Tmrw.Tday headline veteran Protoje is coming back again for another year, and this time, he’s coming with some serious recognition. His fourth studio album, A Matter of Time, has been nominated for Best Reggae Album at this year’s GRAMMY Awards. This is the first time he’s been nominated for a GRAMMY, but as the album suggests, it was only a matter of time before it would happen. Fusing hip-hop, orchestral jazz, and dancehall, this album is breaking new ground for reggae.
Winning a GRAMMY was definitely a goal when he started out, but it was never his sole focus. Although he knew he was evolving the genre, he didn’t really expect to get nominated on his fourth album. He actually thought his third album, Ancient Future, would have been the one to get nominated since it had one of the biggest reggae songs of the decade.
When it didn’t get nominated, he simply moved on and just focused on creating good music. Good thing he did, because the music ended up speaking for itself. He actually found out through his mom, who called him and told him as soon as she found out. His parents are very supportive of his career, as is the Jamaican community back at home. “In the Jamaican music scene, there’s a lot of people who are supportive of each other. Everybody tries to support and help each other. I really like where it’s heading,” he tells the GRAMMYS.
“I have a commitment to those that listen to my music, or even those that don’t.”
He credits a lot of the musical innovation to his producer, Winta James. A lot of people see reggae as being a ‘sacred’ genre, but Protoje believes that every genre of music grows and evolves. He doesn’t feel any pressure about making music; he’s not trying to be different or do anything drastic. He simply makes what he likes and what feels good to him. “It’s just making the record the best way you can, taking the songs that are in your head and putting them down on record.” Music has always been part of Protoje’s life, and it was when he was 13 or 14 that he actually considered it could be a job. Now, music provides everything for him and his family, and that is something he is eternally grateful for.
He’s spent the greater amount of 2018 on tour, performing at festivals like Reading and Leeds, and opening for Lauryn Hill. He hit Tmrw.Tday back in May, and we can definitely attest to his performance. He had the entire audience singing along, dancing, and all we saw was a sea of endless smiles. Jamaica is where it all started, and that’s where it always ends. It’s where the people get excited, where everyone comes out to celebrate the music, and most importantly, where they get to invite and involve the youth. For such a small country, Jamaica has had such an impact on world culture and sound.
“Performing in Jamaica is very important. Those are always my favourite shows. There’s nothing like it.”
So what’s next? “More music, more music, more music!” he tells the GRAMMYS. He’s in the process of building his own studio, which means he’ll be able to record music whenever, and for however long he wants to. He’s looking forward to just experiencing life, and taking it one day at a time.
“Things happen when it’s your time. You don’t have to worry about anything. Take your time and see what happens.”
He didn’t know A Matter of Time would lead him to a GRAMMY, but that’s the funny thing about life. You never know where it will take you. All you can do is live one day at a time, and be fully present in what you’re doing. Stop worrying so much about Tmrw, and start living in Tday. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll end up exactly where you need to be.
To see Protoje at Tmrw.Tday 2019, head here.