Mashup Exclusive Interview with Lt. Stitchie
Love, Peace & Righteousness.
Cleveland Laing, better known as Lieutenant Stitchie, is a Jamaican deejay who originally worked in the dancehall style but switched to gospel reggae in 1997 after surviving a car crash, thereafter working under the shorter name Stitchie. Wikipedia
Q) Being one of the pioneers in dancehall music I'm curious to know what you think of the scene now and where you think it will be in 10 years.
LS: "I'm very related with the growth of the genre globally, reflecting on the exposure that I was afforded to the world and the introduction of dancehall music that I have made to Germany, The Netherlands and the rest of Europe in 1989 as the 1st dancehall Artiste to be signed to Atlantic Records, simultaneously, paying homage to the many great dancehall legends who preceded and opened several doors for benefit of those of us who practice this gifted craft. I see that the music has mushroomed, borne and is currently bearing fruits that remain. The tentacles of dancehall music have penetrated the global market place, standing dominantly on it's own two legs as a force to be reckoned with as other mainstream genres, and has positively influenced the entire music industry as a whole, setting trends in fashion, styles, recultivating and establishing cultures in customs and traditions in language, music and dance across the globe. I've observed that even from an entrepreneurial stance, from those of us who are in the music business, are very smart and far more alert in how to skilfully manoeuvre our affairs in the business of music and not only concern with just simply being in the music business. I'm excited about the many new talents who are now integrally involve in the industry and I joyfully accept, embrace and welcome the process of metamorphosis. Yes, I will also be the first to verbalize that there are many different things which need urgent attention, if we are to continue on this path of upward and outward spiraling as a genre, but these can be explored, dissected and discussed in excruciating details in the future. In the meantime, I give thank for everything and continue to share a message of love, peace and righteousness through my music and promote humanity over vanity. The music will live forever."
Q) Out of an impressive 22 studio albums is there one that holds a special meaning/place with you?
LS: "Yes, most definitely, Masterclass, not only because it's the newest, but because the messages that are conveyed of love, peace and righteousness in a more pointed way than ever before and couldn't come at an even better time as falsehood are more rampant and the regard for the truth would appear as if it is now being treated with scant or no regards. Masterclass represents the true reflection of my growth personally, musically, spiritually, socially, philosophically, rhythmically and emotionally. It's a testimony of the original authenticity of what dancehall music is in it's purest form, colorfully decorated with the variety of beats, the versatility of styles in various vocal deliveries, comprising of melodies, keys and intonation. I am humbled and grateful to the Lord for His gift of my lyrical prowess that has spiraled to a higher level on this Album. Masterclass is the first project that I have ever invited so many guests appearances, 5 to be exact, namely: Ricky Stereo, Million Stylez, Agent Sasco, Fantan Mojah and Lukie D. They are all excellent professionals Artistes, who are overflowing with passion for Reggae and Dancehall Music and a love for people generally. I'm blessed to share a great connection and personal relationship with each which worked well for the songs we did together. The artwork of the album is another credit to Masterclass cementing that special place in my heart. There are two real paintings illustrating portraits of my images skilfully done by one the world's greatest internationally renowned Visual Artist, Andy Ballentine, from my hometown, Spanish Town, Jamaica. The message that is represented in the paintings is one in the same with the music to humanity on a green planet as we take care of our environment. Each color used, represents a beautiful characteristic of humanity that we should combine as one."
Q) You and Manudigital, who produced "Masterclass", seem to have something special when collaborating...How did you guys first link?
LS: "I'm totally in agreement with the fact that we both have a chemistry that flows seemlessly together and is very powerful and effective. Manu and I first both met in April of 2013 in France when and where we started the process of putting this Album, Masterclass, together. Everything fitted like a hand to a glove. We understand each other perfect and communication is simple and easy between us.
We both look forward to being on stage performing side-by-side this summer. It will be epic, I am sure."
Q) Which Artist haven't you worked with that one day you hope to?
LS: "That's a very easy question for me. Hands down, Jamaica's first major Reggae Icon and Movie Superstar, Hon. Dr. James "Jimmy Cliff" Chambers.
Q) Favorite Reggae Album?
LS: "My favorite Reggae Album is Legend by Bob Marley."
Q) Outside of music do you have any other talents or hobbies?
LS: "I'm an Author, and a professional Teacher of Physical Education and Biology."
Q) Can you remember the first Reggae or Dancehall song you heard?
LS: "Sure, most certainly. It was a song from my first mentor, Wolves and Leopards by the Prince of Reggae, Dennis Emmanuel Brown."
Q) Favorite memory thus far?
LS: "My favorite memory thus far scrolled back in time to March 27th, 1988, the day I made history when I was signed to Atlantic Records as the first Dancehall Artiste to the major label thus opening up the doors for several other dancehall artistes shortly thereafter."
Q) Who are some of your favorite artistes right now?
LS: "Little Meekie, Ricky Stereo, Million Stylez, Agent Sasco, Fantan Mojah, Lukie D, Jimmy Cliff and Morgan Heritage"
Q) What does Reggae Music mean to you?
LS: "Assignment, Mission and Vision. It means Love, Peace and Righteousness."
Q) Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got involved in Dancehall/Reggae?
LS: "I started on the Sunday School choir in Church, then moved on to representing my Primary then High School in various singing competitions, where I won several awards. I then heard Reggae Icon, Dennis Brown and started imitating singing like him. Then I heard two of Dancehall's legends, Brigadier Jerry and Rankin Joe.and was mesmerized by them and embraced them as my mentors and developed my own style. Here I am currently, still working hard, but smartly at sharing the message of love, peace and righteousness on the pages of Reggae and Dancehall Music globally."
Described as the LEXICON of Reggae and Dance Hall Music, when it comes to writing lyrics, this gifted lyrical genius, with a superb and unique style combined with a powerful delivery that made his music stood up to the harshest of critics, Cleve “Lt. Stitchie” Laing, has been transformed from being one of dancehall’s most acclaimed icon into the Ambassador for Christ and his amazing abilities only get better by the minute.
Conferred with an Honorary Doctorate Degree, ordained as a Minister of the Truth, a Psalmist and a born-again Kingdom Citizen whose huge catalog and repertoire is totally dedicated to the manifestation of his new assignment, the Governor, like the great Reggae Ambassadors before him and the great characters of the bible, pursues his mandate with even a greater passion and unrelenting devotion, than in the days when he became king of the dancehall on Stereo One sound system as Lt. Stitchie, The Governor.
The former high school teacher of Physical Education and Biology who graduated from G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport was destined to teach valuable lessons in the school of life. Though no longer functions in the formal setting of a High School, Lt. Stitchie has expanded his student population to include the globe and his serious messages of love through his music and literary skills from his Government’s manifesto has gone viral to include his personal appearances on the Continents of North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Africa, with Australia and Antartica yet to come.
His transformation was the culmination of two years spent in quiet reflection on his purpose in life and contemplating eternity, shortly after the death of his beloved mother.
It was following on a near-death car crash on the way to perform at Reggae Sumfest in August 1997 and the receipt of a Gideon New Testament Bible from a Canadian Missionary the very night that Lt. Stitchie, on returning to his hotel, read the Bible, prayed, asked for forgiveness of his sins and accepted JESHUA HAMACHIACH as his King and Saviour.
Now comfortably preaching the message of the Kingdom and teaching about the King, Lt. Stitchie since his watery baptism on December 14, 1997, has witnessed the mighty power of YAHWEH in his career and in every other area of his life and has seen his boundaries enlargened. Divinely inspired by JAH and motivated by his zeal and innate determination to excel, Lt. Stitchie has once again demonstrated his versatility and creativity as an Author.
Since his rise to fame in the late 1980’s, he has been touring extensively as a headliner at various Reggae Music Festivals and Concerts globally and this only intensified when he made the transition to a new life.
Although not one to revel in awards and take any praise unto himself, nevertheless, the excellence of this living Reggae and Dance Hall Legend, Reggae icon and Ambassador for Christ has been recognized nationally and internationally since the release of his very first Album, “Wear Yu Size”, by various awarding bodies too numerous to start naming.
Easily and undoubtedly one of the most sort after Artiste in the genre of reggae and dancehall. The requests for Reggae Music Festivals, Gospel Music Festivals and Concerts from the church halls to the dance halls are even at a much higher volume now than ever before. Lt. Stitchie has a reputation for being an explosive, electrifying and high energy performer, who continues this high voltage trend of upward mobility of excellence, with each Album he releases and each time he makes an appearance in front of an audience on stage. Lt. Stitchie is credited as an eloquent and didactic speaker, simultaneously, an avid student of the WORD. Consequently, his requests for speaking engagements, from motivational to guest speaker, are in very high demand. His excellent stage craft combined with an effective Kingdom message has earned thousands of renewed lives for the Kingdom.
Lt. Stitchie proclaim that one of the main concerns is to walk according to the principles of the Kingdom that will be an example to others, especially his former neighbors in the garrison of the inner city communities where he grew up, to his fellow dancehall colleagues and whomever he encounters on his journey of life.
This trendsetter, who is credited in the analogs of history of Reggae Music in Germany, as the first to bring dancehall music to Germany and Europe as a whole, who is inscribed on the pages of the Guinness Book of Records of who`s who in Reggae Music, who is inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame in New York and was awarded an Iconic Award by The Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA) for his outstanding continuous contribution to the development of Reggae Music globally, continues to set a blistering pace and has raised the bar in Reggae/Dancehall Gospel Music a thousand feet higher, simultaneously, reinforcing in Reggae and Dancehall Music, as a whole, why there is only one “Lt. Stitchie, THE GOVERNOR” with each Single and Album he releases.
Lt. Stitchie has also pioneered a completely new path in the history of Reggae Music, by becoming the first Reggae Artiste to write and publish a Book entitled, “The Power Of Determination”, his Autobiography, which can be downloaded along with his complete anthology from digital stores globally.