Ammoye receives 2023 Juno Award Nomination (Interview)


Reggae-Fusion Artist Ammoye Receives 2023 JUNO Award Nomination For Reggae Recording of The Year

Toronto-based reggae-fusion artist Ammoye recently received a JUNO Award nomination for Reggae Recording of The Year for her album, Water.

Water is a 13-song collection that features contributions from stars of the international reggae scene, including DJ Agile, Danny Maestro, The Senior Allstars, Thomas Blondet, Adrian Hanson Donsome, and the legendary Lord SassaFras, as well as production from Natural High, and executive production, mastering and sound engineering from Tandra Lytes Jhagroo.

Six-time JUNO Award-nominee Ammoye delivers a unique future-forward reggae sound that incorporates old-school rocksteady, dancehall, and dubstep with gospel, soul, and R&B. With an infectious voice and messages of empowerment, Jamaican-born Ammoye is a lightworker and self-declared soul rebel.

Listen to Water below and learn more about Ammoye via our mini-interview.

First off, care to introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Ammoye, aka Lightworker/SoulRebel. I’m originally from the island of Jamaica, where I was raised by my grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd and Hazel Russell. I was raised in the church singing in the choir along with my siblings, aunts, and cousins. The church is where I got my start when it comes to singing. My grandparents insisted we sing in the choir, where they recognized I had the talent to really sing and started pushing me to do more solos. Which terrified me at first, and so reluctantly, I started to sing more and more. The more I sang, the more I fell in love with it, and seeing the reactions from the audience gave me more confidence. So much so that I started writing my own songs, which cultivated my songwriting. I’d run into our backland and climb up into the mango trees and make up songs that I’d sing to the birds, trees, and animals. I felt they wouldn’t judge me. This was where I started to fall even more in love with music and nature combined. I get a lot of my inspiration when I’m out in nature, especially when I’m close to water. My influences outside of the church were Bob Marley and Sade. Their songwriting and delivery of the songs they shared truly inspired and activated me profoundly. I wanted to do what they did and are still able to do through the relatable and timeless music they created.

After my grandmother passed, my siblings and I migrated to Toronto, Canada, to live with my mom Carol. She left Jamaica when I was six years old to escape being a victim of physical abuse. This experience affected me fundamentally and deeply changed me as a woman and how I show up in my life and the music I create. When we arrived in Toronto, I continued to sing in the church (Dundas Street Church of God) choir and even started a group of four girls, including my younger sister, called “Sisters in Christ.” I stayed in the church for a while when I then decided I wanted to forge my own path, blaze my own trail and focus more on writing my own songs, which disappointed my family, but I felt this was what I was called and needed to do. I was attending Seneca college at the time, studying travel and tourism. I later dropped out because I felt I was only doing this to please the family, and it would only lead to feeding my pocket but starving my soul. I decided then to pursue music full-time, and I’ve never looked back or regretted that decision.

You were nominated for a JUNO award for Reggae Recording of the Year for your album, Water. How did you react when you found out about the nomination?

When I discovered I got nominated for a JUNO Award for Water, my latest album release, I was ecstatic and elated beyond words! This is my sixth nomination, and it still feels surreal each time I’ve been nominated so far. This body of work is very important to me, and so for it to be recognized and acknowledged by the JUNO Awards means more than anyone could ever perceive. I wrote this album during the lockdown and pandemic. This album was born after a catalytic major spiritual awakening… It was my outlet, my saving grace of inspiration, to help me navigate the uncertainties of the time. It gave me hope, and my intent is that with it being nominated, more people will get to hear it and get the healing, strength, inspiration, and insights poured into this body of work on an energetic level when they get the opportunity to listen to it, and experience it.

If someone has not heard your music, what track from Water would you recommend they check out first?

The first track I would encourage people to listen to if and when they choose to listen to Water would be either “On the Dock” or “Journey Home.”

“On the Dock,” produced by Markus Dassmann of the band Senior Allstars from Germany, is a song that metaphorically speaks about meditation. A reminder for us about how important it is to make time for stillness to go within and connect with our spirituality. Without this connection, we can get lost. When we take the quality time to connect with our inner net this is where we get the guidance, the answers… the appropriate trajectory, and compass to guide us in our day-to-day lives.

“Journey Home,” produced by Thomas Blondet from Brooklyn, NY is all about connecting with the heart. The heart is where everything that is truth, love, and light comes from. So when we decide to take the personal journey to go within and feel, and connect with our heart space, our soul, and our higher selves we are able to feed and be fed from our spirit with the spiritual food that connects us with the “all that is.” We are then able to hear from spirit, which provides everything we need to make our lives better, more peaceful, and more understandable. It gives us a broader sense, better understanding, and insight into who we are, why we are, and what we are here to do, individually and collectively. The heart is home and our true compass.

What’s your favourite thing about being a musician in Toronto?

My favourite thing about being a musician in Toronto is that this city and Canada allow an independent artist like myself the opportunity to pursue my career with the access, help, and resources that lessen the financial burdens we face that doesn’t have the major backing of a major label network. I am able with the assistance of the granting bodies such as Factor Canada, OAC, Canadian Arts Council, TAC, Starmaker Fund, and Ontario Creates, just to name a few, the financial support to make and create my art which I’ve been able to share with the world. Without their support, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today in my career. So for all of that, I’m forever grateful to be a musician living in Toronto, Canada!

What’s next for you in 2023?

What is next for me in 2023 is more performing, touring, and more creative expression. I aim to continue to create and make music that is of service to humanity and our planet. Being a Lightworker, my intent for my music is to uplift, heal, motivate, activate, and inspire my listening and participating audiences to be moved to take action, go out into the world, and also express and share their unique gifts with the world. I just recently signed with two booking agents, “You Will Love It Live” and “PASA Musik” this is a major accomplishment for me, in assisting us with gaining more exposure and also allowing us the opportunity and capabilities to bring my music with my “Lightworker’s band” to more of a wider expanded like-minded audience community, nationally and internationally as we take Reggae Rocking music to the world! Keep an eye out for us playing a show, festival, or event in your city soon!

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