Empress Ayeola has released her new album Straight To The Point. A committed Rastafarian, Empress Ayeola’s work is very radical at times, soft and quiet at others, but most of all about him, Haile Selassie I.
“I grew up in a Christian house at a time when Rastas were prosecuted and you could hear people say ‘watch out for the dutty, black heart Rasta’. I was listening to foundation artists like Burning Spear and Bob Marley, which made me want to find out who this man Emperor I Selassie was. I found him about 14 years ago. From then on, to this day I chant Rastafari way.”
What do people get from listening to your music?
“I think it’s realness. We should be striving towards the goals set by Rasta levity, one of them is universal peace. I also bun fire within Rasta. You have to clean your own house first.
I also want more of the female energy in the business. Men alone don’t run the world. Some of the dancehall artists who preach violence, the degradation of women – telling them to sell their pride and dignity for bubble and bling bling, are a disrespect to levity as a whole – more fire pan dat!”
What do you think of the newer artists?
“I have been hearing a new youth Jah Bouks, he is ‘terrible’ (in a god way), he is gonna tear down the place. I love Jah9 and Chronixx but I find Jah Bouks more commanding as an artist, because of the nature and tone of his voice and the way he delivers.”
Empress Ayeola came to England in the early 80s. The Black Solidarity label released one record under her real name: Janet Reid. “I could not emulate the British type of Lovers Rock that was in demand at the time so I stepped out of the business for 11 years. When I decided to come back, Rastafari found me. I think Rastafari is the cleanest levity compared to many churches which are like fornication rooms because they molest or do something so corrupt within their society.”
The outspoken artist has performed at Rebel Salute in Jamaica and various festivals in Europe, where her demeanour strikes a special note of appeal.
“The last time I was in Hungary I was stalked by a young man who wanted me to teach him about Rastafari. I even had people camp outside the hotel. They are hungry for the message, they want to know about the levity and how to hold a meditation. Reading is very important, cause his majesty said: ‘education is the key to a fruitful mind and higher elevated spirit. Knowledge is power’.”
Thank you very much to my beautiful daughter Arielle who sings with me on the track Mother Nature. We recorded the song almost instantly, accompanied by a guitar and percussion; it floats very naturally. I must also thank my producer Carlton Bubblers Ogilvie of the original Ruff Cut Band here in the UK for the love I receive from him. Give thanks to all the promoters, producers and radio-dj’s who have supported me over the years, worldwide.