Trust Khosa, Assistant News Editor
US BASED reggae crooner and producer, King Isaac – real name Isaac Kalumbu – reckons Jamaica has become his second home.
The affable Michigan University (Ethnomusicology) lecturer and administrator says he has been alternating between his base and Kingstone, Jamaica.
If it’s not about music recordings, the 54-year-old would be teaching at West Indies University Campus where he is a darling of many international students.
In all his endeavours, King Isaac says he won’t stop promoting Zimbabwean music in both the Caribbean Islands and the US.
King Isaac, who is back home on vacation, has vowed to share some of his experiences with H-Metro in his quest to inspire local artistes.
And being one of the finest crooners to have taken Zim Reggae abroad by storm since Independence, King Isaac reckons he has plenty to offer.
- JAMAICA LOVE
King Isaac, whose romance with Jamaican artistes grew when he met the late Gregory Isaacs in 2004 for a collaboration, now considers the Caribbean Islands as his second home.
“I first met Gregory Isaac in 2004 and we sat in the studio for a collaboration.
“When I visited him, I only wanted to do one track but he told me that we could do a full album.
“I was surprised when he agreed that we work on a full album because I had told him that I can’t afford to pay him.
“I learnt a lot from him during our first meeting. Isaacs helped a lot of people and he shared his wealth.
“One of the things I learnt from him was that he was professional and he didn’t cut corners,” he said.
King Isaacs said his love for Jamaica grew when the late Gregory Isaacs tasked him to write all songs on the album Isaacs Meet Isaac which was nominated for the Grammys.
“It was fantastic working with him, he was very philosophical and a music genius
“It was such an honour working with him and when we meet for the first time, we just clicked
“I’m actually the one who wrote all the songs on the album and when I gave him the script we just flowed,” he said.
After the Isaacs ‘romance’, King Isaacs has gone further and roped in Chaka Demus on his forth-coming album African Pearl (King Isaac Coat of Many Colours Volume 2) which is still under production.
“I have something new in the studio which I ded with Chaka Demus.
“As you know Chaka Demus is one of the popular DJs in Jamaica and it was a marvel working with him in the studio,” he said.
Despite winning hearts of Jamaican artistes, King Isaacs is also adored in Botswana.
The singer has since roped in Motswana artiste Kearoma Rantao on two songs – African Pearl and Ndada Iwewe.
“I have been working with Rantao and we have since recorded two songs.
“It was an exciting experience and we are now working on the visuals of the songs.
“These are some of the efforts I am doing to promote the musical influences,” he said.
- ZIM LOVE
King Isaacs, who returns to his base on Friday, said he has always loved catching up with locals back home.
During his stint, he has been busy at Monolio Studios putting together a new album.
He has created a clique with Mono Mukundu and Dereck Mpofu.
Recording in three countries – Jamaica, USA and Zimbabwe – King Isaac’s was also promoting his King Isaac Coat of Many Colours which was initially launched in the US.
He held a number of radio interviews promoting it on home soil.
The album carries 10 tracks of superior quality namely Machema Muroora, Singing Glory, Chenai, Zveupenyu, I know, Nyimai Satan, Sandinyore, Celebration and the title track Makuwerere.
Celebrated Jamaican producer Leroy Sibbles and former Monolio Studios’ boss Mono and King Isaac are the three producers behind this project.
Despite his musical influences, indicated that he remains a reggae artiste.
“I still remain a reggae artistes but in this album is a reflection of the music I grew up listening to.
“There is reggae, funky , Afro jazz, RnB and dub in this album,” he said.
The Michigan based crooner, who was the first Grammy nominated artiste, said he still cherishes the honour.
“I was the first Zimbabwean artistes to be nominated for the Grammys in 2010 when our album Isaac Meets Isaac, which I collaborated with Gregory
The affable crooner also gave his thought on collaborations with local artistes.
“As for collaborations, it should be about the song and not just association.
“If the songs suits my tastes and I fit in, I will certainly do one.
“I still insists that collaborations should make sense and thinking that way will be great.”
Like the proverbial prophet who has no owner in his homeland, King Isaac feels he is now big internationally as compared home.
“Whenever I get a chance to perform internationally (especially America), people really appreciate my music.
“It’s great music especially internationally and my main strength is my voice and songwriting.”
Besides Makuwerere, other albums which makes his discography complete comprise King Isaac, Munokokwa Mese, and Legends of Reggae presents King Isaac, Isaac Meets Isaac and Let Her Go.