Jamaican Artist Demarco Talks New Album ‘Melody’ & Working With Rihanna, Sean Paul And Other Greats
Demarco is here to bring all the good vibrations and energy that comes with dancehall, one fire record at a time. Hailing from Jamaica, the recording artist, producer, and actor is a legend in his own right, a full creative who takes control over his art and even directs his own music videos. Before stepping into the limelight as his own artist, Demarco had the pleasure of working with some of music’s greats, such as producing Charly Black’s “Gyal You A Party Animal” and writing for the likes of Bounty and Rihanna.
Going on his 23rd year making music, Demarco describes himself as, “a very laid back guy. I’m a musician, a good father. I’m a very chill guy and I love music. Music is my passion. I love visual arts as well. I’m a simple guy, I just love music.”
Best known for his records “Fallen Soldiers,” “I Love My Life,” and “No Wahala” featuring Akon and Runtown, Demarco continues to pave the way for reggae, afrobeats, and dancehall. 14 years later after having to endure difficulties with his label and not being able to release music, Demarco is back with his highly-anticipated debut album titled Melody, via Oakland’s Ineffable Records. The 16-track project hails features from Shaggy, Sean Paul, Bounty Killer, Stephen Marley, and Konshens, and more.
AllHipHop: What does Jamaica mean to you?
Demarco: Jamaica means everything to me, that’s where I’m from. That’s my culture: the beaches, the nice food and the good vibes. Jamaica is the place to be. Jamaica is nice.
AllHipHop: How long have you been in Atlanta?
Demarco: Since 2017, that’s 4 years. [I came for] the music scene. I had to sort out my citizenship so I came here and had to sit down for a while. I came here and started making music.
AllHipHop: How long have you been making music?
Demarco: For a long time, since I was 16 years old. That’s about 23 years.
AllHipHop: You haven’t released a project in a decade. What happened with the label?
Demarco: The label just didn’t understand my music. After I put out some stuff, I tried to get off of the label but they didn’t want to release me until 10 years later. I was very young, like 22 or 23.
AllHipHop: I know a lot of people stuck in bad labels situations. How did you cope?
Demarco: With dancing/reggae music, you just could release. I was releasing singles and doing stuff for other producers. That’s how I got my income: doing shows, all that. I produce, as well as write for people.
AllHipHop: Speaking of, I know you worked with Rihanna…
Demarco: Yes, I did something for her. It’s not out yet though.
AllHipHop: What do you bring to the table working with such a big artist like her?
Demarco: I bring my own vibe. I bring my style of writing, production, everything. I bring the table to the artists, I am the table. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Debut album Melody out now, how are you feeling?
Demarco: I feel good about it, it’s my first official project. It’s a diverse album, there’s a lot of different moods to it. It’s music for everybody. It’s a fusion of reggaeton, dancehall, pop, alternative, everything. It’s a little bit of everything there.
AllHipHop: Talk about naming the album after your daughter.
Demarco: It’s a beautiful thing, I’m so proud. I feel so good. It’s flourishing, it’s doing great. My daughter brings luck to me. [laughs]
AllHipHop: How old is she?
Demarco: She’s one. It’s beautiful man. I love my daughter. She does new stuff every day, it’s amazing.
AllHipHop: Talk about linking with Sean Paul on “My Way.”
Demarco: I’ve known Sean Paul for years. We always talk about doing music together. I had the track, thought, “Sean Paul sounds like a good fit for the song” and I pitched it. They said, “yo this song, it’s tough. I like this. I’ma get on it.” And he did it.
AllHipHop: Just like that?
Demarco: Yes, because of my track record. People know I produce a lot of hit beats for people, write a lot of great music for people and I have a lot of great stuff myself out there. I’m credible.
AllHipHop: What about Shaggy on “Do It Again”?
Demarco: That song was recorded in 2009. That song is 12 years old. There’s a very respectable woman in Jamaica, she’s big in music. Her name is Sharon Burke. She’s the one who really linked me with Shaggy. From 2009, me and Shaggy have been rocking on music.
AllHipHop: How does it feel to put out a song 12 years later and it still be relevant?
Demarco: It’s great. That shows you I’ve been doing good stuff since way back. Music is timeless, you can’t put a time on music. Tomorrow, music could go back to the 70’s and people start dancing to 70’s type music. You can’t put a time frame on any style of music.
AllHipHop: What song means the most to you and why?
Demarco: One would be the “Mama” song, which I did with Ky-Mani Marley. I was a mama‘s boy. Rest in peace to my mom, she’s gone now. But I was a mama‘s boy. That’s one of the special songs to me on the album.
AllHipHop: I love that you collaborated with Stephen Marley on “Dance My Stress Away.”
Demarco: That song was also done in 2009. It was done by myself, and I let Stephen sing the hook. I let him record the chorus.
AllHipHop: What were you like in 2009 compared to now?
Demarco: I’m a loner, so I’ll be in my room creating music all day. I’m more outspoken now. I was a quiet guy. I was the behind-the-scenes guy, I didn’t even want to be an artist. I wanted to be behind the scenes because I started producing and writing, but stuff happens. I’m here now, talking with a great journalist right now.
AllHipHop: You also produced that record. How is it producing a record that you’re also an artist on too?
Demarco: I can do it all from producing, I engineer my own self, I record my own self. I write my own music, I even do my own music videos. I’m a director as well. I directed all of my videos.
AllHipHop: That must be very time-consuming.
Demarco: It is. It’s rough, but I just gotta do it because that’s what I love. I have to make time for It.
AllHipHop: How is the independent grind?
Demarco: It’s great! In this day, social media is everything now. I wouldn’t even advise artists to sign to a big record label, because social media is the way. If you have 500K or 600K followers on your page, why go to a major label? Get smart, learn the business and do your thing. Get a lawyer, get your stuff together, put out your music to your fans.
AllHipHop: One thing you want people to get from Melody?
Demarco: I want people to get the different range, the great songwriting, the great production. Walk away with a good feeling that the album gives you. It has a lot of different feelings, a lot of different moods.
AllHipHop: How does it feel to be the only artist to have Beenie Man and Bounty Killer on a song?
Demarco: It feels great. Growing up as a kid, Beenie Man and Bounty were my top artists. Bounty especially was my idol in music. Even when me and my cousin and I used to go to America in the summers, when I’m on the plane we’d have clashes. I’d sing Bounty Killer songs, he’d sing Beenie Man songs. We’d go back and forth. To grow up and see I’m creating music with these icons is a blessing.
AllHipHop: How difficult or easy was it to get those features?
Demarco: Honestly, it wasn’t difficult at all. A lot of artists have too much pride. For me, the song is called “Homage.” There’s no pride or ego there, I’m just bigging up the people who were before me. I’ve learned from them and they inspire me. I’m giving them their flowers before they’re gone, that’s it.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Demarco: Inspiration, a good beat, and herbs sometimes. [laughs]
AllHipHop: What’s your relationship with cannabis?
Demarco: I’m not a big smoker, I smoke sometimes when I want to catch a vibe. It relaxes me and makes me think more. I can recite more lyrics sometimes, and find more creativity.
AllHipHop: Are you doing any more acting? I know that you were in Sprinter.
Demarco: I just did a short film, the video I have with Shaggy. We have an extended version releasing soon. It’s 11 minutes, there’s acting in there. Yes, I’m going to do some movies, everything. I have the equipment, I do everything myself. I have the cameras and all the gear.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from that short film?
Demarco: Expect to be laughing, it’s funny and well put together. The quality is out the roof.
AllHipHop: The album hit over 4.5 million streams on Spotify. You waited so long, how does that make you feel to see those numbers?
Demarco: It feels good, but it makes me feel like I want to go harder to promote. I want the numbers to be way bigger than that. I give God thanks, God is great, but I need that world stage. I need that big stage. It’s happening because see, I’m doing an interview with you. You’re part of the big stage, thank you.
AllHipHop: Are you performing at all?
Demarco: Yeah, I have a couple of shows lined up. I’m putting together a tour for the album. I’m also thinking about coming out with some Melody cologne. I’m going to have 1000 pieces exclusive, working on that right now.
AllHipHop: Do you have any other products?
Demarco: No, I’m trying to work on some bucket hats because that’s my style right now. The logo would be my face with another bucket hat, with the glasses.
AllHipHop: What are you most excited for next?
Demarco: I get to do everything I want to do. I wake up everyday and do what I love. It gets me excited.