Island Vibez

ZIA BENJAMIN

Kingston, Jamaica

Zia Benjamin is a Jamaican singer and songwriter known for her soulful voice and unique mix of genres: jazz, blues, retro- dancehall, pop, and reggae, which she dubs ‘Rum Shop Blues’. A mosaic of cultural influences, she is black, white and Carib Indian. The world was first introduced to her voice when she featured on multi-platinum, grammy winning artist, Sean Paul’s song ‘Standing There’. Zia also appeared on Major Lazer’s ‘Free the Universe’ album, which peaked at number 1 on the US Billboard Dance/ Electronic Albums chart and 34 on the US Billboard 200. She both wrote and sang the chorus on the album’s 7th single ‘Jet Blue Jet’, which became one of the most popular songs on the album, garnering over 92 million views on youtube.

In 2015, Zia released her first single ‘No Fame’ produced by legendary reggae DJ and producer Rory Stone Love. Zia’s jazzy vocals caught the attention of respected BBC Radio DJ, David Rodigan, who tweeted that he was “truly blown away by [Zia’s] song~spoken word gem”.

No Fame’ is part of a compilation of songs released on veteran reggae producer Rory Stone Love’s ‘Zeen Riddim’. The song represents Zia’s response to the mass commercialism that has become a staple of today’s music industry and the role/ portrayal of women within that industry in particular. The song takes the form of a conversation Zia is having with herself. She describes an internal battle between throwing herself into the music industry, being seduced by the prospect of fame and fortune, the ‘city lights’ as she calls it, and feeling as if that, once achieved, will never satisfy her. She sings, “I love that life you see/ love a wild night, high heels and Hennessy/ black cards, big rims, and limousines/ catch a flight love’ s all for free/ but what a shame it’ s not the same/ cant find love in that game/ there’ s nothing colder than fame”. The song acts as a ‘hats-off’ to artists and musicians who have given themselves up to the musical journey for the sheer love of music, despite the fact that ‘the industry’ will show its dark side to most artists who travel that path.

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