Richie Stephens is a true ambassador of Jamaican music, culture and lifestyle. He has represented the island admirably on the international stage, and he continues to enjoy ongoing adulation from his peers here at home. To that end, it should not come as a surprise to anyone to learn that he has written and produced a tune for this year’s Jamaica Festival Song Competition.
The track is titled Defend Jamaica, and it is performed by Nitty Kutchie: one of the strongest vocalist in the industry.
Defend Jamaica is an upbeat reggae song that’s fused with dancehall; and whilst the rhythm is irresistible, it’s Stephens‘ lyrics combined with Kutchie‘s delivery that makes it a real contender.
“I will forever
and it no matta
anywhere I go,
the black green and gold
deep inna my soul
I love Jamaica
more than you know.”
Both men have been friends for approximately thirty years, with Richie having penned lines for Nitty Kutchie in the past. When asked why he chose Nitty Kutchie, Stephens said the following:
“I choose Nitty Kutchie cause Nitty Kutchie is like a brother to me for many many years. I find him to be a good person and that is very important to me. Other than that, Nitty Kutchie has one a the best voices in reggae music and I’m not just saying that. His sound, his voice is something that connect with people everytime he sings, but I don’t think Nitty Kutchie get the kind a chance he deserves to deliver with the kind of voice that he has; so I always have that in mind. And this is not the 1st or the 2nd time I’ve been working with Nitty Kutchie; I’ve been writing and producing songs with Nitty Kutchie over the years. So I just feel like he would be the right person to deliver this song with that kind of hardcore Jamaican sounding voice.”
To ensure that the song had the perfect sound, Stephens was not only selective in choosing the ideal lead vocalist, he also brought in an all-star cast of musicians to create the beat. Othniel ‘Ottey’ Lewis played keys, Dave Green played drums, Robert Browne was on guitar, Courtney Panton did the bass, Richie Stephens also played keyboard and Dean Fraser and his group of brass players did the horn section. Defend Jamaica was recorded and mixed by Marvin ‘Wacko’ Jackson.