Respect | Freddie McGregor, O.D.

Irie™ Magazine | Respect - Freddie McGregor O.D.

Freddie McGregor, O.D.

True To My Roots

Internationally acclaimed, Grammy-nominated singer, Freddie McGregor, O.D., has not only made significant contributions to Reggae music since inception, but, has also helped to shape it with his conscious lyrics and Philly-Soul style for over 50 years. Equally adept as a romantic crooner or as an emissary of strong cultural messaging, his undeniable vocal ability boasts hits like Push Come to Shove, Africa Here I Come, I Was Born A Winner, Guantanamera, his signature Big Ship, Lock Dem’ Down and Bangarang (both chart topping hits from album ‘Comin’ in Tough’) and American soul classics like, Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely (by Ronnie Dyson) and And So I’ll Wait for You. Today Freddie celebrates the release of a new single True to My Roots with his album also entitled ‘True to My Roots’ scheduled for release in June 2016.

With profound natural talent Freddie was influenced by legends Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Bob Andy and many others. Throughout the early sixties a youthful Freddie honed his craft as part of the legendary group, The Clarendonians. In 1963, he then moved to Kingston becoming a protégé of pioneer producer, Sir Coxsone Dodd (whom he resided with), under the moniker “Little Freddie” with songs like After the Laughter (available on iTunes and Youtube). He went on to develop his brand teaming with Ernest “Fitzroy” Wilson to form the duo “Fitzie & Freddie” for Dodd’s Studio One label (with tracks like Why Did You Do It and Do Good and Good Will Follow You also available on iTunes). In 1975, Freddie’s musical and lyrical content changed with a strong slant towards social consciousness with tunes like Mark of the Beast, I Am A Rasta and reggae classic Bobby Babylon. He released his long awaited album “Mr. McGregor” in 1977, which contained reggae mainstays such as Zion Chant, Rastaman Chant and Walls of Jericho marking a major milestone in his stellar career and paving the way for his 1982 single Big Ship, one of reggae’s biggest hits.

In 1989, Freddie launched his own label entitled, Big Ship, featuring “Jamaica Classics: Volume One & Volume II” as the first major releases, which included popular tunes like Let Him Try and The Loser (by Derrick Harriot). Today, Big Ship is the most recognized Reggae label in Japan handling its own production, manufacturing, distribution and promotions while having produced several reggae artists including General Degree, Cutty Ranks, Mikey Spice, Benjy Myaz and Freddie’s daughter, Yeshemabeth. His album entitled Anything For You featuring the songs Uncle Sam, I See It In You and Anything for You, was nominated for a Grammy in 2002. Video productions include the historic Super Stars Extravaganza DVD, highlighting rare concert footage from the 1989 Denbigh Show Ground with live performances by such greats like Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Cocoa Tea, Barrington Levy, Frankie Paul, Carlene Davis and the legendary Tamlins.

Over the years, Freddie has consistently ‘given back’ to the community: he produces Rock Steady Meets Reggae, which promotes unity within the Reggae fraternity and Reggae by the Lake, an event that promotes familial bonding along with popular Caribbean musical acts. In 2010, he designed and donated a decorative mask for the Education Africa Gala silent auction (others designers included Sting, Paris Hilton, Simon Cowell and Sir Bob Geldof) to support access to education.

Always ready to perform, Freddie has completed over 30 albums to date and headlined international concerts and venues including Poland’s Blue Note, Japan’s Jumping Splash, Reggae Sunsplash (Clapham Common), the Cartegena Festival (Colombia), Midem (France), the Jamaican Expo (performing for Nelson Mandela and Prince Charles), the London Hammersmith Apollo performing with John Holt and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Annual Caribbean Tourism Week (NYC), Reinhold Center for the Performing Arts (USVI) and many others. A strong advocate for the protection and promotion of the music industry, his credited accolades/titles include serving as Chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Board, receiving both the prestigious Jamaican Order of Distinction (2003) and a Sumfest Award for his contributions to Jamaican music and culture, his song, Lovers Rock, featured in the critically acclaimed HBO film “Disappearing Acts” and being inducted an Apollo Living Legend at Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater Salute.

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Freddie McGregor, O.D.

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