Excuse us while we’re still going absolutely bananas over reggae artist Conkarah’s latest single, “Banana.” It’s a unique spin on the Jamaican classic “Day-o (Banana Boat Song)” most notably featured in Beetlejuice. Don’t worry, no Beetlejuice appears but some really funny shenanigans ensue in his debut music video. We had a chance to chat with this rising artist who is sure to make you feel uplifted or motivated the minute you talk to him. Keep on reading below!
The Young Folks: First things first, let’s kick things off by talking about your name. How did you decide to go by Conkarah? What’s the origin story?
Conkarah: It’s a Jamaicanized spin on the word conqueror. I’ve come across this word many times from songs like Bob Marley (“Duppy Conqueror”) or “Jah Jah See Dem a Come” and it began to resonate deeply, and since then it has become my outlook and approach to life. I aim to conquer every obstacle and accomplish whatever I set my mind to.
TYF: Just by the look of it, you’re an absolutely uplifting/positive person that anyone would be lucky to be around. Where does this all stem from? How do you remain positive even in the hardest moments?
Conkarah: Life is a blessing. You never know who needs a lift or a little cheering up. I’ve been there and just a smile can go a long way. I get many messages from my listeners telling me how my music has helped them through hard times and it is so rewarding to me to know that I actually helped to brighten someone’s day. This music and journey is bigger than me and I am just grateful and fortunate to be able to spread good vibes through my music.
TYF: Your positivity bleeds into your music as well. I’m still dancing to your latest single “Banana.” What’s the story behind the song and how did you end up bringing Shaggy along for the ride?
Conkarah: I just wanted to write a song for everyone to enjoy, a song that immediately makes you feel like you’re on a tropical island right on the beach enjoying your favourite music and cocktail.
TYF: What was that moment like for you knowing you’d have a chance to collab with Shaggy?
Conkarah: I have always been a fan of Shaggy, he is one of my favourite reggae artists. I listened to him throughout high school and college. He made being Jamaican cool so it’s an honour to have him on this record with me. When I heard he was going to be on the track I didn’t believe it at first, but when I heard it and recognized his voice I got goosebumps! Massive respect to him.
TYF: The music video itself was hilarious and seemed like a fun shoot. How did the idea of the music video come to mind? What was it like on set during the day of the shoot?
Conkarah: Well the funny thing is, I was on tour in Australia at the time of the video shoot. My management, Cherrytree Music Company, coordinated with S-Curve Records to arrange for me to shoot my portion on a green screen in Sydney Shaggy shot his part in New York and the office scenes were done in Los Angeles. Overall I think it’s amazing and everyone did a fantastic job! I love the video and I think it fully represents the positive vibration and energy we put behind the song itself.
TYF: While we’ll still be playing “Banana” on repeat on our end, do you have more new music on the way we can look out for?
Conkarah: Most definitely, I feel so inspired! In fact, I just took a break from a writing session to answer these questions. I want to keep making music that makes people happy!
TYF: You’re also known for doing some really great covers. How do you go about approaching the song to make it your own? For example, “Hello” was obviously a completely different direction than what you created and it’s genius!
Conkarah: I usually go to the Billboard Top 10, or if I hear a song new or old and I like it I just do a cover. I like to add my own little spin to the cover, I love the challenge! And thank you, I’m happy you enjoyed the ‘Hello’ cover.
TYF: Reggae music isn’t going away anytime soon but there are still music lovers out there who have yet to dip their toes into the genre. What would be your elevator pitch as to why people should give reggae music a listen?
Conkarah: Reggae music is about love and positivity. I try to introduce non-listeners through by doing reggae covers or popular songs and the comments are usually along the lines of – “I have never listened to reggae music until now and I am hooked!” So everything has a time and a place. I think reggae music hits people when the time and vibration is right!