Name: “Deraja Mamby, It sounded like a good stage name so I added an ‘h' to it to spell ‘Derajah'.
How did you get that name? “It was originally given to me by my father, Eric Mamby. Back in the early days, he was one of the men who took on to the faith of Rastafari and gave all my brothers and sisters have African names.”
Date of Birth: April 12, 1981.
Growing up: “ I was born in Rollington Town, in East Kingston. I lived with my mother, father, two sisters and one brother. Unfortunately, one of my sisters was shot and killed in 1998 due to violence…”
“… I didn't actually see my dad as a rastaman, but I saw pictures of his locks and wondered why he cut it. He explained to me that it wasn't easy for a rastaman to survive in those times and he could not go around selling brooms when he had a family to feed…”
“… I attended Windward Road All-Age School, Harbour View Primary School, Bull Bay All-Age School, Donald Quarrie High School and the last school I attended was Dunoon Technical High School. I must say that I have deep respect for the principal of Dunoon Tech., Mr. Thomas, who was a great inspiration and a father figure to me.”
What made you decide to choose music as a career and who encouraged you to do music? “ (Laughing) Honestly, from going to church, and I was actually baptized. At church, once someone with this big voice goes onstage, the musicians follow through, the pastor starts dancing then the whole place catch a fire! So, going to church made me realized how powerful music really is. Friends and family encouraged me.”
What gives you inspiration for your music? “Well, I take my inspiration from those who are suffering. I have a soft heart for the homeless and needy. I keep it purely conscious and of reality. I just express myself and how I feel at the time.”
What are your hobbies (apart from music)? What you like to eat and hang out? “Well, to be frank, after being exposed to the Internet I think it's a wonderful thing. I love to cook, nothing but vegetarian. I like to chill at home or at the studio.”
What label are you signed to? “Not signed to a label as yet. Right now, my business partner and I are in the production stage so we'd like to keep it local. However, we would be grateful for the assistance from labels overseas.”
Performances, overseas and local. Where, when, with whom and were you well received? “I've done small performances overseas. I've also performed at Spectrum and at parties in the inner-city. Fence lick down and bottle bruck ‘cause the people dem love the vibes and ting.”
Most embarrassing moment: “I can remember one time I went to link a bredren Down Town. To my estimation, he looked as if he was in his mid to late 30's. I always saw him with a woman that looks like she was in her early to mid 50's, but she look nice still. So when I went to link him he wasn't there so I told her to tell him that I pass through. I went back another time and saw him. I said to him, “I saw your old lady the other day and told her to tell you that I pass through.” But then he said, “You know is not me old lady…is me princess.” I feel like fi melt!!”
Happiest moment: “My happiest moments are just to wake up each morning and breathe because we are living in a society where it is a challenge to live.”
Songs written: “ ‘Gimme A Chance' on the ‘River Nile Queen' rhythm, ‘What You Gonna Do?' on the ‘Sutton St. 2K7' rhythm, along with others.”
Collaborations: “ I have to do a collaboration with Sugar Minott, that is a must! I'd also like to do some work with Louie Culture.”
Currently: “I'm looking forward to putting out an album very soon. I have some youths that I plan to work with to expose their musical talents so that they can get the notoriety they really deserve. We have a label out which is called Family Tree Music. It is the labour of love and the fruit of three brothers – myself, Ras Kelly and Akwah Mbokka, an Italian-born muslim. Our mission is to pave a new way in the music business not only in Jamaica but worldwide. We have released songs with upcoming artistes like myself, Sugar Minott, Carl Dawkins, Johnny Builder, Holloway, Big Youth, Israel Voice and Tear. We have had the privilege of working with some of Jamaica's finest musicians such as Earl ‘Chinna' Smith, Christopher Meredith, Ronald ‘Nambo' Robinson, Erroll ‘Flabba' Holt and Akwah Mbokka.
What is your advice to upcoming artistes such as yourself? “As Marcus Garvey said, “Be original”. Stick to being original and don't stifle your creativity. If you say you can lift up a building and carry it on your head, don't let anyone tell you that you can't. Maybe you can…you'll never know (he laughs). Just stick to you dream and be true to yourself.”
For more about Derajah and Family Tree Music visit www.familytreemusic.net and www.onelovehp.com