Sgt. Remo is making waves in the reggae scene both locally and abroad with the recent release of the official video for "No Man Stranded", off of his EP, Life is for the Living, released towards the end of 2012. "No Man Stranded" is a conscious tune that reassures listeners that Jah will never leave "no man stranded". It was featured as a Video of the Day on this blog in June.
Recently, Sgt. Remo took time out of his busy scheduled writing and performing to answer a few questions about himself and his music.
CVWA: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started in music?
SR: My name is Remo and I was born in Juarez, Mexico. I grew up there until I moved across the border to El Paso, TX. A lot of people ask me how I sing reggae music being from that area and I guess it's a valid question. That area does not have a strong Caribbean population or a strong influence in reggae but I started following reggae music from a young age and just fell in love it from day one. I've always sung from a young age but I began to chant dancehall around the year 2000-2001. When I lived in Corpus Christi, TX I met a Guyanese named Ali and a Jamaican by the name of Mistah Blaze and we started working together voicing over riddims and recording mostly dancehall songs. We recorded a few mix tapes and did a bunch of dubs but it never really went anywhere for me although it set a foundation for what would come later.
In 2005 I began to be more active in performing which took the music to a next level. I could say I honed my skills when I moved to New Mexico and lived there from '04 to '08. I was very surprised to find a strong reggae community in New Mexico. I performed quite a bit there with Brotherhood Soundsystem and a lot of stage shows. During this time I started recording more reggae and less dancehall. During the last few years I realized I needed to grow not only as an artist but also as a businessman in order to be successful in the music. The only route there is for most artists today, especially in reggae, is as an independent and this can be a tough road if you are not well prepared. So I have made a lot of effort to improve myself musically, of course, and also in different areas such as production, marketing, and distribution.
CVWA: What inspires you?
SR: Today my music is more reggae than dancehall although if you listen closely you can tell I'm still more of a lyricist than a singer. I grew up on Supercat, Buju, Barrington, Shabba and that era of reggae so my influences are in the dancehall but I like singing as well. I don't sing slack lyrics because my children are my biggest fans so whenever I write I have to write something worthy of their listening. As I've grown I've realized the impact of music on our culture and how powerful of a tool it can be. With this in mind I try to make a positive impact through my music. There is already too much negativity in the music and, although I respect some of it as entertainment, I think we should be mindful of what message we put out there and how that will affect the listeners.
CVWA: What is your latest project?
SR: Since last year I have stayed pretty busy with music with the release of my EP and a few releases on various riddim albums. Late last year I released my EP titled Life is for Living. This is my first solo project and I have been steadily promoting it since then. This past July I released the official video for the first single titled "No Man Stranded" which was filmed here in Jacksonville. It was a fun experience being involved in the production and editing from start to finish. I learned quite a bit from it. I just finished filming a second video a few days ago in New Mexico. I traveled there to do a performance and also to shoot a video for the song "Thunder & Lightning", also from the EP. I am also planning to shoot a third video for another song from the EP. That should wrap up the promotion for the EP.
In September I will be releasing an extended play single titled "Call on Jah". Don Goliath, a producer out of Germany, reached out to me about voicing on one of his riddims and after a few weeks we had the finished product. It sounds really nice. It’s a little different. He is a dubstep producer and he also sings a real catchy chorus on the song. The next big project I am working on is a follow up to the previously released Reggae SoulJahs Worldwide Vol. 1 which we released in 2011.
Reggae SoulJahs Worldwide Vol 2 is shaping up to be a huge project with a strong lineup of artists. The goal of Vol. 2 is to gather a truly “worldwide” group of artists, not only from JA but from around the world to showcase the vast global reach that reggae music has accomplished. I can’t really mention the list of artists just yet, except for myself, since we are still negotiating with several artists but this project is going to be great when we are finished. We have carefully reached out to artists who proudly represent their countries but are still delivering genuine culture reggae music. I am working with EA Productions from St. Petersburg, FL who has already produced several of my songs including "No Man Stranded". Some of the countries which will be represented include Jamaica, UK, Germany, Norway, Gambia, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Suriname, Netherlands and possibly a few more.
CVWA: What plans do you have for the future?
SR: I have so many plans for the near future and also down the road. I will probably be finished with a full length album next summer after the promotion of Reggae SoulJahs Worldwide Vol 2. I would like to do a tour next year as well throughout the US, Central and South America. I've really had a good time filming videos and I would like to continue to put out some good quality videos that are interesting to watch. There is so much left to be said in music. I want to cover a few topics that I think are not being addressed fully. Family is the strength of our societies. Families set the foundation for young people to carry on the legacy of their predecessors and I don’t see these values being promoted in mainstream media. If anything, I think there is an assault on the value of family and I think we can do a better job of bringing this, and many other important topics, to the forefront. So I’m not sure how we will be able to accomplish all of this but I know Jah will continue to provide the guidance.
CVWA: How can we keep in contact with you?
SR: Official Website www.sgtremo.com
Check out the official video for "No Man Stranded", filmed here in Jacksonville