Miguel Orlando Collins (born 17 April 1976), known by his stage name Sizzla Kalonji or Sizzla, is a Jamaican reggae musician. He is one of the most commercially and critically successful contemporary reggae artists and is noted for his high number of releases.[1] As of 2018 he has released 56 solo albums.

Sizzla Kalonji (middle) in 2013
Sizzla Kalonji (middle) in 2013
Background information
Birth nameMiguel Orlando Collins
Also known asSizzla, Sizzla Kalonji
Born (1976-04-17) 17 April 1976 (age 48)
OriginSt. Mary, Jamaica
GenresReggae, ragga, dancehall
OccupationsDeejay, Singer
Years active1990–present
LabelsKalonji, Greensleeves, VP, Digital B, Xterminator

Biography edit

Sizzla was born in St. Mary, Jamaica, to devout Rastafarian parents.[2] Like them, Sizzla subscribes to the Bobo Ashanti branch of the Rastafari movement.[3] He was raised in August Town, Kingston, Jamaica where he studied mechanical engineering at Dunoon High School.

Career edit

Sizzla began to develop his own style whilst serving his musical apprenticeship with the Caveman Hi-Fi sound system.[4] He has used his music as a vehicle for his message, kickstarting his recording career in 1995 with a release through the Zagalou label,[5] he then teamed up with "Bobby Digital" Dixon for a series of singles.[6] Extensive touring with fellow Xterminator label mate roots and culture artist Luciano followed, earning Sizzla notoriety .[5]

Homer Harris, the same man who named and mentored Buju Banton got him his first break, introduced Sizzla to top Jamaican saxophonist Dean Fraser, the musical director for Philip "Fatis" Burrell's Xterminator Family. 1995 marked an important turning point for Sizzla when he began working with Fattis.[5] This union led to a run of successful singles and the release of Sizzla's debut album, Burning Up.[5]

The two allied again a year later with the follow-up, Praise Ye Jah (JetStar).[5] Praise Ye Jah was quickly trumped by his release of the Dixon-produced Black Woman & Child that same year.[6] The title track was a smash hit and became something of a cultural reggae anthem. Sizzla scored several more hits during 1997, including "Like Mountain," "Babylon Cowboy," "Kings of the Earth," and the Luciano duet "Build a Better World".[5] This hot streak kicked off an enormously productive recording binge that lasted over the next several years, with much of his output still done for Burrell.[5]

Along with universal praise came Sizzla's first nomination for Best International Reggae Artist of the Year at the 1998 MOBO Awards and a place in various magazines' top 100 albums of the year.[6] Sizzla has since released several dozen albums, including 1998's Kalonji and Royal Son of Ethiopia from 1999. 1999 also saw him receive his second MOBO nomination.[6] Sizzla remains a constant presence in the reggae charts worldwide. Currently, Sizzla has 21 albums that have made it onto the Billboard's Top Reggae Albums music chart, the highest Words of Truth, reaching the peak position of No. 5.[7]

Sizzla Kalonji has released over 45 solo albums and over fifteen combination albums, crossing different genres of Reggae.[5] He has started his own record company, Kalonji Records; which in a joint venture with Damon Dash Music Group and Koch Records, released the album, The Overstanding, in November 2006.[5] This was his third album released through Kalonji Records; as well as Black History and Life.[5]

Sizzla, along with reggae recording artists such as Capleton, Norris Man, Turbulence, Buju Banton, and Anthony B, are credited with leading a movement toward a re-embracement of Rastafarian values in contemporary reggae music by recording material which is concerned primarily with spirituality and social consciousness, explores common themes, such as Babylon's corrupting influence, the disenfranchisement of ghetto youth, oppression of the black nation and Sizzla's abiding faith in Jah and resistance against perceived agents of oppression.

Sizzla's 2008 effort, Ghetto Youth-ology, is produced by the Firehouse Crew, the same who produced Sizzla's debut, Burning Up.[8]

In 2013 he released the album The Messiah. In January 2014 it was nominated for a Grammy Award, his first nomination.[9] In 2014 Sizzla was featured in the song and video for Stephen Marley's single "Rock Stone."

His sons Raheem Collins and Melech Collons have followed him into a career in music, working under the name Reemus k and Skorcha.[10]

Judgement Yard edit

Judgement Yard was established as a community centre in August Town, an eastern suburb of Kingston, Jamaica, by Sizzla Kalonji.[11] Although Judgement Yard is an organisation of sorts, it is also a geographic location at 41 August Town Road, which is where Sizzla maintains one of his residences. Judgement Yard is also the home of Kalonji's state of the art studio, as well as his record label, Kalonji Records.[12] As the owner and founder of the Yard, Kalonji is responsible for many youths in the community of August Town, as well as youths who come from other areas to seek assistance and guidance in life as well as music. He is an influence to many. Many of these same youths who are members of Judgement Yard fraternity are musicians or have some direct affiliation with the music through production works, artiste works, etc.[11] Sizzla has recorded songs with the prominent artists in Judgement Yard, Joseph Shepherd, Bobo David and G-Mac.

Zimbabwe edit

In February 2010, Sizzla travelled to Zimbabwe to perform at the 86th birthday celebration of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.[13] There was a near-riot during his performance, including beatings of crowd members by police, causing Sizzla to temporarily halt his performance and ask the police to cease the beatings.[14]

Later that year, Sizzla was "rewarded" with a farm in the country, with the artist stating he was "here to stay" in Zimbabwe. He also voiced plans to begin an agro-business and build a recording studio in the country.[15] The moves were not without controversy, particularly among Mugabe detractors who insisted he not perform for the President.[16] Sizzla refused to condemn Mugabe post-performance, while insisting the land he received was not a reward from the Zimbabwean government, but given to him by the local people in appreciation for his performance. He also stated plans to eventually make Zimbabwe his permanent home.[16]

Motorcycle accident edit

On 24 August 2011, Sizzla was hit by a bus while riding his motorcycle along the Salem main road, near Runaway Bay in St. Ann, Jamaica, leading to many false reports of the singer's death. He resumed recording by the beginning of the following year.[17] In October 2019, he was yet again involved in another motorcycle accident and was hospitalized for a broken ankle.[18]

Controversy edit

Sizzla has faced backlash due to the anti-gay lyrics in some of his recordings,[19] causing the cancellation of many international concert events.

In 2004, he was barred from entering the United Kingdom for several concerts.[20] OutRage!, a British LGBT rights group alleged that some of Sizzla's songs contain lyrics that advocate violence against LGBT people. In 2007, Sizzla's concerts in Toronto and Montreal were canceled after protests from Stop Murder Music Canada coalition.[21] Kalonji's song titled, "Nah Apologize", was recorded in 2004. In 2008 his visa was cancelled, preventing him from entering Germany after performing half of his tour and he was sent back to the United States. Sizzla maintains his stance that he is an artist using his creative expression and freedom of speech but will speak out against injustice where he sees it.[22] In 2009[23] and 2010[24] several concerts in Germany were cancelled after public protests against the concerts. In 2012 concerts were cancelled in Madrid (Spain), Ghent, Belgium, Stockholm, Sweden and Lisbon, Portugal after public protests.[25] Kalonji Muzik issued a statement after the cancellations that he abides by the laws of every country that he performs in and is not trying to invoke or incite violence against anyone.

Discography edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Home for Caribbean Entertainment". TropicalFete.com. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  2. ^ Barrow, Steve & Dalton, Peter (2004) The Rough Guide to Reggae, 3rd edn., Rough Guides, ISBN 1-84353-329-4, p. 375
  3. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 364. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
  4. ^ Huey, Steve. "Sizzla Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Sizzla Biography". Don Prhotene Inc. Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2008.
  6. ^ a b c d Kalli, Joanna. "Sizzla Biography". Shashamane. Retrieved 9 May 2008.
  7. ^ Sizzla's albums on Billboard's Top Reggae Albums Chart, Billboard.com
  8. ^ "Music". VIBE. Archived from the original on 25 April 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  9. ^ "VP Records Enjoys Grammy Notice", Jamaica Gleaner, 12 January 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2014
  10. ^ Jackson, Kevin (2015) "Sizzla's Son in the Right Place", Jamaica Observer, 20 August 2015. Retrieved 22 August 2015
  11. ^ a b "About: Sizzla Kalonji's Judgement Yard". Judgementyard.com. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  12. ^ "Judgement Yard". Judgementyard.com. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  13. ^ Sizzla headlines Mugabe celebrations. New Zimbabwe. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  14. ^ Mhlanga, Carl. Sizzla defends police-brutalised Zimbabwe Fans Archived 6 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine. ZimEye. 2 March 2010.
  15. ^ Sizzla gets farm, settles in Zim. New Zimbabwe. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  16. ^ a b Maseko, Nozipho. Sizzla refuses to condemn Mugabe. The Zimbabwe Telegraph. 16 January 2011.
  17. ^ "Sizzla Not Dead – Sizzla Kalonji False Death Reports Surface After Accident". News.lalate.com. 15 October 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  18. ^ Reggae Icon Sizzla Hospitalized Following Motorcycle Crash
  19. ^ Huey, Steve. "Sizzla Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  20. ^ Bishop, Tom (4 November 2004). "Entertainment | Music | Ban threat aborts Sizzla UK tour". BBC News. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  21. ^ Krishna Rau / Toronto / Thursday, 11 October 2007 (11 October 2007). "Koolhaus cancels concerts amid queer outrage". Xtra.ca. Retrieved 1 June 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ "Spanien verweigert Sizzla die Einreise". Queer.de. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  23. ^ "Homophobie: Sizzla spielt in München – Berlin – Tagesspiegel". Tagesspiegel.de. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  24. ^ sueddeutsche.de GmbH, Munich, Germany (25 August 2010). "Veranstalter beugt sich dem Druck – Sizzla-Auftritt am Chiemsee abgesagt – Bayern". Sueddeutsche.de. Retrieved 8 March 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ Barroso, F. Javier (26 March 2012). "Cancelado en Madrid el concierto de un rapero acusado de homófobo". El País. Retrieved 27 March 2012.

External links edit