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Born in Kingston, Jamaica (1961), Derrick Lara loved to emulate American R&B singers of the early 70s as a youth. He nurtured his vocal style in the local church choir, performing alongside his sister, Jennifer Lara. A competent vocalist, he initially performed alongside Errol Lee in the Bare Essentials Band and then as a drummer in the Seventh Extension Band, playing to tourists on the north coast. Lara was celebrated for his drumming skills until an impromptu appearance as a vocalist led to a change of direction. By 1972 his reputation as a singer reached Kingston where he was invited to record with Joe Gibbs. Gibbs’ production of ‘What We Need’ introduced Lara’s distinct falsetto to Jamaican ears. Further sessions with the producer led to Lara’s debut album and an appearance on the discomix, ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough’ featuring DJ Trinity. In 1983, the vocal group the Tamlins enrolled Lara to perform with them, initially on recording sessions with Sly And Robbie. Through the years Lara has remained with the group, although all members pursued concurrent solo careers.
In 1994, the Tamlins re-recorded their classic, ‘Baltimore’, with Richard ‘Bello’ Bell, who also enrolled Lara to join the Star Trail posse. With the crew he provided backing vocals to performers such as Beres Hammond, Everton Blender and Anthony B. Lara released a series of hit singles including ‘Gun Man’, ‘Me No Have It’ and ‘Man Fe Know’ for Bell, while with Tappa Zukie he released, ‘Love Is Calling’ and for K.C. White he updated Horace Andy’s ‘Money Money’ rhythm for the classic, ‘Bad Vibes’. Lara also released the maudlin Motherless Child drawing from his formative years and dedicated the title track to his mother, who had died in childbirth. The album established the singer as an exceptional soloist, particularly in the USA. In 1999, Lara released ‘All About Life’ in collaboration with Sly And Robbie, Mafia And Fluxy, Danny Browne, Firehouse Crew and Culture Lee. Derrick Lara solo career was on pause for a few years as he performed with the Tamlins and toured with Rita Marley singing harmony. He still performs with the Tamlins, but has renewed his solo career and is getting ready to release ‘Solid’, a brand new album with riddim tracks by the Stamina All Stars out of Santa Cruz, CA.
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