After weeks of seeing STAR of the month Laden in the paper fans will get the chance to interact with him on the Internet and on the phone on Tuesday March 24th. Laden will be online from 5-6 at www.go-jamaica.com, then fans can call into the STAR from 6-7 to talk to the artiste at 1-888-THE-STAR (1-888-843-7827).
This is your chance to talk to the versatile artiste who is blazing the airwaves.
Don't miss the chance to talk to Laden!!!!!!!!!!!
As a young boy growing up in the small district of Cheapside St Elizabeth, O’Keefe Aarons, aka 'Laden', always wished for fame on every shooting star that passed the midnight sky. With hard work, perseverance and a natural melody, Laden has now only begun to reach for the heights of his success aiming to grace all the stages of the world with his dynamic sound.
Armed with a growing catalogue of songs and with the support of one of the leaders in the industry, Big Ship Productions which was founded by reggae veteran, Freddie McGregor, Laden is a current fore runner of young talents rising out of the Dancehall. With catchy hooks and clean lyrics, Laden has become a role model for other aspiring artistes with a dream. Born in Kingston, Laden’s mother soon moved to the rural area of St Elizabeth with her son when he was a young child in an attempt to escape the harsh reality of Kingston’s garrisons. Laden soon developed a strong interest in music from an early age developing his natural gift for riding a rhythm by simply listening to beats and singing along.
Years after attending the Littz All Age School, Laden moved back to the volatile Payne Land, Kingston in his teenage years for a brief stint at the Haile Selassie High School. After leaving school Laden took to hanging out with friends and soon joined the Stunt Squad, which in his words is a group of aspiring deejays, engineers and musicians out of St. Elizabeth. Consisting of seven members Snypa Kyng, Oxygen, Kilovani (who are all deejays), Fasca, Vigilent, Bird and Laden, the youngster further explored his love of music.
Laden’s defining moment in music however, came after the death of his best friend Mark ‘Gussie’ Richie, who was involved in a fatal car crash. This catastrophe sparked the creative fuel of the singjay who penned his first song Tribute for his fallen comrade. While the song didn’t have an impact on the airwaves the experience led the artiste to consider music as a possible career.
Through the encouragement of his family and the Stunt Squad crew Laden, then referred to as ‘Jim Laden’, trekked to Negril to audition for the debut of Digicel Rising Stars in 2006. With a confidence that would soon define his career Laden made it past auditions and endured seven grueling weeks of competition and critique from the judges before placing eighth in the competition. According to Laden the experience was his first big step into the industry giving him exposure and teaching him techniques on how to master the stage and a studio audience.
Bent on becoming a household name, Laden continued to make music-recording songs for Shocking Vibes including his collaboration with Devonte for The Theme Song, which was used to promote Cricket World Cup. Not content with simply making music, in the summer of 2007 a persistent Laden came knocking on the door of the ‘hot spot’ of Jamaican music- the Big Ship studios in Havendale where super producer Stephen ‘Di Genius’ McGregor was slowly changing the face of the dancehall. Laden explained, "Stephen McGregor is the genius I have always wanted to work with him from before Rising Stars, from St Elizabeth days."
Before meeting up with the 'genius' Laden previously recorded demos on his rhythms meeting with Stephen through a mutual friend. Drawn by Laden’s lyrical content McGregor soon took Laden under his wing saying, "at first he was always rhyming and always had a humour about his lyrics, after a while I started hearing his melodies. He definitely has potential and more so out of Jamaica where he's on their page with an International sound, in terms of the sound he is generating, melodies, and production. He is also very versatile he can go on different types of dancehall vibes, hard-core, girls tunes anything."
For Laden, the experience of working with Stephen is one that has taught him many lessons, saying: “he's the best, he has taught me how to record properly, about notes, how to deliver properly on the rhythm and with energy as well. Now it’s like I'm part of the family." Laden’s musical catalogue includes Gal Coward on the ‘Day Break rhythm’ to I’m Sorry (a video was shot by Julia Braham), Really Like You, Time to Shine (a video was shot by Big Ship’s Michael ‘Bigs’ Burbridge), Anytime, Money Over War, Working Hard and the recent Hold the Faith. Laden continues to cement his name in the big league with stellar performances at Sting, the Coca Cola School tour and RJR’s Cross Country tour among others. As well continuous work in the studio including his latest song on McGregor’s ‘Boasty’ rhythm titled 'Really Rate Me'.
The artiste is also looking forward to the release of his debut album the aptly named ‘Time to Shine’ in Japan in summer of 2009. Perhaps his biggest song to date, Time to Shine, is being used as the official song in the promotions for the Flow sponsored Champion’s Cup. Laden’s success was recognized at the recent EME’s and Youthview Awards where he was nominated for ‘best new artiste.’ Yet despite all his success and achievements Laden remain grounded in making positive music that will continue to make his biggest fan proud- his mother.