Azaleh—a Missouri-born, Harlem-bred reggae singer/songwriter—was heading to Las Vegas for a vacation to get some relief from the bitter East Coast cold. When she got there, she realized the hot bed of high life and escapism had a growing dancehall scene. Azaleh quickly laid down roots there and slowly set out to become Sin City’s breakout reggae star, bringing a laid back, yet vibrant vibe to the genre. “The reggae culture here is very huge,” Azaleh says, “but very small when it comes to artists.” That may soon change.
Reggae first touched Azaleh in her childhood home, thanks to her Jamaican lineage. “Reggae music has always doing something for me,” she says. “It’s very uplifting, very inspirational. Every time I hear it, it changes my mood. It’s just positive.” After working in Manhattan’s SIR Recording Studio as a receptionist, constantly in the presence of superstars, she made it her ambition to become a ghostwriter for mainstream reggae artists.
But things soon took a turn and she put her eye to the stage.
“I just wanted to write for people, because I write three or four songs a day,” she says. “I use it as a release, but at the same time people can identify what I’ve gone through as well. For my songs to be heard, I had to I had to actually come out with music and material.”
Among all her songs, her inspirational dance track “Where U Going” shot to such high demand among her fans that she cut a video (her first) and released it this March. Fans can expect another clip for her track “Rude Boy” to drop this August, followed by visuals to “Say My Name,” “Addiction” and “Satisfaction.”—Matthew Allen
Matthew Allen is a Brooklyn-based broadcast professional and music journalist whose work can be found in The Village Voice, Wax Poetics and elsewhere. Follow Allen on Twitter @headphoneaddict, and visit his music blog, The Well-Dressed Headphone Addict.
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