Canadian reggae artiste Exco Levi is gearing up to release his latest album, titled ‘Born to be Free’. The artiste, known for his thought-provoking lyrics and conscious reggae sound, said that the album revolves around the themes of liberation.
“The concept of this album is based mainly around the themes of freedom and consciousness not only from shackles, but mentally as well,” said Exco Levi.
The multiple Juno Award winner, whose last album Narrative, produced by Silly Walks, was released in 2018, shared that the songs for his new album was written during the pandemic and that this period of introspection undoubtedly shaped the album’s content. “There was a lot of time to explore with thoughts and music,” he said.
While Exco Levi is signed to the Penthouse Label in Jamaica, the Canadian flag on the album cover highlights the significant role Canada has played in his journey. Exco Levi acknowledges the substantial financial support provided by the Canadian government for musicians and artistes, citing organisations like FACTOR Canada and the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) grant. This support, he believes, is crucial for the preservation and promotion of artistic expression.
“Jamaica is my home and Canada is my second home. The government of Canada gives a lot of financial support for musicians and artistes every year, so I am happy to have FACTOR Canada and the OMDC grant on board for this project. Jamaica can do much more for the preservation of reggae. However, financially, Canada is a first-world country, they have the resources to put in different areas,” said Exco Levi.
He is advocating for Jamaica to adopt a model like Canada’s in supporting its artistes and preserving reggae music. He emphasises the need for Jamaica to invest more in its musicians and create a system that fosters economic development and not just in entertainment. Looking at the disparity between the cost of items such as ackee in Canada versus Jamaica, he underlined the potential for Jamaica to build a robust economy by investing in its citizens, farming, and various sectors, much like the Canadian Arts Council does with the creators.
‘Born to be Free’ features collaborations with artistes such as Dwayne Stephenson and Charly Black. When asked about his favourite collaboration or track on the album, Exco Levi points to ‘One Life’ as a standout piece that resonates with him. “I like all the songs; however, the one that stood out to me more is One Life,” he said.
Exco Levi shared that he hopes the album will deliver a much-needed dose of enlightenment and upliftment.
“I hope to awake the sleeping consciousness of the audience. We need these kinds of music in this time when there is so much going on in the world. There is not a lot of music out there enlightening and uplifting the people; even with the abundance of water in Jamaica, the fools are still thirsty. Bless up all reggae musicians worldwide who is still on the conscious side,” he said.
Born to be Free is set to be released on March 1.