SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Richie Stephens, the man behind the reggae-dancehall melody, ‘Sail Away Riddim’ featured on Rihanna’s US chart topper ‘Work’ ft. Drake is headed to Australia this November and is bringing with him the genre of music that “always feels right” to Rihanna.
Rihanna confirmed in the cover interview of American Vogue, November 2019 edition, her next album “is reggae-inspired and will be reggae-fused.”
The 2015 lead single Work ft Drake from the album ANTI by the Bajan singer marked the return to her dancehall roots. The song features the reggae-dancehall ‘riddim’ originally released in 1998 by Jamaican music veteran and former Motown Records recording artist Richie Stephens. The Caribbean inspired music video reaching over a billion views on You Tube.
Currently on the South East Asian leg of his ‘Jamaican Flava’ World Tour, Stephens will perform six shows in capital cities around Australia with Singaporean born reggae artist Masia One. This includes ‘The Jamaican Music and Food Festival’ in Melbourne (10 November) and Sydney (16 November).
Passionate about the roots of Jamaican music and its preservation, Stephens musical archives boast a diversity of sound and style from soulful gospel and within the reggae genre – lovers rock ballads, traditional reggae, ska and dancehall.
On the subject of reggae, Rihanna had this to add “It doesn’t matter how far or long removed I am from that culture, or my environment that I grew up in; it never leaves. It’s always the same high. Even though I’ve explored other genres of music, it was time to go back to something that I haven’t really homed in on completely for a body of work.”
In 2016, Stephens was awarded for his musical contribution to Rihanna’s Work ft Drake at the ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Hollywood, received the R&B Award at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards and was awarded for ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘Top Digital Song of the Year’ at the ASCAP London Music Awards.
Stephens has toured with James Brown, enjoyed early career international chart success as lead vocalist on the single ‘Joy’ with Grammy Award Winning Group Soul ll Soul (Back to Life) and boasts collaborations with artists from across the globe. (UK, USA, ASIA, GERMANY, ITALY, AFRICA)