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Hitting right notes


Leigh-Ann Worrell­

Hitting right notes

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EMPRESS: EVOLVED.
Unleashed by a spiritual awakening, Leanne Vanessa Lee Humphrey has found both self and sound, and is ready to share them with the world. The dreadlocked singer/songwriter highlighted her evolution with a big Boom She Laa, released on January 1.
“This is the first time that I am getting to produce something that I wrote and had control. I produced things before . . . but this is the first time using the style and message that I wanted to send,” Vanessa Lee said excitedly.
“This is a new phase in my life and this [song] is the first concept that came out in this new phase.”
Powerful rock-inspired reggae riffs open Boom She Laa, which the 21-year-old explained spoke to the duality of life. Lyrics evoke reggae’s forefathers through emphasis on world politics, religion and of course, the conquering force of love.
“Kingston town, don’t let the struggle get you down,” the song begins. “Forward Bridgetown/ Don’t you see you see a culture strong?”
Despite problems, she sings of a hope for more: “You’ll see a better world inna Zion, you’ll see/ You’ll see a better world in a lion, you’ll see/ You’ll see a better world in the conscious man/ You’ll see through I and I boom she la la la . . .”.
Interestingly, the 21-year-old has revealed there was no major turning point to her new awareness, saying it came about gradually.
“I just have a different viewpoint and perception of things and more control and confidence in my perception. That is how I found myself,” the uncaged songbird stated in her EASY interview at the Nation offices last week.
Fearlessness was another important component: “If you play . . . safe all the time, you ain’t gine figure out nothing,” Vanessa Lee asserted candidly.
A natural talent, the singer became a recognizable rising star on the local music scene a few years ago.
She enjoyed a one-year stint in the Fully Loaded band and had various back-up vocal gigs during the Crop-Over season. Vanessa Lee is also an alumna of Honey Jam Barbados and winner of the Beat One talent search three years ago.
Despite formidable singing chops, the former Queen’s College student decided to study acting at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica. With just two semesters left, Vanessa Lee took a chance on her musical career and switched to the associate degree programme in music – a move she does not regret.
“It is helping me to understand the notes I sing and how I sing, so I have a better way of relaying things to musicians and to myself.”
Classmates also encouraged her to make the choice, and she continued to receive the loving support of her biggest fan: her mother.
“My mother real supportive and she got faith in me as an artiste,” she said with a smile. “Plus, my reason [for changing majors] was valid – I had to go after my passion. I was passionate about [acting] too . . . but I was born saying that I wanted to be a recording artiste.”
She strongly believes music is her calling, especially at a time in the world where things can be uncertain and frankly a little disappointing.
“I think the time is coming where the world is looking for music with love in it and I think I can be a beacon of love. I got a purpose and I want to help with the shift of consciousness with love. I doing it without fear and I think the message will be sent.”
Like many other artistes, she began singing in the church – Bethel Methodist to be exact. However, organised faith has become less vital on her journey.
“I am less of a religious person now, and I more live my life based on love and the energies around me. They became more important than branding myself as just one kind of energy. I feel like if I brand myself as something that is apart from others it is hard to connect with them, and that is also how people can connect with my music,” she opined.
For 2014, Vanessa Lee plans to release a song each month, fusing reggae with classic rock and jazz. Next month’s single of course will be dedicated to the lovers, but as for the others, her spirit will be her guide.
“I don’t know what will come but I know I will be making music and promote a shift of consciousness through love.”

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