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“Freddie McGregor Day!” Reggae Artist Honoured In Hartford, Connecticut – DancehallMag

Rebel Nation | August 19, 2021


Grammy-nominated reggae artist Freddie McGregor OD received yet another accolade when August 14, 2021 was formally recognized by the city of Hartford in Connecticut as Freddie McGregor Day.

“I just give thanks, mi just a do what mi a do, a lot of things like this have happened over the years, but to me, it is just another day, I am just a soldier doing what I have to do but I am thankful for a Freddie McGregor Day in Hartford, it’s a big deal, I am going to be doing Hartford next year to celebrate my day,” Freddie McGregor told DancehallMag, while sitting in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza hotel in JFK airport in New York.

“It means more than money to me. I am just moving on and continuing the work. People recognized that I’ve done my work and people love Freddie. They decided that it was deserving and anything that my fans bestow is highly appreciated. I appreciate every single one of these accolades and I’m grateful to all my fans in Jamaica, the Caribbean and Diaspora,” he continued.

The hardworking McGregor will be catching a trans-Atlantic flight to the UK in a few hours to perform on a show with David Rodigan and the Outlook Orchestra on Sunday, August 22.

“That show is going to be massive, 14,000 tickets sold so far, and by the time Sunday rolls around, it could be 20,000,” he said.

After commemorating his day in Hartford, Connecticut, Freddie McGregor wowed a huge show with thousands of patrons at a town called Surfside, Massachusettes.

“Oh that show was excellent, Kenyans, Ethiopians came out in their numbers for the show, such is the power of the Almighty. I have a great relationship with the Kenyan people, the last time I went to Kenya in 2018, I spent three hours in the pouring rain, dem nah move and mi nah move…nobody move, nobody got hurt. Wherever I go in the US, the Kenyans follow, I never see a set of people love me so, and is just the work. People are demanding I go back to Kenya, the promoter is trying to bring me back for December, any chance I get to live in Kenya, I would take it cause Nairobi is really nice,” Freddie said.

The Big Ship singer also took the opportunity to mark the passing of his close friend and musical director Dalton Browne.

“Today is Dalton Browne birthday. Normally me and him would have been in Connecticut together, so that day is for me and him,” he said.

Dalton Browne, 64, suffered a massive heart attack on October 25 last year and was rushed to Andrews Memorial Hospital in St Andrew. He was later transferred to the UHWI for quadruple bypass surgery but succumbed on November 2, 2020 while still recovering.

McGregor is a Jamaican singer, record producer and musician non pareil in the history of Jamaican music. He began his music career when he was just seven years old, when he was known as ‘Little Freddie’, and since that time, he has evolved into the ‘Big Ship Captain’ making significant contributions to reggae music over a period of six decades.

The gifted artist, born in Clarendon on June 27, 1956, joined with Ernest Wilson and Peter Austin to form The Clarendonians in 1963, and began to record for the Studio One label.

McGregor worked with producer Niney the Observer during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and in the same period was part of a seminal period of Jamaican music with the resurgence of Studio One.

In his early years, Freddie was influenced by legends Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Bob Andy, and many others. McGregor converted to Rastafari in 1975, and in the mid-seventies, Freddie’s music reflected strong socially conscious messaging with tunes like Mark of the Beast, I Am A Rasta, and the popular Bobby Babylon, the title track for a Studio One album in 1979.

Other popular hits include his signature “Big Ship” which propelled him to superstar status in 1982, followed by “Push Comes to Shove”, “I Was Born a Winner”, a cover of the American soul classic, “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” which was a top ten hit in the UK, and “That Girl (Groovy Situation)” which peaked at number 47 on the UK Charts.

He established the Big Ship label in 1983, and produced many artists including Papa San, Lieutenant Stitchie, Tiger, Luciano, Mikey Spice and he helped to propel his children, Stephen ‘Di Genius’, Daniel, Yeshemabeth , and Zosia into the competitive music business. He secured a licensing agreement with RAS Records in the US and released the critically acclaimed album, Come on Over in 1983.

McGregor built a reputation as a tireless performer, and he has toured extensively for many years, bringing his unique brand of reggae music to every corner of the globe. McGregor’s output did not slow down in the 2000s with landmark albums such as Signature and Anything for You, which was nominated for a Reggae Grammy in 2002.

An avid businessman, McGregor has consistently given back to the reggae community, producing various events such as the Big Ship Music Fest that supports emerging talent in reggae music, education, and local minority businesses. The Big Ship Captain became an elder statesman of reggae music, dedicating his life to supporting the reggae community, even serving as Chairman of Jamaica Reggae Industry Board in 2009. He was conferred with the Order of Distinction in 2003 for his contribution to music, and he received a Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute of Caribbean Studies in 2013.

He was given a Musgrave Award for his contribution to music in 2017, and honored as an Apollo Living Legend at Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater Salute in New York.

To date, Freddie has completed over 40 albums and headlined numerous international concerts at venues all over the world.

In 2020, he entered the Jamaica Festival Song Contest to help stoke renewed interest in the revered annual contest.

The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport also gave him a citation for his work in entertainment on August 6th, 2021.

McGregor said he owes his success to his tireless work ethic.

“When I perform, is the full hundred I give every time. I don’t even realize the impact, but I am just doing it for people, I just give thanks. God is great, bless up Jamaica, Caribbean and the Diaspora, we’re in turbulent times, but we pray for health, freedom and justice for our people,” he said.

In closing he asked Jamaicans to be remain calm in the difficult days which lie ahead as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on with endless debates about vaccines and disease.

“I am reminding Jamiacan people that we are so blessed, we just don’t realize it, but recognize what is going in other Caribbean islands, and don’t allow yourselves to be trampled on, I am hoping that the Jamaican government doesn’t do anything that will cause the Jamaican people to rise up against them, but we are calling for peace, love, unity and sensibility in this time,” he said.

Written by Rebel Nation

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