Luciano performing in 2007
|Birth name||Jepther McClymont|
|Also known as||The Messenger, Jah Messenger|
|Born||20 October 1964|
|Labels||RAS Records, Xterminator, VP Records|
|Associated acts||Dean Fraser, Firehouse Crew|
Luciano began recording in 1992, with his first single "Ebony & Ivory" on the Aquarius Record label, followed by his debut album Moving Up for RAS records in 1993. Luciano is the seventh of nine children and was born to extremely spiritual and musical parents while growing up in Davyton, a small district in the central parish of Manchester, Jamaica.
After voicing several covers for the producer Sky High, Luciano released "Give My Love A Try," which was produced at Castro Brown's New Name Studio and was a hit in Jamaica. It was there that Luciano met international reggae superstar Freddie McGregor. Joining McGregor's Big Ship production company, Luciano began creating cultural, conscious reggae that reflected his religious and social concerns. Again in 1993, Luciano scored a #1 UK reggae hit with the song "Shake It Up Tonight" but Luciano says, "I didn't see myself going in that pattern, singing love songs, dressed in a felt hat, looking smooth. It looked very splashy."
Luciano rose to prominence in the mid-1990s, at the height of the "Rasta Renaissance" in dancehall music, beginning with the album One Way Ticket in 1994. The renewal of Rastafarian influence into dancehall music in the early 1990s had begun with artists such as Tony Rebel and Garnett Silk. After Silk's death in late 1994, many looked to Luciano to continue consciousness in reggae music. Of Garnett Silk, he stated "Garnett was more like a brother, a father, a tutor, a forerunner. When he moved on I knew the work for me became harder still."
He had by then joined producer Phillip "Fattis" Burrell and his Xterminator label, after New Name and Big Ship failed to release albums of his material. The following year brought the smash hit album Where There Is Life for Chris Blackwell's major label Island Jamaica. It contained such hits as "It's Me Again Jah", "Who Could It Be", as well the title track. He recorded a second album for Island Jamaica in 1997 entitled Messenger, whose title track earned him his enduring nickname.
The majority of his recording in the mid-to-late 1990s was for Burrell and the Xterminator label, which by that time included such artists as Sizzla, Mikey General and Firehouse Crew, as well as recordings from Capleton and Cocoa Tea. Along with the work on the two albums for Island Jamaica, the majority of Luciano hits produced by Burrell were featured on 1999's Sweep Over My Soul. Burrell and Luciano parted ways in 1999.
By 2001, Luciano had released two live albums as well as two compilation albums alongside Sizzla and Anthony B after the split with Xterminator. That year saw the release of two new albums of material, Great Controversy on Jet Star and A New Day on VP Records. The latter received a nomination for Best Reggae Album at the 2002 Grammy Awards, and was executive produced by longtime saxophonist and touring partner Dean Fraser. The album received additional production from Sly & Robbie and was backed by Fraser and the Firehouse Crew.
Fraser continued to produce many of Luciano's albums throughout the decade, including 2008's Jah Is My Navigator. In 2010, he released United States of Africa. While the previous album had focused mostly on God, Africa dealt with global events. Of this, Luciano stated, "We're not just singing about Zion and all those glorious dreams. We're also dealing with issues that affect the people, their very minds."
Luciano is a devout Rastafarian, whose lyrics promote consciousness and eschew slackness, or vulgarity, which is often prominent in reggae and dancehall music. He has criticized other Rastafarian reggae artists who record slackness material, describing them as having lost focus. The singer himself has sometimes been criticized for the reading of Biblical verses prior to performances, which has been described as inappropriate.
The singer is also an activist in the promotion of ganja, or marijuana, stating: "I'm not fighting for the decriminalisation of ganja, because it was never a criminal. My fight is to enlighten the people of the cannabis and let them know of the herbal properties and the benefits we can achieve from it."
In 2009, Luciano was charged by Jamaican police for harboring a fugitive who reportedly shot three officers before hiding at the singer's residence. After a stand-off on the property, the gunman was killed by police. He was denied entry to the United States later that year after his US visa was cancelled, but his management team denied any relation of the cancelled visa to the charges in Jamaica. On 11 March 2011, all charges related to the incident were dropped against Luciano by prosecutors of the case.
In 2010, Luciano was reportedly given a tract of land for residence in the Gambia at the bequest of President Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh. The singer first performed in the country in 2001, and has stated his preference for eventually residing in Africa.
- Moving Up, (1993)
- One Way Ticket, (1994)
- After All, (1995)
- Where There Is Life, (1995)
- Messenger, (1997)
- Sweep Over My Soul, (1999)
- Live, (2000)
- A New Day, (2001)
- Great Controversy, (2001)
- Serve Jah, (2003)
- Visions, (2003)
- Serious Times, (2004)
- Jah Words, (2005)
- Child of a King, (2006)
- God Is Greater than Man, (2007)
- Jah Is My Navigator, (2008)
- United States of Africa, (2010)
- Write My Name, (2010)
- Rub-A-Dub Market, (2011)
- The Qabalah Man (2013), VPAL
- Luciano gets started. Jamaica Star. 11 October 2004. Retrieved 2011-4-7.
- Campbell, Howard. Luciano charts New territory. Jamaica Gleaner. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 2011-4-6.
- O'Brien Chang, Kevin; Chen, Wayne. Reggae Routes. Philadelphia:Temple University, 1998. pp.207 ISBN 1-56639-629-8.
- Luciano to speak at International Men's Day function. Jamaica Gleaner. 19 November 2001. Retrieved 2011-4-6.
- Van Pelt, Carter. Luciano Interview. inetnebr.com. 1999. Retrieved 2011-3-26.
- Moody, Shelah. Spotlight On Luciano. Reggae Review. 2001. Retrieved 2011-4-7.
- Taylor, Angus (7 September 2010). "Interview: Luciano". UnitedReggae.com. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- [dead link]
- "Luciano Overcomes", Jamaica Observer, 6 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013
- "Album Review: Luciano - Qabalah Man", Reggaeville.com, 29 November 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2014
- Williams, Leighton. Luciano defends ganja, serves Jah. Jamaica Gleaner. 6 April 2003.
- Jamaica's Luciano charged with harboring fugitive. USAToday via AP. 31 March 2009. Retrieved 2011-4-5.
- Henry, Krista. Luciano denied entry in US . Jamaica Star. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 2011-4-5.
- Case again Luciano withdrawn. RJR News. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 2011-4-5.
- Luciano gets house and land in Gambia. Dancehallreggaeworld.com. Retrieved 2011-4-5.
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