Singer and songwriter Var (former lead singer of Pentateuch) released his first official single ‘Jah Love’ on all digital platforms on May 3, on the Supow label and his own Hillsman Records. The acoustic song featured Var, accompanied by Shaquir McQueen on guitar, singing a beautiful psalm of praise about the infinite love of the Almighty.
Equally enchanting are the visuals captured by Emmy Lou-Mai in Portland, Jamaica. The video bears witness to Var experiencing Jah Love in his everyday life as a Rastafari man. The video is an intimate view into Var’s daily rituals, his connection with nature, his love for marijuana & what Jah Love means to him.
The video was released on Var’s youtube channel on June 28th and quickly broke 10,000 views within the first week. The single was recorded at Small World Studio and co-produced and mixed by Supow, a label operated by singer and producer Patrice Bart-Williams, a Sierra Leonean-German singer-songwriter and music producer. “We have a very good partnership over the years, and we give thanks for the support,” says Var.
When he is not pursuing his solo endeavors, Var is a touring guest with Reggae collective Inna De Yard, with whom he has performed at numerous festivals across Europe and the United States. Also, a songwriter, Var has co-written songs for Raging Fyah, Kabaka Pyramid, Richie Spice, and Duane Stephenson. Var and Hillsman Records have much more in store. Enjoy the conversation Ashley from Irie Mag had with him recently.
Release Date: May 3, 2019
Label: SupowJa / Hillsman
Copyright: Var Hillsman
Total Length: 3:29
Total Tracks: 1
IRIE. For your first solo project – can you tell us what you really wanted your listeners to get from your sound? What was the feel or the vibe you were going for?
VAR. I hope people get a sense of reality from this project, the real things in life are natural and organic
and that is the vibration I hope to bring across with this project. Natural music.
IRIE.Why did you choose, Jah Love, as your debut single off the upcoming EP? What can we expect from the overall EP?
VAR. I chose Jah love to be my debut single as a solo artist simple because it embodies my journey and Faith In the Most High and it came at a time in my life when Jah love was manifested in so many different ways, working on my farm taught me so much about life and love for my temple ‘body’ so it was the perfect song to start this journey Jah Love.
IRIE. How do you find making music as a solo artist? Do you find your creative processes have changed after going solo?
VAR. Making music as a solo artist is easy as it has always been even in the band setting, my process is simple, I live a life that inspires me to sing songs so I don’t write and try to match words I simply say it as I hear it in the winds so it might not be “refined” or processed as some popular music but it is organic, it is real, and it has soul. and that’s what this EP is all about.
IRIE. What is it like to be a part of the legendary Inna Di Yard family – to be performing amongst veterans like Earl Chinna Smith & Cedric Myton must be quite the experience? What’s your favorite part of working with this group?
VAR. Working with Inna de yard family is something I needed because there are certain things only a master can teach you and all these great musicians and Rastafari elders that I share this bond with are masters in their own way so I am always learning from them all that I can and the connection is natural too because I grew up with my grandparents so the livity is the same with these kings of Inna de yard.
IRIE. Can you share with us some advice or reflections you’ve received from working with other members of Inna de Yard – maybe some inspiration they’ve been able to impart to you as an emerging artist?
VAR. Working with Inna de yard is a great
experience for I and it strengthens me musically and spiritually. The music of Inna de yard is Nyahbhingi music meaning “death to all black and white oppression so for me each night I go on stage I am at war with the system that oppresses and divide the people locally and internationally the same system that cause classism is the same that causes racism so we still have to raise the banner of equal rights and justice so yes Inna de yard is a great strength.
IRIE. What are some of the important practices you integrate into your daily lifestyle as a Rastafarian man in these times? And why?
VAR. Through tradition and livity I have a garden that I plant a variety of herbs and food where everything I plant is natural and free of chemicals. This is something that my grandparents did all their life and now I am continuing where they left off.
IRIE. We know you love to plant, farm, cook & share food with loved ones – why is this so important to your message. You even have a company called Hillsman Organics, tell us about what merging farming & music mean for you?
VAR. Well, gardening is not a profession, it is a way of life. Every man should have his little garden and just with a little love, it can save you a whole lot. This is the message of Hillsman Organics, planting herbs and food that will heal and strengthen your body. And the music I sing will heal and strengthen your spirit too so Hillsman Organics and Hillsman Records embodies life food and life music I dealing with life to the fullest.
IRIE. You hail from an area that is infamously known for being Maroon territory, likewise, you identify your own lineage to be Maroon – just like Drew the character in the upcoming Dread & Alive series – how does having this ancestry in your blood have significance in your life today?
VAR. The richest gift of my ancestors is the right to independence. The maroons especially “ Queen Nanny of the Maroons” were never defeated and we maintain our independence even to this day. So the man I am today will always be free and seeking a better way of life — other than depending on Babylon systems for basic needs like food and shelter. “Let the hungry be fed, naked be clothed, sick be nourished, aged protected and infants cared for”. These sentiments that are echoed by the Rasta man are the same sentiments of the Maroon community, so this is the mission at hand.
IRIE. I hear that you will be working with IRIE founder, Nicholas Da Silva, on his next big project, Dread & Alive: Nine Night. What do you hope to get out of this special collaboration?
VAR. It is something fresh for me and it’s all about the arts and to maximize my gifts so this project is one for the youth who are into the comic.
IRIE. As a roots reggae artist, how does it feel to be called upon to bring your music skills to a project like Dread & Alive?
VAR. It is all about using my Jah given tool for the upliftment of humanity so we support the painter and designers and actors and if I have the talent to I will.
IRIE. Is there anything you would like to say or share with the IRIE audience?
VAR. Recycle more, waste less and give thanks to the creator for life… Rastafari live.