Following She’s Royal, his number one Jamaican single, Tarrus takes on the UK

While in London recording for his new album, Tarrus Riley took time out to squeeze Flavour in for a chat where we discuss nature, his relationship with music and of course, letting us into the inspiration behind his Jamaican number one hit single, She’s Royal.

How did you first develop a relationship with music?
My dad was in the music industry and I was always hanging about at the studio, so then I got into dancehall which then got me into DJing. From there I wanted to learn more about music so I decide to learn how to play the piano. Then my mum said I should sing, so I quickly took that up too.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on my third album which is out next year.

What sort of musical experience can we expect to get from it?
Well… what can you expect? There will be similarities in quality but I have put in lots of different sounds, topics and melodies into it.

So I’m sure you know we all want to find out if She’s Royal was inspired by your very own special lady? Or a fictional character?
I wrote it because of slavery, a lot of conditioning from slavery still resonates today and women still lack self esteem. Women are looked at second best, so this is my gift to women – it’s a love song, it’s a reality song. I wrote it just to let woman feel nice. They need some music to make them feel good, so I think let me sing a song to big up the girls and say she’s a queen and ‘She’s Royal’. The woman is the backbone of the house, so I make her feel nice. If a woman feels nice, then you feel nice. If you come home to your woman and she’s miserable then you feel miserable and so does everyone else around.

Wow so you wrote it for me?
Yeah (laughs).

You were born Omar Riley. Why did you change your name?
That’s my personal life. I have kids and I’m in the spotlight, so I think that keeps this personal. My mum calls me Riley anyway too.

What would you do with your life if you weren’t doing music?
Music is like teaching for me so I kind of feel like a history teacher. Music is mind empowering.

On your track Microchip you warn us of the dangers of technology. So does that mean you don’t like to use computers?
Well man maketh the machine and yes, computers makes life easier, but you know what? There must be a balance so people should get into nature. Moderation is the key – and balance is life. When was the last time you went swimming?

Well I can’t swim.

OK, well even go for walks, just enjoy being outside you know, it’s good. I know we do need machines don’t get me wrong, but there has to be some kind of a balance. That’s all I’m saying.

How has coming from Jamaica made you who you are today?

Well I’ve seen all different walks of life and had schooling in Miami. Because of that I’m blessed and because of this I’m also going to get into acting and commercials.

Oh so when can we see you on the big screen then?
There’s time and no need to rush.

Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to do this interview. I’ll let you get back to your recording.
No thank you, it’s been fantastic. These kinds of things are very important to me too.

Words by Andrea Ilka Tola