Cocoa Tea is one of reggae’s most talented and versatile artistes. His smooth, easy-going vocal presentation have become his trademark, earning him wide international acclaim, with songs like Lost My Sonia, Tune In and Rocking Dolly, becoming world anthems in Reggae land.
Admired and respected for his fine conscious recordings, Cocoa Tea is also known for his unwavering generosity and kindness for the less fortunate. Born Calvin George Scott on September 3, 1959, in Rocky Point, Clarendon he was later schooled at the Savannah Primary school in Rocky Point and the Bustamante Junior Secondary School in Lionel Town, Clarendon.
From the exposure gained by singing on church and school choirs, Cocoa Tea recorded his first song, Searching In The Hills in 1974. Only fourteen years- old and having other interests, Calvin had no plans of making music his career. Searching In The Hills, was far from a financial success. The disappointment was keenly felt by Calvin, and so he took the music business off his mind for a while.
The next five years found the artist first as a jockey, and then as a fisherman. It was during this time of fishing that he began structuring his music career. His training grounds were the dancehalls, where he would test his lyrics on the various sound systems that came to play in his area. His success in the dancehalls strengthened his purpose and encouraged him to go further, so he began writing songs and training his voice. The final push came when his first child was born. His need for a steady livelihood plunged him into music full time.
Two months after an impressive performance at a dancehall in December 83, Cocoa Tea journeyed to Kingston where he met Henry “Junjo” Lawes. Who’s The Champion and his first big hit, Rocking Dolly, were the first products from what was to be a successful union. These songs along with Christmas Is Coming, and On Top Of The World, were all compiled with Cocoa Tea’s next big hit, I Lost My Sonia to produce his first album under that name.
In 1985, the singer accepted the Rastafarian faith. The conversion was reflected in his music, with songs like Settle Down, Don’t Be Shy, Too Much Fussing And Fighting and Tune In, Crying Time, Must Unite and Come Again, which he recorded for King Jammy’s, on his fourth album titled Settle Down (the others being Mr. Cocoa Tea and Come Again). The single Rikers Island, made it to number one in the United States and the U.K. and an album of the same name, his fifth, was to follow.
Cocoa Tea’s sixth album called Authorized, including the hit One Away Woman was released on Junjo Lawes reactivated Volcano label in the 90’s.
Cocoa Tea has been performing all over the world since 1984, with extensive tours to the U.S., Canada, europe the Caribbean and Japan. Locally he remains a regular on all major concerts and has appeared on reggae’s legendary premiere event, Reggae Sunsplash every year since 1987, except in 1989.
The singer earned his stage name, because of his love for… hot chocolate (or “cocoa tea”, as it is called in rural Jamaica). His aim was to become a role model, a source of learning and inspiration- like the great Bob Marley, whom he so admires. As he puts it, “There is a lack of consciousness from what it used to be, it’s (the music) is becoming what it is not be.” ‘If one of my songs can be remembered and or quoted, and be of inspiration or guidance to anyone, then I shall be forever happy with my contribution musically.”
*Cocoa Tea will be live in Montreal at the 12th Edition of the Montreal International Reggae Festival to be held at the Old Port August 14-16 2015. Visit www.montrealreggaefest.com for more information.