There has been a recent resurgence of dancehall reggae music and Wayne Wonder is ready to lead the pack.
The steady drums and smooth vocals of Wonder’s hit “No Letting Go” stands out from the jams of crossover Jamaican rappers like Sean Paul and Beannie Man.
Reaction from the clubs has been so positive people literally clap along to the song’s steady snare hits.
“I don’t have to ask them to clap, they just do it naturally,” said the Buff Bay, Jamaica native. “That’s the original ‘make it clap.'”
While Wonder may sound like the next big thing, the 30 year old has been making hits since the late ’80s.
But the love for “No Letting Go” has Wonder feeling like his hard work has finally paid off.
“I’ve been doing this for over a decade and to have a song that everybody appreciates and loves is a blessing,” he said.
On his latest full-length album, No Holding Back — which came out last Tuesday — Wonder looks to “represent 90 percent for the ladies.”
But that’s not all.
“I got street stuff, I got stuff to make you dance and stuff to make the thugs sing twice,” he said.
Wonder says the new album is his best work yet, boasting 17 new and original tracks.
His favorites include the longing love anthems “Friend Like Me,” “My Kind of Lady” and “Perfect Proposal,” in which Wonder pops the question to a lucky lady.
Wonder is passionate about the originality and songwriting he has put into his music.
Straying from the cover song route, Wonder has been putting out only original material since 1994.
“My creative juice can get real wild. I get all sorts of crazy ideas,” he said.
An example of such ideas can be heard on “Enemies,” where Wonder duets with his rapper alter ego Surprize.
“Getting a wide understanding of the music made me realize that you have to come original,” said Wonder.
“I had to check myself and think creative, and now those same songs come out and mash up the place now.”
Wonder plans to mash up more places in a world tour soon after the release of his new album.
The tour will hit the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Africa later this year.
With newfound success in the U.S., Wonder has experienced some of the luxuries of more famous singers.
One of these luxuries is the hot, high-budget video for “No Letting Go,” directed by Little X.
Wonder loved the opportunity to participate in the tropical shoot where he is seen cuddling a honey throughout.
“It was easy, and all them girls, man!” exclaimed Wonder.
“I get crazy calls from my friends in Jamaica, they want the number of that girl.”
Wonder has paid his dues and now that the industry has finally shown him love, he hopes to delve further into the American music scene.
Wonder would love to do something with 50 Cent, Missy Elliot, Jay-Z or Timbaland, though no collaborations are currently in the works.
The seasoned veteran plans to continue making original music.
“Even if you don’t like it, I’ll make it for myself,” he said.
Robert Sumner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.