall and mi fall in love with certain aspects of Jamaican culture.” With reggae as a staple in his household, Jami has worked on perfecting his own appreciation of the vibes.
Along with his musical talent, the artiste has another unique way of embracing island culture. The singer is a fluent speaker of Patois, which links back to his days in college. After deciding on his own to write a 25 page esssay on the language, he continued to study the dialect through Jamaica’s music. It is one thing that stands out when conversing with Jami. He’s not Jamaican by blood, but at his core he is an honorary Yard man. In fact, Jamaica is one of his favorite places in the world, having visited the island on occasion.
His second single, “Privilege”, is also being heard on Jamaica’s airways and has a video full of bashments. In the video, Jami links up with several Austrian based dancehall dancers. Dancehall to di ting! The singer has a tight-knit circle of support, as he regularly collaborates with the Nuh Badda We Crew on several music related projects.
What’s even more interesting about Jami, is his steady confidence through the ups and downs of the music biz. Even though he may send a few shout outs to his haters, he stays focused on his future, keeping the positive vibes moving him forward. Rather than shelling out single after single, Jami aims to build his name with just a few, choice productions. Quality over quantity is his motto.
When asked what he’s looking forward to in the future, Jami Dread keeps it real. “The main focus is music itself, I don’t really care so much about money and it’s not really my goal to tun millionaire because of music, the first focus is music because mi carry whole heap of love for music and Jamaican culture,” Jami said. “Me want the same respect and ratings I give to other artists, but me just want spread mi name and me sound most importantly.”
Building on his hopes for the future, the artiste also reflected on his personal philosophy: “Music, or art in general, is reflecting life so my music should reflect my life,” Jami said. KingstontoLA is tuned in and we’re excited for great things from Jami in the future.
Pree the video for “Privilege/Motion” ft. several of Austria’s dancehall-dancers here on KingstontoLA:
Photos courtesy of @jamidread on Instagram