Jah Swing’s first exposure to music was the rich cultural music from the Island of Jamaica where he was born. But while there, he was also exposed to American pop music created by groups such as The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Swing also remembers hearing country music. He liked music as a child, but to actually play it wasn’t something that he thought about or sought to be able to do. He actually aspired to be a photographer and spent a lot of time looking at the world with an artistic eye – looking for the right shot. When he came to America, in school he continued to be very involved with photography and continued to develop his talent. He was an active member in the school photography club and he worked on projects.
Playing music became a part of his life when he was in junior high school. The teacher told the students that anyone that wanted to learn how to play guitar could take lessons. “Yeah, why not?" Little did Jah Swing know what he was opening himself up to…he was at the beginning of what would become his life’s mission, his life’s plan.
Learning how to play guitar kept him off the streets and kept him out of trouble. Soon, this past-time began to consume him and he began changing. He began to listen to music differently as the process of understanding how to actually play it took place inside of him. He learned how to play guitar well and continued with lessons. Eventually he joined his first band, “Clement Paddyfoote," a collection of high school reggae musicians. From that point on, playing music became more than a fun thing to do that “kept him off the streets", it became a necessity – an essential part of his life.
Eventually, he moved on to and through other groups, and developed a talent and a taste for diverse styles. The Little Sport Review, Sounds of the North End, Star Dust, Rhythm Force, Sledge, and House Hold Name, each different group allowed him to cover the spectrum from R&B to jazz to reggae.
Jah Swing’s tastes in music are still diverse. Not only is he a member of the powerful reggae band Crucial Massive, but he also performs free lance work with jazz groups such as The Lance James Project and Saxcetric. His musical inspirations are guitarists Carlos Santana, Stanley Clarke and Bob Marley. Third World is on his top of his favorite bands list.
Swing’s written a number of original songs, which he plans to record in the future. He wants his music to be heard around the world. The influences of reggae, jazz, and pop flow through his special sound when he composes music. And since because his original tunes don’t conform to one specific style, he hopes to reach a wide audience.
“Music is important, it is my being." says the man who once thought he’d become a professional photographer.
Jah Swing still looks at the world with an artistic eye – but now one that is focused on music and spreading music and the good vibes of music. He hopes to travel the world as a professional musician and meet all different kinds of people. “I am like a caged lion waiting to be released."
We look forward to the release of the lion!.