As a musician Half Pint began his musical career while singing in the school choir and later after his schooling was completed he continued on by seeking work as a vocalist in the Jamaican music scene. For more than four decades Half Pint performed and wrote music as a Reggae artist, and has released more than 20 albums and has plenty of hit songs on his resume as well. The hit tune “Winsome” was covered by the Rolling Stone band, and was retitled as “Too Rude” on their “Dirty Work” record.
Happy to be living life and playing music, Half Pint is touring in North America and in this interview he talks with the Ithaca Times about his fans and his life in music.
Ithaca Times: Reggie music seems popular to many people the world over. What was it that drove you to write and perform it for more than four decades?
Half Pint: For me it’s very much like a folk type of music, but it’s really soul to the mind of people from Jamaica. So they can be more social, more economical and more spiritual. Some of them are entertained and they like to dance. For the music to me like life in general – it’s very like life.
IT: The song “Sally” is unique for you – can you talk about why it was a big hit for you in Jamaica? And how you came to write it?
HP: Okay. Well the song “Sally” I recorded in 1983—it was the first release from my album and it’s like coming from the fans. The people at the time would prefer to dance in the dance aisle, and the people would know it actually before I recorded it. The song was actually released in 1983, yes. I think and that song was my first debut single. And the writing ability about it came from some of the social way of life. Because I grew up with my grandfather and grandmother living together—those words came to me like that.
IT: Of the many hit songs that you have written, which one would you say was the hardest to compose?
HP: Oh, actually all my hit songs came from when they were written and performed live in the dance aisle like in 1978, ’79. And I’ve written new songs and put together -- some of them were written on paper and some in my mind and art.
The political picture was written from what was taking place in Jamacia, 1980, ‘81, ’82. Political bribery was high—so those songs were written around the experience of social art and business back at that time. So “Money Man Skank” was a song that which was written and portrayed eventual poor people don’t have money in the bank—more rich people have money in the bank. And “Mr. Landlord” was written about the tenement.
So these are just some of my experiences I had and also I have out of my lived experiences and through some of those [experiences] in my life.
IT: What are your hopes for Reggae music in the next decade?
HP: I am hoping for Reggae music to be more taken into consideration by the younger generation. Reggae music is about life, and about values, and social order, and must be kept with honor and respect. And lending that quality of being sociable with equal rights and justice. And I look for Reggae music defending the poor, unifying, and more economically strong.
IT: In your spare time how do you relax?
HP: I do relax really, and I do meditation about world events and the world situation.
IT: Would you like to say anything more about the upcoming concert in Ithaca or to your fans?
HP: Well to my fans I want them to know that I love them and appreciate them very dearly. And also I want to be confirming I am very grateful—my fans I do believe in them and love like they do me and love my songs.
I am trying to let them know, please bare with me until you see me and I will be sing songs for you all. And giving you all thanks, and blessings and love—more blessings and love for the fans. And they will love me also. Thank you.
Half Pint will perform on January 23rd, at 8 p.m. at the Haunt.