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Reggae Group SoJa Upbeat with Grammy Nomination


AMERICAN reggae band SOJA are in high spirits following their first nomination in the Best Reggae Album category of the 57th Grammy Awards on Friday.

The group, scheduled to make their debut appearance at next month's Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, got the nod for the sixth studio effort Amid the Noise and the Haste.

Produced by Jamaica-born Dwayne 'Supa Dups' Chin-Quee, the set features Damian Marley, Michael Franti, Nahko, Hawaiian reggae acts J Boog and Anuhea, and Bermudan reggae artiste Collie Buddz.

Jacob Hemphill, SOJA lead vocalist, spoke to the Jamaica Observer about the nomination.

"I grew up watching the Grammys, and it is a huge deal. My music is about believing in yourself and making a change within your lifetime, changing the world. My idol is Bob Marley and that's what he did: Change things. So I've never been afraid to try, or to bring about change. It's the most exciting part of life. I couldn't be happier right now," he said.

The singer used the opportunity to laud several people involved in the project.

"Thanks to our genius producer Supa Dups, you are an inspiration to everyone in SOJA. Big up Inner Circle for always believing in us and inviting SOJA to record at Circle House. Big up Damian Marley, Michael Franti, J Boog and all of the other amazing artistes and musicians who worked on this album. Thank you all! Let's win this thing!" said Hemphill.

In addition to Hemphill, SOJA comprises Bobby Lee (bass player), Ryan Berty (drums), Kenneth Brownell (percussion), Patrick O'Shea (keyboards), Hellman Escorcia (saxophone), Rafael Rodriguez (trumpet) and Trevor Young (lead guitar).

SOJA released its debut album Peace in a Time of War in 2002. Their 2012 effort, Strength to Survive, has sold more than 60,000 copies.

Producer Chin-Quee is elated at the recognition.

"I feel honoured and humbled to be nominated for SOJA's Amid the Noise and the Haste. This was one of the most difficult projects I chose to do. I am happy SOJA chose me to do this album and I am glad I did. In the end, hard work beats the talented who doesn't work hard. I hope it will be victorious at the Grammys," he said.

Other nominees for Best Reggae Album are Shaggy (Out of Many, One Music), Sean Paul (Full Frequency), Sly and Robbie (The Reggae Power, featuring Spicy Chocolate), Ziggy Marley (Fly Rasta), and Lee 'Scratch' Perry (Back on the Controls).

The ceremony is slated for the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on February 5, 2015.

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