Naâman bridges the gap with reggae music | Entertainment
French millennial artist NaÃ¢man is helping to reshape the music scene in France. He joined other artists such as Serge Gainsbourg, Bruno Blum, Tonton David, Raggasonic and Lord Kossity. All of them were born in the Western European country and for several decades earned their title as pioneers of reggae music in their sphere, while remaining unknown to the local reggae audience.
NaÃ¢man was born Martin Mussard. His stage name is derived from a Biblical story, “a story of facing your ego and ultimately finding healing,” he shared. NaÃ¢man was a commander of an army in Syria who was cured of leprosy after bathing in the Jordan River.
Although he grew up in a Christian home, with the Bible, “the notion of faith and love did not always resonate in my inner consciousness,” said the French artist who took the biblical name as a nickname professional.
With reggae it was different. âListening to reggae music, that’s when I felt love expressing itself freely. Life took me on a different path despite my curiosity for spiritual growth, and I found that I didn’t need any religion to speak with God, âhe explained.
The singer-songwriter embarked on an adventure of discovery of reggae by recording his first roots album, Back a court, eight years ago in Jamaica at Harry J Studios in Kingston. He continues on a similar trajectory with the release of his second and third albums, Resistance rays and Beyond in 2015 and 2017, respectively. With the latter, he chooses to be completely independent and creates his own label Big Scoop Records.
“I wanted to go to the source of my influences: Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs, Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley and Sizzla, because working on French reggae was not the most pragmatic,” said NaÃ¢man. The gleaner.
Beside the UK, France has a strong local scene, according to NaÃ¢man, but he said, “authentic, roots-rock-reggae is not on the radio as much as it should be played”.
âEvery reggae artist in France has to fend for themselves, and because of that, the only way people would listen to a lot of the music was to turn us around to play. It is growing exponentially as modern artists manage to bridge the gap, âhe continued.
He says in the beginning it was a mixture of hip hop and reggae; his first official single, Skanking shoes, even finds him rapping to a dubstep beat. He collected over 10 million views on YouTube while NaÃ¢man overcame many obstacles. Now the music is inspired by blues, ska, folk and dancehall. He records most of his songs in English but will occasionally include some of his native language.
âBefore you can be what you are meant to be and do what you want to do, there will always be obstaclesâ¦ these obstacles have been my Jordan to face,â he said. âSocial media is where people do most of their criticism, the most usual or the most common, about appearances, but I’ve never had the chance to have a real conversation about it. I am happy to represent reggae; the magic thing about music is that it’s free.
His latest production is It’s time to rebel, released during the first week of September, which he says comes at a “good time.”
âIn France, there has been an ongoing social movement, a lot of violence and police brutality; our minds are overwhelmed by these images, and it approaches the subject from a different angle. This is not about talking about a real revolution, but about reconnecting our minds, hearts and bodies. It’s about stepping back and responding to the system with love and peace, which is especially critical in times of confusion, âhe explained.
After more than 200 live performances across France, UK, Spain and other European countries, as well as Australia, India and China, NaÃ¢man can confidently say that he is winning recognition. international. His most recent big stage performance was in India at the Goa Sunsplash Festival, where Anthony B and Macka B were part of the lineup.
Of course, noting that his daily and seasonal routine has changed since the pandemic, the singer said, âThe majority of my focus is to write music where I can. I wrote a lot of songs during my stay in India because I spent five to six months coming and going. It’s a great mix of culture, of people coming and going, but it doesn’t matter where I am.
He is also working on his next album and is also promoting another compilation of live recorded performances titled A live story, which was done at around 80 gigs.
âIt’s an hour of live music by me. I use my voice to give back to reggae music, and its people, what they gave meâ¦ which is quality, âsaid NaÃ¢man.