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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Arts + Action | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism
Junior Toots On DreadStarRadio Segment KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, CA
Junior Toots elaborates on his music and the conciousness of reggae music; on being a Son of a Legend, and global justice.
Junior Toots, born Clayton Anthony Hibbert, began singing as a youth in his hometown church. As his father toured extensively, young Clayton lived with his grandparents in the mystical mountains of Jamaica's countryside parish St. Mary. As he grew older, he ventured into Kingston to take up residence with his father, living legend Toots Hibbert, of the Toots & The Maytals. While in Kingston, he was witness to the harsh realities of city survival.
After experiencing the daylong rehearsals of his father’s band, the Maytals, young Junior Toots was struck with an insatiable longing to entertain people. Already beginning to develop his voice, his attendance at these rehearsals provided him with a living classroom only few musicians can say they have attended. In High School, Junior Toots migrated to the United States to live with his mother. Other skills he developed were running track and dance/choreography. He appeared regularly on MTV.
Vocally, Junior Toots worked on both his rapping & singing skills, releasing his first single "Praise Jah" (in 1989). Four EP's soon followed including: "Harder and Harder," "Dangerous Living," "Poor People Feel It," and "Nothing to Gain." In 1997, Junior Toots recorded with Everton Blender, Mikey Spice and Jack Radics on the acclaimed "Reggae Mood Swingz" compilation. He went on to win NYC's FM92.3 (The Beat) Home Jams, which gave him the opportunity to open for Biggie Smalls. From 1997 until 2004, Junior Toots toured with Toots and the Maytals, opening shows with his "Holding Firm," "Jah Give Us Victory," and other tunes. He continued touring on and off with Toots and the Maytals, as well as working on compilations with various musicians in California and recording Reggae/Hip Hop singles with Toots in Jamaica.
After years of touring, Junior Toots decided to take time to develop and define his own style and launch his solo career. This began with the album "Living Roots" in 2006, which introduces his powerful roots message of righteousness and goodness with upbeat dancehall style original rhythms. The same year, he released the single “Dangerous” with Northern California Hip Hop/Reggae artist Wisdom, which blew up on the underground scene, and the single “Jah is Real,” which went number one on many stations including KLRN in Miami, Florida.
Intent on taking his career to the next level, Junior Toots established his own independent record label, Crown of Fire Records, on which he released the album "Crown of Fire." For a couple of years he toured on the West Coast & worked on the next album, "Reggae Got Soul," which was written for Black History Month and includes singles “Herbsman,” “Keep Jah by Your Side,” and “Reggae Got Soul.” Although the album was finished in 2008, it was not released until 2010.
After years of training and then finding his own artistic expression, Junior Toots has now released his latest (and perhaps greatest) album: “A Little Bit of Love” in March of 2012. This album sets into motion the upful message so many are searching for & delivers this positive light with high tempo, conscious, roots Reggae, Ska, and R&B - all together in one package. The music of Junior Toots makes you want to dance, move, be aware, think, and do well for others at the same time.
"Reggae music & music business in general was impacted by the recession. So I was inspired more than ever to reincarnate the spirit & the feeling of good Reggae music and up-tempo Ska and to include lots of crowd participation at live performances. My father's contribution to Reggae music has been a great inspiration. I want to be an inspiration for the next generation of Hibberts." - Junior Toots