Most Popular Songs
BOOKING AND CURRENT STATUS
|Birth name||Wayne Mitchell|
|Also known as||Wayne Marshall|
|Genres||Dancehall, reggae, reggae fusion|
|Associated acts||Alliance, Bounty Killa, Vybz Kartel|
American author Napoleon Hill once said that ‘The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions show that he knows where he is going’ so even though Wayne Mitchell faced initial rejection from music producers and was told point blank ‘yuh no ready yet’, his drive, persistence and tenaciousness ensured that the world heard him sing. With a large fan base here at home and an even wider fan base in the United States and Japan, one would never believe that Wayne ‘Wayne Marshall’ Mitchell’s talent was ever in question.
Early years of the singjay’s life was spent in the Barbican area of Kingston until ‘fate’ moved the Mitchell family 3 doors away from the front gate of the father of digital dancehall, Lloyd ‘King Jammy’ James. The ‘King’ had sons relative to Wayne’s age group, so the Waterhouse studio soon became a second base for the music-loving teenager. Sparring with the big man’s offspring meant that the studio was at their disposal, and the teenager ‘started to check music on a serious level’. Big artists popped in and out of the studio all day long and Marshall observed them all learning what he could but true idolization lay with the timeless Bounty Killer. Using his pass to the Mecca of Dancehall wisely, Wayne Marshall began copying Bounty Killer’s style and pattern when performing for his friends at school, ‘Because I was at Jammy’s I would always have strictly pre-release Bounty Killer material and done the place! Any new tune that Jammy’s released for Bounty I learnt them straight away and was ready to pop it off anytime anyone asked me at school all day, every day, 1st verse, 2nd verse, anything you want.’
Marshall’s abounding self-confidence allows him to freely acknowledge his skill, and he recognised his own talent for lyrical construction as soon as he started penning soulful lyrics at 14. ‘From I was 7 years old I always dreamed of performing in front of huge crowds of people,’ smiles Wayne Marshall, ‘until I realised I could sing and make the girls dem cry, so I just sang and made the girls dem cry!.. that desire however to be original, to be an artiste, was directly from Bounty Killer. His levels of meditation and the standard he brought the lyrics to made me realise it was something I should be a part of’, enthuses Wayne Marshall. Finished with school at 17, Wayne Marshall decided to give music his all despite being expected by his family to pursue more traditional avenues. His dedication to music however spewed forth ‘Champagne Wishes, Caviar Dreams’ a tune that highlighted Marshall’s unique high pitched vocals proving in fact that he possessed vocal versatility, another trademark of his mentor Bounty Killer. ‘I decided to use my high pitch sound, my singing voice and my DJ voice to lock the whole world,’ he says. ‘I knew if I wrote the right thin and organized my thing properly, that combination would be unstoppable.’
Despite Marshall’s confidence and natural talent, Jammy’s hit factory still overlooked him. ‘It was tough,’ he remembers, ‘but I just kept writing and holding direct meditation in myself, to find and bring forth originality out of myself.’ Wayne Marshall was bursting to record on wax, so a friend organised an audition one evening with producer Mikey Bennett, at his studio. After a nervous introduction Bennett insisted Wayne Marshall sing over a track he was listening to in the studio, ignoring Marshall’ pleas to sing something original. ‘Sing back weh the singer sing?’ Wayne Marshall asked himself. ‘This old time music that mi not even listen to.’ As a result Wayne Marshall faltered and Bennett dismissed him as ‘needing nuff voice training, yuh no ready yet.’ Disappointment fostered self-doubt and rejection may have dampened his spirits, because Bennett was a big man in the business but it did not ‘lick him for ‘. ‘I decided that I was going to prove Mikey Bennett wrong,’ Marshall says, voice still thick with defiance. ‘Prove that he gave up on something good because he didn’t want to listen to my little song, which I wrote specifically to impress him that day.’
‘Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit’ so at last the chance came to voice on the Badda Badda riddim – the vehicle that propelled Wayne’s Jammys’ label mates Ward 21 to stardom. Marshall rode their wave of success, travelling with them on shows and collaborating with them on songs. ‘Ward 21 got bigger and King always forced me in the package made me travel and eat all some food’ he says. ‘King always push me inna di link hard, even before me ever had a one hot tune.’
Still Mikey Bennett comments hit home so Wayne attended the voicen training classes of a very pleasant little white lady named Ms. Schleiffer, who has schooled almost everyone currently calling himself or herself Reggae or Dancehall artiste. ‘Every day I was there for an hour,’ says Wayne Marshall. ‘I was caught up in the studio flex and didn’t even have a car but I made sure I dedicated myself to her class.’ His peeps noticed the difference in his voice and told him ‘You ready’. However shortly after, Wayne Marshall lost one of his closest friends in a car accident, one which Wayne Marshall barely escaped with his own life. Wayne Marshall re wrote Lauryn Hill’s dedication to her son Zion for Nicholas’ funeral and sang, like he never sang before. The packed church was moved physically, spiritually and mentally. This solemn tribute impressed producers as well as fans, making it Marshall’s first hit. The rendition also impressed Marshall’s longtime musical hero Bounty Killer whose early records Wayne Marshall studied. And so the famed Bounty Killer soon invited the endowed bandana wearing artist to join him on the U.S leg of his ‘Ghetto Dictionary’ tour proving that there is indeed a silver lining to every dark cloud.
On returning to Jamaica, Wayne Marshall began recording a series of hits including what most persons remember as his premier hit, ‘Bling Bling’ ; ‘After All’ and ‘Hot Girls (The Club)’ both collaborations with Scare Dem Crew frontman Elephant Man, ‘Party Time’, ‘Feeling It’ and ‘Hot In The Club’. His collaboration with hot new deejay Vybz Kartel in ‘New Millennium’ and ‘Why You Doing It’ topped reggae charts and secured Wayne’s position as a mainstay in the dancehall scene.
The rest is all history now to Wayne Marshall, he only moved forward. He became a must have on all the hot riddims and stage shows. Highly requested at home and abroad Marshall let loose a barrage of new hits including his collaboration with the Ghetto Gladiator Bounty Killer on the Diwali riddim, ‘Sufferer’ and at long last a debut album in 2003 titled ‘Marshall Law’ with VP records. Featured on ‘Marshall Law’ was probably the biggest tune to date of Marshall’s career, the uplifting, keep your chin up tune despite struggle tune, ‘Overcome’. Marshall was definitely going places and cemented himself as one of Jamaica’s respected song writers and crooners.
Some ‘As a Yute’, ‘ Phat Infinity’, ‘Big Tune’, ‘Happy Days’ and countless stage performances in Jamaica, Japan, US, UK, Canada and the Caribbean later Marshall makes his third appearance at Sumfest and embarks, on a European tour. In addition, he has recently shot local videos for two singles that are sure to rise to the top of the charts: ‘Arguing’ and ‘Why’ which features singer Tami Chynn. Other hit tunes come from the Leftside and Esco produced riddim, Gigi with Marshall’s rendition of PM Dawn’s 1997 mega hit ‘I Would Die without You’, ‘Make Them Come’, Taking me Higher and of course the clever ‘Marry Juana; ‘This is the first time that I have a tune that is doing well simultaneously, people in places that I have never been have called to tell me about the cleverness of the lyrics, and the concept.. everything looks bigger for the future,’ he said.
One line from Wayne Marshall, ‘Chu Chu Chu’ and the girls scream. The artistic ambassador Wayne Marshall has proven his capability in standing alone, and has shown his versatility by his collaborations with a range of artists, such as Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel, Sizzla, Sean Paul and international producer and artiste Pharrell. His greatest achievement to date has not been the money, the fame, the exotic places he gets to visit or the recognition but in fact is his likeness Giovanni; a life changing event, a catalyst that has transformed his career and his life. His devotion to his son caused him to be selected as the spokesperson for the National Family Planning Board (NFPB). Marshall has come on board with the NFPB’s new campaign, which will focus on safe sex, and family planning, targeting various age groups. Add that to his Western Union and Cable and Wireless endorsements and Marshall’s career and credibility is obviously booming.
‘I don’t want people to guess if Marshall was a good artiste.. I want to be recognized as an established artiste, a bonafide hitmaker,’ says a smiling Marshall. With a new heavily rotated hit on Leftside and Esco’s new riddim Dem Time Deh, Marshall presents Astronaunt, another clever play on words song that has everybody singing along. Wayne Marshall definitely has sang his way into the hearts of many fans and his artistry sings that he is here to stay.