New Album By Menny More: « On Air Live »
Menny More – Soar
Menny More was born Junior Morrison in Kingston Jamaica on November 26, 1976 to parents Francis and Millicent Morrison. Originally living in Duhaney Park, Kingston, they moved around Jamaica to Manchester, Portmore and by the time Junior was 10 years old began splitting time between New York and Jamaica.
From an early age Junior was surrounded by music, both in the church and at home, where his mother was constantly buying and playing 45s. While attending his freshman year in high school at William E Grady Technical and Vocational High School in Brighton Beach NY, Junior followed his mother’s passion for records and would go to Super Power Records every day after school. There he started to become acquainted with some of the biggest New York reggae artistes of the day; Nicodemus, Sluggy Ranks, Trevor Sparks, Louie Rankin, Sister Charmaine, Sleepy Wonder, Mikey Jarret, Rev. Baboo, Bobo General and the “Don Dada” Supercat. It was with this crew that Junior was first introduced to recording and producing reggae music.
Junior rolled with the crew from Super Power to record in some of the biggest reggae studios of the time: Don One, HC&F, Sir Tommy, Ruddy, 3R, Living Room, Toy Factory… He started to develop his own style of DJing, which was instantly recognized and encouraged. “Count Shelly” Barrett, owner of Super Power Records, was regularly voicing artists on his Shelly Records label, and Junior joined them every time he could. Junior took on the DJ name Ryder around 1990, which is when his recording career started. It was at this time that the young DJ was also introduced to singing melodies and started to play with the concepts. “I witnessed an artist named Patrick Andy singing harmony on a dubplate one day. Being fascinated, I asked him how he did it and he started to explain the theory to me. Later on I learned a lot more from Trevor Sparks, Ian Sweetness, Sugar Minott, Johnny Osbourne, Sleepy Wonder and Bobo General, just to name a few. I learned from a lot of people, in fact the greatest as far as reggae is concerned”
It was Sleepy Wonder and Bobo General that explained dubplate recording to Ryder and told him where Ruddy Studio was: East 35th and Tilden Ave in Brooklyn, NY. It instantly became his hang out and that is where he learned the craft of dubplate. He started to learn the hustle of the business; recognizing that his talents were valued and commanding top dollar for his sessions. “It was at Don One where I truly learned the art of recording, how to conduct myself as an artist and basically how the music industry works. That was hands on training and was not easy. There was all kinds of friction amongst the artists, but that was just part of the experience”. Scientist was Don One’s engineer at the time, so Ryder and most artists spending time at the studio, also learned about engineering from one of the best. Don One’s was a hub for some of the greatest reggae artists and musicians ever. “Most of them saw something special in me, and that kind of positive energy groomed me into who I am now”.
Don One and Ruddy Studios along with Biltmore Ballroom, where Ryder would perform regularly, were the most influential musical places for him in New York. After recording a number of singles and going back and forth between NY and Jamaica, Ryder also started spending time at Jammy’s Studio in Kingston. “King Jammy and John John, who is one of my favorite producers to work with, instantly noticed the talent in me and released me on several riddims of the time, and even introduced me to Steely and Clevie and the great Bobby Digital who I also eventually recorded with”. In 1994, Ryder recorded “Thunderball” on the Stalag riddim with Jammy’s and then the name Menny More was bestowed on him.
“The name Menny More was given to me by the artist called Baby Wayne who sang ‘Mama’. It was in Jamaica at a point in my career where I had shown noticeable growth as a DJ. Baby Wayne, who was always one of my favorite DJs, insisted that my lyrics far outweighed my name. He suggested I be called ‘Many More’ as in Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, and many more… which was so humorous at the time but the name Menny More eventually stuck. It’s been like 15 – 16 years now.”
Menny More continued to record with King Jammy and his son John John from 1995 – 1998 on the Heavenless, Father Jungle Rock, Tight Clothes, Bellyas, and Head To Toe riddims. In 1997 he recorded a song called “Hot Gal” for Bobby Digital and a song called « Me A Move » for Kolliebud, Digital’s son. “Kolliebud actually came to look for me at Jammy’s studio personally. I didn’t even know that he was Bobby Digital’s son. He just pulled up to the studio in his white pick up van and said ‘I came here looking for you, please come to Bobby Digital’s studio tomorrow at 9am I have a track for you’… and so I did.” It was the legendary Dennis Brown who first suggested that Menny More sing instead of DJ. It was at Don One studio again, around the same time. Menny was there practicing some harmonies on a day that Dennis had come in to record. “He heard some of the stuff that I was doing and he told me that I needed to be singing, so of course I listened to the Man and… I started to sing”.
Menny continued to hone his skill and linked up with the Easy Star All Stars back in the early days of the band. It was Junior Jazz, a founding member of the touring band and a good friend of Menny’s, that made the link and Menny has been touring the world over, and over, with the Easy Stars since he started 7 years ago. “It truly has been a blessing to be able to travel all over the world, spreading reggae vibes and meeting wonderful people along the way. Big Up the Easy Star family for making this happen!”.
Since his early days as a youth in New York, Menny’s interest in reggae music has never stopped growing. His unique experiences coming up in the biggest studios in both New York and Jamaica, learning from some of the best in the business, and touring the world with the Easy Star All Stars has all contributed to making Menny More one of the most versatile reggae singers today.
“If I were to name all the artists who shared a positive energy to help carve me into Menny More, I would be speaking for days, so therefore I won’t even attempt to do so. But just to make you understand where this energy comes from here are a few of the great artists who have personally helped to groom me: Sugar Minott, Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis, Sister Carol, Johnny Osbourne, Pad Anthony, Michael Palmer, Sammy Dread, Nitty Gritty, Sluggy Ranks, Nicodemus, Half Pint, Baby Wayne, Junior Cat, Supercat, Ed Robinson, Shabba Ranks, Mykal Rose, Patrick Andy, Roman Stewart, please don’t let me go on because there are too many to count. Whoever is missing from this list you know who you are and the Most High Jah will bless you seven fold.”
In 2011, Menny More embarked on a solo project, which brings him much joy, motivation and pride. He is ready to make his name known far and wide as a solo artist, one that has much experience and one that is spreading a positive message to the world, thanks to the wonderful instrument that Jah blessed him with.
“In my heart music is life. I believe the Most High is watching us and we, as musicians, should be mindful of the messages we send. I strongly believe that reggae is the people’s music; it is not only a charmer, it also a healer. It is one of the most spiritual types of music there is. One must be a spiritual person, and clean enough to handle this remedy, so that it can safely be distributed to their world”.
BIOGRAPHY – Copyright Reggaeville.