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Asante Amen, born Gavin Walters, is a Reggae singer/songwriter. Asante Amen has performed in the United States of America, England, Italy, the Bahamas, Grenada and all across Jamaica. He has graced prestigious stages such as Rebel Salute (JA), The Annual Dennis Brown Tribute (JA), & Irie Jamboree (USA) among many more. However these accomplishments are just the beginning for him as he has his sights set on carrying his music & message all over the world.
Asante has collaborated on tracks with artists such as Lutan Fyah, Jah Thundah, Leaf of Life and Dean Fraser, plus may more. He has also shared the stage with notable Reggae acts such as Luciano, Ken Boothe, Beenie Man, Tarrus Riley, and Kabaka Pyramid to name a few.
In 2011 Asante enjoyed a one month stay on the KDVS 90.3 FM Reggae/African Top 25 album chart in California, USA at the beginning of that year with his EP release: OVER THE YEARS. That same year he released a full length album with the same title. It was a free download digital release, which helped to increase his following and proved to be a major confidence booster for the rising Spiritual Reggae artist. Asante has received attention, both locally and internationally, for songs such as: Only Ras Tafari, Real Revolutionary, Miss Chocolate Brown Skin, Forever Loving JAH & Firm; but the best is yet to come.
For 2016 Asante is just focused on making good music. He is currently putting the final touches on album, that should be released later this year; the title of it being, Chapter. It will contain 12 tracks and will be released by Boom One Records, based in North Carolina, USA. In addition to the album, Asante is also working on a number of other singles and projects, so fans and lovers of good Reggae music can be on the lookout for new music from this talented artist.
Asante is confident that his music is a healing force and he is determined to establish it globally.
Official Website: HighPriestRecords.Weebly.com
IRIE. What was your childhood like growing up in Kingston, Jamaica. Was music an important part of your life?
Asante Amen: Give thanks for this moment. My childhood was a quiet one. I was raised by my grandparents in a community called Meadowbrook, in Kingston. They are Christians and so I grew up being ‘protected from the ways of the world’ as much as they could, and steered towards living a Spiritual life. I was raised as an only child, although I had brothers and sisters and plenty of cousins. And it was because of that type of upbringing that birthed my affinity to music, as it was my company and my best friend; along with my 2 dogs and other childhood games.
IRIE. You are a singer/songwriter. You also play an instrument; the guitar. Why did you choose the guitar?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. Mainly because it is the most popular instrument in our culture. In more recent times however, I have found myself going back to my foundation and relearning how to play the Recorder. As a child, that was the first instrument I was exposed to, but didn’t take it seriously. Now that I am a grown man and able to look back at all the positive lessons or exposures I had growing up, I decided to revisit my ‘musical roots’.
IRIE. What inspired you to pursue reggae music as a profession?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. The urge to deliver Spiritual, Soulful, uplifting as well as Revolutionary messages. I have always felt like I needed to inspire the Most High’s Children to ‘open their eyes’ and stand up for truths and rights. Not to accept anything presented to them but test it, exercising critical analysis. And if the results of that process are inconclusive, to urge them to listen to their Inner Self/Higher Self and be guided by it.
IRIE. How did the name Asante Amen come about and is there any special meaning behind it?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. My name emerged during my process of Self-discovery. I was a member of the U.N.I.A during my teenage and young adult years and the importance of reclaiming my African identity hit home to me. And one of the first steps anyone can take in this process is to assume an African name. So my first name, Asante, arose from my U.N.I.A experience; my last name, Amen, came about as a result of my love for Ancient Egypt.
I used to read up on Ancient Egypt a lot and the Spiritual perspectives of that culture. Out of that process I fell in love with the name Amen and decided to make it my last name.
Asante is Swahili and means Thanks; Amen in Egyptian consciousness means Unseen. So when you put the two words together you get the meaning ‘Thanks Unseen’. Considering that I see God as a Spiritual Entity, it became apparent to me that it was the Most High that gave me this name and not me myself. So I take great pride in the name Asante Amen.
IRIE. Who are some of your musical influences and where do you find inspiration in your songwriting?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. My main musical influences are: Garnet Silk, Tupac Shakur, Jacob Miller, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley. More broadly, I love 90’s RnB, a lot of the modern Reggae and Dancehall music and some of that good ole Soul music from the 70’s.
As for my songs, I get inspiration from all the sources/persons I just mentioned, plus everyday life and the world views I have created due to my own life experiences.
IRIE. How would you describe your brand of reggae music?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. As Spiritual Reggae Music that aims to empower, uplift, enlighten and comfort all who come in contact with it.
IRIE. You released your first album, ‘Over The Years: The Underground Project,’ back in 2011. You’ve also released 3 EPS in 2014-2015 along with a string of singles. What do you hope your fans take with them after listening to your music?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. To feel refreshed, have a renewed focus on life and to never give up hope – whether on themselves or humanity. Also, I want my music to cause people to search deeper into Self and unearth their Higher Being, as I truly do believe that ‘Righteousness exalts a nation’.
IRIE. You consider yourself a spiritual warrior of reggae music. Is it true that music speaks to you in a very special way? Can you explain to us how?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. Yes indeed, music is my therapy, music is my release, music carries me to that place called Zion/Heaven/Nirvana. But it has to be the right type of music; the kind of music that is laced with spiritual and/or true-to-life messages, haunting harmonies and great musical arrangement. Music that causes me to get up and move my feet and light up my Frankincense and Myrrh. Music that makes me want to write a song after listening to it or that charges up my batteries and helps me to take on this world and its madness or that renews my faith in YHWH.
IRIE. You were part of our Stand with Standing Rock issue and gave a poignant quote to the Sioux Tribe cause. Much respect for standing with us! Do you see yourself as an activist with your music?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. Thank you for including me in that issue. I see a part of my mission as having revolutionary objectives. By this I mean that I want to spark the minds and prick the conscience of the people to be critical of things, dogmas, agendas, ideas or suggestions. Take nothing at face value. To stand up for equal rights and justice and against discrimination, disenfranchisement and inequality. I use my music therefore as a tool to activate the minds and the conscience of people and to challenge them to adapt these revolutionary objectives. So coming from that standpoint I am definitely an activist with my music .
IRIE. What does Asante Amen have in store for 2017? Are you currently working on a new album? Can we expect to see you on the festival circuit?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. Basically more music: more singles and I am definitely working on getting my new album out for this year. As for the festivals? I would love to tour the circuit this year, so I am hopeful that some wheels will be turned and doors opened to make it a reality.
IRIE. If you could share one message with the world, what would that message be?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. Be the best human being you can be; do onto others as you would have them do onto you;
and most importantly, Know Yourself.
IRIE. Is there anything you would like to share with our audience?
Asante Amen: Asante Amen. On behalf of every Reggae artist out there, I want to thank your audience for supporting us. Without the people out there buying our music or coming to our concerts, we couldn’t continue to do what we do. On a personal level, I am asking your audience to check out my music, reach out to me on the social media platforms and reason with me. And finally, please help me to spread my brand of Reggae music across the world! One love.