Chelsea Stewart’s debut album could not have come at a better time. The self-titled project is an eleven track musical map that takes the listener back in time and up to the time. Visiting various styles of music unique to the beautiful island of Jamaica.
This Juno nominated singer-songwriter has given us an album that can be easily defined as a musical history lesson of sorts. Beginning with nyabinghi drumming and dub poetry, moving on to mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, and dancehall. Her album is a musical tribute and a treat, with something for everybody. Speaking on various issues of today and moving us through the many moods of love.
At the albums onset and again in the middle of the album we hear a soothing and sultry voice belonging to Chelsea Stewart’s mom who penned and beautifully delivered two interludes. The first is ‘An Ode To Music’ and the second is called ‘The Connection’. The nyabinghi drumming behind her voice is healing and delightful. The subject matter leaves one thinking about love, sacrifice and hypocrisy.
Reminding us of our days of young love, Chelsea Stewart gushes about her ‘Crush’. She pleads for love in ‘Just Wanna Love You’ and later in the album Chelsea Stewart asks the listener emphatically ‘Do You Love Me?’. Affirming her undying love for her partner in a ska tune that gets you moving entitled ‘Forever Your Girl’. A song written by her co-writing partner and mother, Karen Stewart.
Apologetically, Chelsea sings about the destruction of the environment by humanity, and the importance of caring for it in a song she wrote called ‘Mama Nature’. The album closes with a beautiful love letter to God entitled ‘Glory’.
This mother and daughter writing team is very unique, especially within the reggae music industry.
When asked about the meaning behind the song ‘Lemonade Stand’, the singer/songwriter responds by saying:
“This song is a cry out to God for help, for refreshment. It was written by my mother, in honour of generations of people from various nationalities, who left their homes to distant lands seeking a better life. Only to be disappointed with unfair treatment and various other ‘isms’ that present themselves abroad. Do they continue to fight a losing battle? Do they throw in the towel and retreat to the safety of home? Whatever they decide to do I remind the listener in the song that they’re gonna make it, we’re gonna make it. We are Jamaicans we always pull through. I see that time and time again in the lives of the people around me.”
When we asked Miss Stewart how the title of the album came about, Chelsea tells us:
“I planned on giving my album a different name at first. After talking to Sly Dunbar on numerous occasions while recording the album, I decided to take his advice when he said ‘Chelsea your first album should be named after you’. And so it became a self-titled album.”
This pretty and petite young lady wore many hats during the making of this album. Writer, co-producer, arranger, and creative director.
We wanted to know more about the direction she took as creative director, so we asked Chelsea to tell us more about her vision regarding the album artwork and this is what she told us:
“From the time I was a child, I have always loved rainbows. For my first album I wanted to incorporate that love and a little inspiration from spirituality. The album artwork consists of seven colours that represent each of the seven chakras in our bodies. The album also explores seven genres of music that came out of Jamaica, and there are seven letters in my first and last name. Upon arriving in Jamaica to shoot the videos for the album, we were greeted with a rainbow at the airport. Just as we were finishing up the last video, we saw another rainbow while driving home. After witnessing that, it erased any doubts that I was grappling with, and confirmed my decision to go with the rainbow theme.”
It is good to see young artist working with legendary Jamaican musicians like Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare.
Not to mention the extraordinarily talented Paul ‘Wrong Move’ Crosdale and Franklyn Bubbla’ Waul. Representing Canada was Joseph Graham, Theo Patterson, Odel Johnson, Evan Porter, Nichol Robertson, Danny Maestro, and Renee Brown.
“Chelsea Stewart majestically delivers vocals that are clear and crisp with a concise sound that penetrates your heart and spirit leaving your soul wanting more.” -Carolyn Morris-Walker (Urban Lifestyle Report)
On that we can easily agree.
Chelsea Stewart’s album takes you on a trip down memory lane cruisin’ forward smoothly onto the bustling highways of modern reggae music. Congratulations to you and your team Chelsea Stewart. Your debut album is a well crafted, well written album with beautiful album artwork to match. We are all proud. Your approach and presentation was completely ‘Fresh’! The future looks bright for reggae music and we are proud of this young creative.
Chelsea Stewart’s debut reggae album is available to purchase now on CDBaby, Tidal, Itunes, Spotify, Deezer and all other music platforms.