Monday, September 26, 2016
    Welcome To

Edi Fitzroy "First Class" Artist

Edi Fitzroy is a hero to the people of Jamaica.  He is credited with being the first radio personality to play Reggae on the air in Jamaica—read that again—he was the first person to play Reggae on the radio in Jamaica.  When he did, it was a major controversy, but the people loved it.  It goes like this: he and his colleague locked themselves in the radio booth, refused to come out, and continued playing Reggae all day on a predominantly R&B and Soul station. This event was recreated in the movie “Rockers.”  At this time in the early 1970s, there was only one radio station on the island (JBC), so it was a major event that everyone heard.  The buzz soon resulted in Reggae being played full-time on the island and several Reggae radio stations being born. 

Another interesting event is that Edi Fitzroy performed with the Clash on their hit, “Bankrobber” from the “Black Market Clash” album.

Edi Fitzroy was born Fitzroy Edwards on November 17, 1955 in the cool hills of Chapleton, Clarendon, the son of a Sound System Operator Vasco Edwards and Kathleen Robinson.  After leaving Primary School he went to live with his mother in Whitfield Town, Kingston and attended West Indies Commercial Institute where he studied accounts. As a teenager Edi followed the sound systems, in particular Anchio One.

In January 1973 Edi joined the staff of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) as an Accounting Officer and was later promoted to Accountant - Payables.  A job he held for 22 years (leaving in 1995).  Edi did his recordings and music performances concurrently with his Accounting job at the JBC.

1978    Exposed to music, and in particular Jamaican popular music from an early age; an association with Pam Hickling and Michael ‘Dread at the Control’ Campbell led Edi to do his first set of recordings – Miss Molly (a hit on the Jamaican Top 10 Charts) and Countryman, both written by Hickling.  He continued  to record with Mikey Dread, and African Religion, The Gun and Stylee followed.

1980    Resulting from his hits during 1978 and  1980 Edi travelled to London with Mikey Dread where he did opening acts for ‘The Clash’, A British Rock Group.

1981    A split with Mikey Dread followed shortly after their return to Jamaica, and after a ‘cool-out’ break Edi began recording with the ‘Musical Ambassador’ Trevor Elliot, then of the Agency for Public Information (now Jamaica Information Service).  This marked the renewal of a long-standing relationship with Elliot and Graphics Artist/Songwriter Paul Aiken, then also of API.

Edi’s First Album, CHECK FOR YOU ONCE, produced by Trevor Elliott released in 1981 was Number One on the Jamaican Hit Parade for four weeks, and in England the best selling Album coming out of Jamaica at that time.  The Album included such hits as Youthman Penitentiary, African Queen, Work On Mr. Farmer, First Class Citizen, People Dem a Suffer, among others.  This album was also released in the United States by Alligator Records under the title “Youthman Penitentiary”

Edi sees himself as an Artiste from the people, of the people and for the people.  He has done numerous benefit shows to aid community improvement, schools’ fund raising, churches and other charitable organisations.  The lyrics of Edi’s songs portray his closeness to the people, and are borne out of his experiences in the country parts and the by-ways of Whitfield Town.

To quote Edi: “I can’t sing fantasies when there is so much wrong on the earth.  I must sing about things going on, I have to remind the people when they forget.  I won’t stop trying to uplift the consciousness of my people, and all the oppressed people of the world.  I want them to get up and stand up for their rights.”

Edi is greatly inspired by the music of the Hon. Bob Marley and would feel a traitor to Marley’s cause if he did not try to help in carrying forward the mission started by Marley.  Thus, he writes and/or sings songs with a message.

     In 1982 Edi received the Press Association of Jamaica Award in recognition of his contribution to the development of Jamaican Reggae music.  This same year Edi also received the Award for the JBC Personality of the Year.

1984    In  1984 Edi received the  Rockers Award  for Most  Conscious  Performer, after crowning the year with a tribute to women titled ‘Princess Black’.

What must be regarded as the most significant achievement of Edi’s music career was the launching of his Second Album titled COMING UP STRONG, a title that seemed to emphasise the  stage of his career. This album was started in 1982 and none of the material could be considered new, but yet, how relevant they are to the present.

    Some of the tracks featured on this Album are JAH Sun, Sow Your Corn, Love The People Want, Easy Ride and Princess Black; done in typical Edi Fitzroy tradition.  Also, I must mention the tracks Father which displays a superb performance of vocals, and Chant Them which is quite mystical and enchanting.

    The stages of unity that brought about the completion of this Album would make an interesting chapter in Edi’s life story.  However, special mention must be made of Newton ‘Sipho’ Merritt, who came in at the most crucial part of the journey.  Merritt  had faith in the direction Edi was going, and eased the burden by taking some of the load, so that, in oneness the spirit of love prevailed in the long hard journey across the border.

     In  1985 Edi  visited England as an  Ambassador, bringing Reggae Music for the  first  time within the Royal Festival Hall, home of European Classical Music situated on the South Bank of the River Thames.  He later played his part during the tour of England described in the music press as, ‘The Magical Mystery Tour’.

Edi closed 1985 by winning the Rockers Video Award for ‘Princess Black’.

1986/87    This period saw the release of  45s  Death Trap,  Easy  Ride,  Shame  and   Level  Yu Vibes.

1988    ECLIPSE,  Edi’s Third Album released September 1988 in Europe and the  United States, and later that same year in Jamaica; produced by Delroy Thompson and Carl ‘Jaco’ Thelwell.  If an “eclipse” means the passing of one time period and the birth of a new one then this Album was aptly named.  Dancehall Feel, Shout It Loud, Lonely Woman, Hotel California and What A Trick are among the ten tracks featured on this Album.  What A Trick is the first single released in Jamaica and spent twenty-three weeks on the local charts. 

    Later that same year Edi’s Fourth Album, POLLUTION was released on the Bromac Label, produced by Owen Brown.   Dreadlocks Robinson, Working Class Woman, Death Trap and Pollution are among the ten tracks featured on this Album.

1988-90     In 1988, 1989  and 1990  Edi received the  Award for the  Most Cultured-oriented Artiste in the 7th,  8th and  9th  Annual International Music Awards held in Miami, Chicago and Jamaica respectively.  Making it three consecutive years.

1990    In 1990 Edi received the Sisters Celebration Award for his contribution to their concerts since 1985.  A women’s group dealing with crisis, counselling, etc.

1992/93    While at the JBC Edi started his acting career and performed in the popular local JBC TV Programme “Lime Tree Lane”. 

Edi’s  Fifth   Album,  DEEP IN MI CULTURE   on Henry K Label was released (Vinyl and Compact Disc) December 9, 1993 at the Bob Marley Museum, in Kingston, Jamaica.

Edi has made his impact in the music industry with his message songs of consciousness and DEEP IN MI CULTURE did not betray the formula that had propelled him over the years.  There are ten tracks on this Album which includes Deep In Mi Culture, Love The People Want, Bounty Hunter, Revolution and Hunting.

Singles released from this Album prior to its launch were Deep In Mi Culture and Love The People Want. Other singles released in 1993 were Bounty Hunter (with Papa San), Don’t You Worry and Mind Must Be Free (with Jack Radics).

1994/95     Singles  released  during  this  period  on  the  Confidence  Label  (Edi’s label)   were Prison Life,  Border Line and Jamaican Girl.

Edi did an extensive tour of the United States East and West Coast with the Massawa Band during the Summer of 1995.  Her performed at the Vermont Reggae Fest, Reggae on the River and more.

1996    This year saw Edi receiving the Woman to Woman Award in recognition of his contribution to their causes.  Sistren Inc operated this women’s group.

1996/97      Single – Guiltiness by Edi and Cutty Ranks on the Digital B Label was released in 1996.

Singles released from Edi’s Sixth Album, I CRY are Oh Jah, I Cry and Africa Is Calling (with Frankie Paul), which was Number Two on the Top 40 Chart (RJR Radio) and Number Seventeen on the Star Chart (print media)  during March 1996.

     Other Singles released were Mr. Bossman and Live Upright on Jack Scorpio Label. I Love You My Dear – Brick Wall Label (Bobby Digital).

1997    Edi  worked on his Seventh Album THERE IS A FIRE  for K.C. Whyte of 7 Star.

    Singles released during this period were Trickster, Not Giving Up So Tough Luck, Johnny and a remix of Princess Black (Fitzroy/Sizzla) all on Bobby Digital Label.

    During 1997 he toured North American  with Masawa Band and Overstand Band.  Performances in Colorado, Los Angeles, Portland Oregon, Humble County, San Francisco---

     Early in  the year  Edi  was on a  U.S.  West Coast tour and did a number of shows in California, Seattle, Philadelphia and San Diego.

     Edi released a remix of Jacob Miller’s 1970’s single, Dreadlocks Can’t Live Ina Tenement Yard   for Producer  Goldfinger.  Other singles  released  during  the year were  Jailhouse  produced  by  Dwayne  and Come Along Youthman  for Jack Scorpio.

1999     Singles  released in 1999  were  Bury The Guns,  and  I Love You  on   the African Museum Label.  TOGETHERNESS (No. 8) an Album in the works by Gregory Isaacs and Edi. Release date undecided.

The veteran roots and culture singer added another dimension to his artistic prowess. He is the Host and Creator of the  programme “Cultural Explosion” aired on Roots FM 96.1, Kingston, Jamaica on Fridays from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m.; and Saturdays 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

2000    Edi   visited  The  Gambia, West  Africa  {Home of Kunta Kinte} during  June 23-30, 2000.   He attended  and performed  at The Roots  Homecoming  Festival.

Edi’s Ninth Album, WE A LION, produced by Whitfield Henry (Witty) was launched on November 29, 2000 at the Tropics Club in New Kingston, Jamaica.  The Album opens with a spiritual chant Mount Zion giving praises to the Almighty.  WE A LION displays a conscious, explosive and energetic Edi Fitzroy.  Released on both Vinyl and Compact Disc. This CD actually “purrs” and “roars”.

2001    Edi’s latest CD –  FIRST CLASS CITIZEN  – is a compilation of some of his early works with the Musical Ambassador, Trevor Elliott.   This CD was launched in Florida on May 29, 2001.  It feature such favourites as Check For You Once, Youthman Penitentiary, First Class Citizen, The Gun……

2002    This year say the annual shows --  “Tribute to Peter Tosh” and “Western Consciousness” together with other performances.  Recordings – Edi released three singles on the Confidence Label -- Jah Sun Come Shining, Mark My Word, Chant Down Babylon and for Producer Little John Give Me Your Love and Struggling Woman.
    Edi took a cooling out period and did some writing during this year.

2003    The veteran singer added yet another dimension to his repertoire by hosting his own Cable Programme on VCN Prime Sauce Communication Network during January to April 2003 – “Cultural Exposure”.  Edi explored the roots of reggae music with the foundation artistés.  Strolled down memory lane live with the legends, heard where it all started, explored their careers.  The viewers were able to see them perform and spoke with them live. Edi also highlighted health issues, educational and current events on his cable programme.

Edi’s “Hotel California” was placed in the Top 40 World/Folk Cover Songs category also in the Reggae Top 100 category was Princess Black and We A Lion.

In the works is The Peter Tosh Tribute Album on which Edi recorded Tosh’s “Burial”.  Other performers to be included on the tribute album are rock superstar Eric Clapton; Slash, the late Jerry Garcia, rap group Cypress Hill, blues singer Ben Harper, and Donald Kinsey, Tosh’s former guitarist.

Edi was in Florida during May – June 2003 doing promotion for his We A Lion Album to be released in the USA.  During his time there he did a number of Radio, TV and Magazine interviews.  While in Florida Edi  performed at the Club Atlantis, Fort Lauderdale.
2004     “Dready Next Door”  Edi’s latest video recorded in California and released in Jamaica May 2004.  A single Dready Next Door  was  released in October 2004. 

    Edi performed in Toronto on October 9, 2004.

    VOICE OF THE INNERCITY Album produced by General Jah Mikey (Jah Sky Music) out of Los Angeles (USA), done in 2004, unreleased.

2005    Recorded in 2005 is LOVE THE PEOPLE WANT Album from Henry K Productions, unreleased.  Also from Henry K (Karyo)  - an Eric Clapton Tribute Album on which Edi has also been  included.

    Singles released in 2005 are Coming to Righteousness (Mark), Blam Blam (Down Sound, G500 Promotion, Blood Sucker and Throw DownYour Arms  (Chris Merdic).  Album in the works produced by Little John.
    Did performances in California (USA) and Hawaii during September 2005.

    Edi is included on a compilation album  PUT MY FAITH IN JAH, produced by Mike  Mallott and Jeanette Smith  - released in 2005.

2006    Rappa Pam Pam 45 and video released  in January 2006, produced by Kentucky Kid, Landslide Production.

    Album HOLD THE VIBES (16 tracks) produced by Joe Bressler for Riddimbank, Adam Heller of King Step Recordings  and Edi Fitzroy for Confidence Music - released in California Summer 2006.  Edi was on a tour in California and Hawaii promoting his new Album during August through October  2006.

    Some tracks on this Album  are Hold the Vibes, Bad Boys, Pretty Lady, Open Your heart.  There are two remix – The Gun and First Class Citizen.
2007    This year Edi performed  in Toronto, Canada (Rasta Fest) and in Jamaica for the Boys Town Football Club in Kingston.  Plus various other shows in the island.  During this year Hold The Vibes was No. 5 on the Miami and LA- California Reggae Charts.  This album was also doing well in Europe and the Caribbean.

2008    Edi is working on a new album produced by Sargent Juggler to be released by mid 2008. Edi performed in 2008 on the GT Taylor, Rebel Salute, Phillip Fraser and Western Consciousness shows.  A tour is also being planned for 2009 in the U.S.A and Europe. 

2009    Edi recorded “Too Much Murder” and “Politician” with producer Sargent Juggler for Hillside Productions.  He recorded “Renegade” with Empress Dyana and Sam Carty.  Edi also recorded “Free Up Your Mind” for Thriller Music’s Devon Chambers. 

2010    Edi performed at the Long Beach and San Diego Raggamuffin Festivals as well as the Monterey Bay Reggae Festival in the summer of 2010.  He also performed extensively in Canada. 

2011    Edi performed at the 27th Annual Reggae on the River festival in Humboldt County, California. 

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