She has backed both as a keyboardist and a vocalist such internationally known reggae artists as Alton Ellis, Leroy Sibbles, Delroy Wilson, Ras Michael, Joe Higgs, Abijah, Ras Midas, Carlton Livingston and Isaac Haile Selassie. She recorded "Zema," her first album of original material, at Channel One Studio in Jamaica which received extensive air play and was well received touring the western United States. "Stranger in the Gates," Zema's second album, was widely aired on radio throughout the U.S. and abroad.
It includes renown reggae drummer Sly Dunbar and Zacky, the original keyboard player for the Twinkle Brothers. On Zema's third album, "Look at the Heart," she again showcases her talents as singer/songwriter, arranger and producer. This release is mixed by legendary Jamaican engineer, Hopeton "The Scientist" Brown, includes a guest appearance by nyabinghi master, Ras Michael, and features top flight reggae musicians including original members of The Rastafarians and Twinkle Brothers. "Black Sheep," Zema's fourth album, was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica with a stellar cast including such reggae stalwarts as Horsemouth, Dalton Browne and Dean Frazer.
Mixed by Soljie and Sylvan Morris, "Black Sheep" has garnered tremendous response with its hard-driving rhythms and sweet vocals. New Zema releases for 2005 include the single, "Stoned Love" featuring Abijah which has been aired on IRIE FM, ROOTS FM and HOT 102 in Jamaica. The "Stoned Love" video can be seen worldwide and on Jamaican TV. In addition to performing at the Western Consciousness stage show in Savnnah-la-Mar, Jamaica, 2005 has also brought Zema back to Kingston to Tuff Gong Studio recording new material for the next album with Sly and Robbie, The Gladiators and more combinations with Mark Wonder and Al Griffiths.
Zema has performed throughout Southern California, in Jamaica and Israel as well as at many reggae festivals across the U.S. She has shared the stage with such legendary performers as Bunny Wailer, Luciano, Ky-mani Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Buju Banton, and Third World. Zema's music has been called healing music for the 21st century. Her style of conscious reggae music brings the universal message of love, justice, racial harmony and spiritual upliftment combined with driving roots reggae grooves in powerful, dynamic and mesmerizing performances that captivate wide audiences with inspiring music that uplifts the heart and soul and keeps your feet dancing! HERE IS WHAT THE PRESS IS SAYING ABOUT ZEMAâ€™S MUSIC: "Unwaveringly spiritual and conscious roots reggae ...
This is music that works its way deep within you like a fervent prayer and resonates with the reassurance of a prayer answered. Roots reggae lovers should track this one down at all costs." -- Tom Orr, World Rhythm Recommendations "A very solid album... The message in the songs is right on point. This album is definitely one of 1999's best albums." -- Jabulani Nyathi, DJ, WHRW, New York "One of the best female artists in reggae music today - [a] velvet voice." -- Tal â€˜Dr.
Reggaeâ€™ Grubstein, DJ, Radio Eshel, Israel "Considering the depth and quality of the music we receive (and program) here on WTJU-Charlottesville, it's amazing when we receive overwhelming response from the listeners, especially with her music. In addition to the calls, I've gotten letters in the mail, e-mail, word-of-mouth... there is something about this music that inflames the listener." -- Scott "Goldfinger" Shisler, DJ, WTJU "This is truly an excellent set of songs... indeed a spiritually uplifting CD." -- Clinton Lindsay, DJ, WWRL, Jamaica, NY "Pure-hearted consciousness [Look at the Heart]...
Soothing and spiritual reveries from a true voice of peace and overstanding. `Stranger in the Gates' is filled with Zema's timeless answers to the questions of survival in a world that has lost its way. This is healing music for the 21st century" -- Roger Steffens, Founding Editor, The Beat Magazine "This is an outstanding album worthy of a permanent place on everyone's playlist" -- Dub Missive Magazine "It is one of my favorite releases of the year. .
. It's very much a modern release but still captures that sort of ethereal spirit of the roots reggae hey day from days of yore." -- Robert Nelson, DJ and music reviewer for Dub Missive and The Beat Magazines. Exclusive Interview with GospelReggae.com GR: What are you? Please share your beliefs with us and clear air once and for all. Zema: I get asked all the time, "What are you?" On the street they think I'm Jewish or Muslim or Rasta or Christian or just strange.
Even when I'm in the airport, other Americans ask me what country I'm from! Well, I don't want to be "of this world" but rather about my Father's Kingdom. The truth is I'm a Nazarite and that was my purpose in becoming locks (FYI the Nazirite vow is a vow of consecration/dedication to the Lord in Numbers 6). Also I've been a Ger Sha'ar or a Messianic Believer (a believer in Yeshua HaMashiach, of course!) for most of my life, i.e., I'm a non-Jew (at least as far as I know) who is connected to a Messianic Jewish Congregation and/or lifestyle. I'm very much "out of the box" but then so is God when we allow Him to be.
GR: Tell us about your name. I know that a lot of people tend to mispronounce it. Zema: My birth name is Melody. "Zema" is Amharic, (an Ethiopian language) for "Melody".
The correct pronunciation is "Zay-mah" NOT "Zee-mah". GR: How did you begin doing music? Zema: I've been a musician all my life. I started playing piano at 7 and played piano in church for the children's choir. How I got into reggae is I heard a Bob Marley album on a rock station growing up in Detroit.
I bought the album and wore it out. Years later, my mother was at the same cancer clinic in Germany as Bob was. I went to visit her and had the opportunity to meet Bob and talk with him. I was invited to what would be his last Birthday party.
There I realized that there was more to this reggae thing than music, that there was a whole culture and positive spiritual vibe around the music. When I returned home I began to seek out more reggae, joining a reggae band and embarked on a journey as an artist that has taken me to experiences that are beyond my wildest expectations. At the time I didn't realize it but as I look back, I see how God had brought all these circumstances together to set me on a course that would fulfill His purpose and bring me great joy. GR: If you could share the stage with any Christian or secular artist in the world (living or dead) who would it be? Zema: King David, the psalmist.
GR: What were the last 5 CDs that you put in your disc changer? Zema: 1) "Father and Sons" The Gladiators. 2) Burned CD from Mark Wonder of his various singles. 3) "Fireside Chats with John Paul Jackson" from Streams Ministries. 4) Burned CD from Abijah of his new music.
5) Burned CD of music I recorded with Gregory Fabulous of Dread UK in London - trying to figure out which of the two dubs to use for the release. GR: Read any good books lately? Zema: "The Beginner's Guide to Hearing God" by Jim W. Goll. One of the best books I've read on this crucial topic.
GR: Name something personal that gives you great satisfaction. Zema: Being overshadowed by the Presence of the Almighty. He fills all the broken places inside and give us a natural high. Nothing in the universe can compare - not all this world's money, fame, sex or drugs all together can even come close to the power of the living God.
GR: What is your philosophy of stage ministry? Is there any one message that you always want to leave with your audience? Zema: To love one another. GR: What is the best audience that you have ever played in front of? Zema: Tucson, Arizona at the Bob Marley Festival. I was surprised the audience knew the lyrics to most of my songs and almost everyone was singing along and drowning me out! Also Kibbutz Ze'elimin in Israel - a very attentive and appreciative audience. GR: What goes through your mind before you go onstage at the average show? Zema: That I have enough strength to live up to my calling as an ambassador for the Kingdom.
That I don't space out and forget the lyrics! And I pray the band feels the vibe and we don't mess up. GR: Do you prefer being in the studio or on the road?? Zema: The studio because you can experiment more and do it over if you don't like the first take. GR: Why do you do music? What is your primary goal? Zema: To touch people and turn the hearts of the children to the father even if just for a 3 minute song. I have no delusions of being a reggae star.
There is only one true star - the Bright and Morning Star. I'm more interested in getting people to strengthen themselves spiritually through music, that's much more satisfying for me as an artist. GR: Are you working on any future projects/releases that we should look out for? Zema: Yes! I have to give thanks that I have a new album scheduled to be released early 2006 that features Sly and Robbie and the Gladiators. I'm a huge fan of them both and it was such an honor to be able to work with them.
Sometimes I wonder what He (God) is gonna do next! It also includes combinations with singers Abijah, Mark Wonder and Al Griffiths (the son of Albert Griffiths of the Gladiators) Ministry My purpose in life is to turn the hearts of the children to the Most High God using my gifts as a psalmist, and most importantly through my actions and lifestyle, to glorify the Almighty, uplift and encourage, and present a positive image for women in music. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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