Reggae artist JonQuan joins forces with Kelly Di Filippo, lead vocalist for D.C.-based reggae outfit The Loving Paupers, to release “I Am Trying,” a track lifted from the upcoming album, Easy Star Presents: JonQuan & Associates, slated to drop in April 2022.
Talking about the song, JonQuan shares, “Only one voice sounds like Kelly Di Filippo’s voice, and that’s Kelly’s. Soft, seductive, passionate, and clear. The second I had this riddim completed I knew she was the voice for it. Knowing Kelly from hangs with The Loving Paupers, it was a breeze fitting her into the project. The way she effortlessly projects her lyrics gets me every time. She’s such a boss.”
Known as the frontman, songwriter, and keyboardist for Buddha Council and as a touring member of the Pietasters, the pandemic allowed JonQuan time and space to fashion his own music.
JonQuan explains, I “was inspired over the pandemic to create my own original riddims to cure the boredom and woes of being off stage and locked down.”
He goes on, adding, “This is my first project where I produced the riddims myself. I wanted to leave the door open for the players of all other instruments for maximum creative input but within certain parameters. I personally chose who I wanted to play what instrument on what song. I’m most accustomed to live-writing with a band while feeling for a groove.”
When the riddims were finished, he began recruiting stellar vocalists for the project, including Sammy Dread, Vernon Maytone, JonnyGo Figure, and Kelly Di Filippo.
“I Am Trying” opens on a low-slung rhythm topped by gentle, lustrous reggae coloration as Kelly’s deliciously creamy and dreamy voice imbues the lyrics with soft, warm timbres. Nuanced, glowing harmonies add depth and dimension, while a fat bassline rumbles underneath sparkling piano tones.
The feel and mood of “I Am Trying” are simultaneously tropical, plush, and silky-smooth.