About ROLAND BURRELL
Montego Bay , Jamaica
Realizing his strength as a songwriter, singer, musician, Roland Burrell is conscious of the challenges that is ever present in the pursuit of excellence within a very competitive music industry.
Roland Burrell was born in Pennants, Clarendon in Jamaica and was destined to become a star from his early days at John Austin School which set the stage for a career in the music field. Growing up in Trench Town, he met Bob Marley and Toots Hibbert who gave him inspiration and counseling as he would often ‘jam’ with them. During his growing artistic years, he sang with a group called The Shades, where he encountered Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, The Upsetter. Along with Conrad Brown, they produced “Lonely Man.” Thereafter, Roland quickly rose to popular fame when he recorded the chartbuster “Johnny Dollar,” a song that topped the Jamaican charts in Europe, USA and Japan.
He recorded his first album, “Johnny Dollar” for Tanka Records which included the hit songs “Hey Mama” and “Stormy Night.” He has several other albums to his credit, including “Fling Reggae in Park Heights” with Admiral Tibbet, on the Sir Tommy’s Label, “Intelligency” on the Rambana Label and featured on numerous ‘various artists’ albums. He also recorded the Hip-Hop versions of “Stormy Night” and “Johnny Dollar” for Sly & Robbie’s Taxi Label and his recording of “Picture On The Wall” also tore up the reggae charts. Roland Burrell has also released “Roland Burrell – The Best of Roland Burrell,” Reggae Masters Series on the Prestige Recording Label. The album was produced by Tanka Hill along with Leon and John Corall. Musicians included Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Lloyd Parks, Flabba Holt, Bingi Bunny, Dean Fraser, Ansel Collins and Bongo Herman, with backing vocals provided by The Tamlins and Roland himself. His many hits have given him the opportunity to tour extensively and this has resulted in many sold-out performances in Toronto and throughout the Eastern Caribbean, where his music has impacted on both Caribbean nationals as well as international audiences. Roland Burrell’s last album, “Break Free,” is nothing short of a masterpiece that refutes definition—other than being the music of “Roland ‘Johnny Dollar’ Burrell.” “Break Free” is a classis example of the powers of music and its ability to educate, mobilize and inspire a people, regardless of one’s musical taste, religious affiliation or political views. It delivers tracks such as “Hold You Tonight,” “Forever,” “Mix Up, Mix Up,” “Hoping and Wishing,” along with the title track, “Break Free,” just to mention a few. The album is very special in that it is steeped in meaningful social commentary, poetic expressions along with solid rhythm-driven tracks.
“Break Free” was recorded at some of the top recording studios in Jamaica, including Channel One, Anchor Recording Studio and The Record Factory. Musicians who played don the album includes Chris Meredith, Barry Gayle, Dennis Fearon, Tony Thomas and Lascelles Beckford. Roland’s music brings into sharp focus an in-depth understanding of Reggae and Rastafari. This is the foundation on which he has relied to direct his path. It is this revolutionary spirit that has propelled him in the hearts of the conscious, while also impacting on the hype-driven generation who are constantly in search of a positive message.
His music echoes a call to consciousness and superb arrangements and could easily point the way to international recognition of an artiste who single handedly pointed reggae music in new and interesting directions in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Roland Burrell represents a new, clear approach to reggae music and this resilient artiste has, over the years, has demonstrated his ability to get the attention of those who have come in contact with his music.