Reggae acts come and go but not this one. Lion DC, founding member of the band Royalty By Black talks to XACCESS about the long road the reggae outfit has taken to achieve its form and the distinct vision Royalty By Black has in an industry starving for its next great act.
How did you get started in the industry?
Royalty By Black started out between 2013 and 2014. We met at Sauti Academy and at first we were 3 members in the band. A little while later one of the members left, then another member left and that continued until I was the only one still standing. So now I run Royalty By Black. We do conscious reggae music, music for the people and the society.
After the old members left how you did find the new ones?
It was a transformation to be honest. I had to keep the focus on the vision and mission that I had for the band. I had a lot of challenges during that time in getting new people who I could relate and work with but with time I met some good guys along the way.
What message do you try to pass with your music?
My message is to empower black people and that’s why the band is called Royalty By Black. African people have been through many struggles and we are still going through so many problems trying to find ourselves and our place in this new world. There’s a lot of things we haven’t been educated about ourselves, in school we are taught things that are separate from our identity. And so Royalty By Black’s mission is to remind Africans that they are also royal, being an African makes you royal. Africans are the band’s first priority.
Where does your primary inspiration come from while making music?
Daily life experiences, just talking about people, observation and the environment. Listening to other people’s music also helps.
What sort of music do you listen to?
Strictly reggae music! Reggae when I wake up in the morning, reggae when I go to sleep. Sometimes when I want to relax I might listen to soul music, but I’m a reggae-head.
Which artistes have influenced your music?
I grew up listening to reggae from my family and the people around me. Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, The Wailers; those are the people I’ve been listening to consistently because of their message and the whole Africa vibe they had. They kept on mentioning Africa in their songs and back then I didn’t understand but now I do.
Do you listen to dancehall music?
Dancehall music is really corrupted, there are some people who just want to confuse the youth. There’s no message and the lyrics are messy so I don’t really listen to dancehall. Some of the things the musicians sing about, I can’t encourage the youth to listen to.
What’s the band working on right now?
Right now we are putting an album together although it’s more of an EP. We are still listening to the songs and working on the vibe of the album, figuring out what we want to achieve with it. But ‘Pressure’ our single is out right now.
What would you has been the most challenging part?
Music is a business and it reaches a point where you have to invest in your music to take it further. So starting out without a label is a challenge. We also meet a lot of people who are not serious and want to waste your time and use you but you just deal with it because you have a vision and know what you want to achieve.
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