Tarrus Riley is mixing styles on his newest album and he’s spreading it “like a virus.”
So many artists are throwing a little reggae into their music, and Thanks to artists like Sean Paul, Beenie Man and Shaggy it’s really entered the mainstream in America. Now, the title of Tarrus’ newest album, Contagious, is an outright acknowledgement of the growing trend.
As these things usually go, the album had tracks before it had a name, and one song called “Love’s Contagious” got the wheels spinning in Tarrus’ head. However, he didn’t want it to be a title track situation because Contagious covers more topics than just love. So what an idea that was sparked by a song became a description of his music.
“I started thinking about ‘contagious’ and then it’s cool, ’cause my music, I want it to be contagious,” he explained. “And I believe my music is becoming contagious, you know?”
And it’s true: His music is definitely catching on in a bunch of different circles. It’s reached so many people that his audience now is composed of a range of age groups. At any given show you might have some little old lady getting down to some reggae with her grandbabies.
“It’s people from like 16 to 60. A lot of time the whole family comes,” Tarrus told S2S. “I went to St. Petersburg and I saw a youth in the audience who was 9. I don’t even know how he got in the club. And he knew all the songs.”
With listeners as little as that thank God he keeps him clean. But what skimps on in dirty lyrics (and that’s never much of a loss), he more than makes up for with all his tropically tinged.
Contagious isn’t just dancehall, and it isn’t just traditional reggae, rather it boasts a rich mix of different flavors or reggae music. And we’re sure that’s part of what has helped it catch on with so many people.
And, like many artists, Tarrus took time to pay tribute to Michael Jackson with a cover of “Human Nature.” But he recorded it a year ago well before Michael’s tragic passing, so the release of Contagious is also pushed by a bit of serendipitous timing.
But, Tarrus’ favorite track is one called “Young Heart” that tells the story of a man thinking back on his first love from high school. Sounds very sweet.
To catch a case of Tarrus’ music, pick up Contagious at stores and online retailers now.
— Sonya Eskridge
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