U-ROY the teacher godfather of dj bizniz
What would the modern deejay be without U-Roy? It’s hard to imagine.
Back in the 1960s, deejays or toasters were fillers for singers at dances. True, Count Matchukie and King Stitt called the shots in the early days, but U-Roy was the first to consistently attract a mainstream following.
The songs that did the trick were Wake The Town (And Tell The People) and W ear You To The Ball (with John Holt). Both were produced by Duke Reid.
That opened the door for work with other top producers like Bunny Lee and Lloyd “The Matador” Daley. U-Roy’s toast to hit songs like The Wailers’ Soul Rebel made him a star.
Perhaps his biggest hit was the hilarious Tom Drunk, done with Hopeton Lewis. This was another Reid production.
“Daddy Roy” is also a mentor. Big Youth, Dillinger and Trinity, who flourished during the 1970s, have cited him as a big influence.
For over 40 years, U-Roy has operated the Stur Gav sound system which gave a number of artistes their break, especially during its heyday of the 1980s. Josey Wales, Charlie Chaplin, Super Cat, Brigadier Jerry, and Early B are some of the acts who made their names on that ‘sound’.
At 74 U-Roy is doing the live show circuit and recording with younger acts. Last year Nah Complain, his song with Canada-based deejay Kafinal, won a Juno Award for Reggae Recording Of The Year.