Ini Kamoze life and biography

Ini Kamoze  picture, image, poster

Ini Kamoze biography

Date of birth : 1957-10-09
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Saint Mary, Jamaica
Nationality : Jamaican
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-12-06
Credited as : reggae singer, "Here Comes the Hotstepper", Jamaican Sunsplash festival

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Cecil Campbell, better known by his stage name Ini Kamoze is a Jamaican reggae singer. He is best known for his signature song, "Here Comes the Hotstepper", which was released in 1994, and subsequently topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also reached number one in Australia and New Zealand, and number four in the UK Singles Chart.

Ini Kamoze first gained international prominence in 1983 with his self-titled debut album, released on the Island label. He is best known, however, as the originator of the international smash hit "Here Comes the Hotstepper," which topped the Billboard pop charts in 1994, was featured on the soundtrack of a major Hollywood film, and landed on the top five charts in Britain. Although he later changed his appearance and experimented with different musical sounds, including the synthesized beats of dancehall-reggae and hip-hop, Kamoze remained committed to his early reggae roots and to a philosophy that included spreading a message of peace and love through music.

He made his first recordings in the early 1980s, cutting his first single, "World Affairs," in 1981. He gained a following in his native country, earning the nickname of "Voice of Jamaica." He was picked up by Sly And Robbie, a musical duo who led the Taxi label. With Sly And Robbie as producers, Kamoze released a 12-inch single called "Trouble You Trouble Me," on their label, and the cut was warmly received by fans. Although Kamoze was described at the time as six feet tall and willowy, with untangled hair, and very frail in appearance, he nevertheless burned up the stage with a ferocious stage presence, wowing fans and critics alike during his live performances.

After recording several singles and playing extensively in live shows in Jamaica, Kamoze cut his first full-length album. Ini Kamoze was produced by Sly And Robbie and released through Island Records. The album was well received internationally, but Kamoze began to lose cachet among his local fans, who were increasingly turning to the popular, feel-good, DJ-driven dancehall licks instead of the more traditional, message-heavy music favored by Kamoze.

Kamoze made a splash at the 1984 Jamaican Sunsplash festival, however, when he gave the DJs a run for their money with his stage presence. That year also saw the release of Kamoze's next album, Statement, which included "Call the Police," a track that was used in the soundtrack for the film Good To Go.

As a performer in the lineup of the 1985 Reggae Sunsplash, Kamoze made his British stage debut as part of an event produced by Sly And Robbie. There he shared the stage with such Jamaican dancehall luminaries as Gregory Isaacs and Sugar Minott. The British fans loved Kamoze's style, and when the tour moved on to the Continent, reggae fans in other parts of Europe responded equally well.

Pirate, which included tracks like "Betty Brown's Mother" and an anti-gun song titled "Gunshot," was Kamoze's next recorded effort. This album was not as well received as his earlier work, but Kamoze remained a strong presence on the international concert circuit. Taxi took him on the road on the Taxi Connection International Tour, putting him on stage alongside fellow reggae artists Yellowman, Half Pint, and the Taxi Gang. A highlight of the tour was a concert at London's Town & Country Club. The concert was taped, and subsequently formed the basis of the album The Taxi Connection Live in London. The tour itself was featured on a United Kingdom music show called The Tube.

Back home, Kamoze cut loose from the Taxi Gang in 1987 and began to work with the One Two Crew. This proved a fruitful collaboration, resulting in Kamoze's next album, Shocking Out. Kamoze also toured with the One Two Crew, who backed him up at such events as the Reggae Fall Fest, which played in the United States, and in solo concerts in New York and other cities. Music critic Jon Pareles, reviewing a Kamoze concert in 1988 in the New York Times, called Kamoze a standout reggae performer who "sings in a satin-smooth tenor that's unconcerned with gravity." Washington Post critic Ilona Wartofsky praised Kamoze's "irresistible" music after hearing a concert in the Washington D.C. area.

Kamoze then founded his own label, putting out a compilation album called Selekta Showcase, which featured a popular Kamoze single titled "Stress." Four years later he released his next album, 16 Vibes of Ini Kamoze, which sold well and helped Kamoze remain popular with reggae fans, who especially liked the hit single "Another Sound."

In 1994 Kamoze, then 37 years old, found himself with an international hit on his hands. "Here Comes the Hotstepper" was to become the singer's biggest hit single. This "infectious pop-dance hit," according to Tony Moton in the Omaha World Herald, was recorded with Philip "Fatis" Burrell, and was featured initially on a compilation of reggae music called Stir It Up, produced on the Epic label. It was not an entirely new composition, having its roots in the song "Land of 1000 Dances," which was first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1961 and reprised in 1963 by Fats Domino.

The song won widespread acclaim for Kamoze, especially after it was chosen by major Hollywood director Robert Altman for the soundtrack of Pret-A-Porter ("Ready to Wear"), Altman's film about the fashion industry. The soundtrack also featured the work of rock stars such as the Rolling Stones, pop star Janet Jackson, and many other well-known artists. "Here Comes the Hotstepper" rose to the top of the British charts in January of 1995, and earned Kamoze a nomination for the International Reggae Music Awards, held that year in New Orleans.

"Here Comes the Hotstepper" next showed up on record store shelves in 1995 on an album of the same name, featuring the production work of Salaam Remi. The album featured previously released work by Kamoze, along with his hit single. The song leapt to the top of the Billboard Hot Singles Chart, where it remained for two weeks. It remained on numerous other charts for close to four months. Kamoze parlayed the song into a music video, displaying a solid, well-muscled physique and long dreadlocks that looked quite different from the anemic appearance often commented on by critics during the 1980s.

The success of "Here Comes the Hotstepper" brought Kamoze a contract with Elektra Records. In keeping with his new image, Kamoze began to move away from his traditional Jamaican sound to embrace a more modern, hip-hop style. He showcased this new sound in concert tours in the Los Angeles area, and also in a new album, Lyrical Gangsta, released on Elektra's Asylum label in 1995.

In 2006, Kamoze recorded and released a double album, Debut, on which he re-recorded a number of his tracks. Debut was released on the 9 Sound Clik label, with which he was closely associated.

The artist's most recent album release is 2009's 51 50 Rule, an all-new studio release. The CD had tracks such as "Rapunzel" (feat. Maya Azucena) and "Hungry Daze." The album also had some guest features from Sizzla ("R.A.W"), and Busy Signal ("Ta Da Bang"). This was his second album released on the 9 Sound Clik label.

Album discography:
-Pirate (1984) - Mango Records
-Statement (1984) - Mango Records
-Ini Kamoze (1984) - Island Records
-Shocking Out (1988) - RAS Records
-16 Vibes of Ini Kamoze (1992) - Sonic Sounds
-Here Comes the Hotstepper (1995) - Columbia/SME Records
-Lyrical Gangsta (1995) - East West America/Elektra Records
-Shocking Hours (1995) - Greensleeves Records
-Debut (2006) - 9 Sound Clik
-51 50 Rule (2009) - 9 Sound Clik

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