‘Royal’ performance from Tarrus Riley in St Ann
With a video that has amassed 97 million views on YouTube and comments that are as inspiring as the song itself, Tarrus Riley's She's Royal has proven to be the gift that keeps on giving.
It's little wonder therefore that when he started to sing last Saturday at Couples San Souci in St Ann, the audience became his choir, singing along word-for-word.
The event was the Issa Foundation's charity concert titled 'An Evening with Michael Bolton', and from the sustained screams of appreciation that greeted Bolton, there was no question who the audience had dressed up to see. However, there were moments when Riley was the 'real OG'.
Riley told THE STAR post-performance that the Dean Fraser-produced song is one of several from his catalogue that he hopes people will be listening to long after he transcends this Earth. She's Royal was one of the singles that was released from Riley's 2006 sophomore breakthrough album, Parables (VP Records).
"I just write a song from my heart, and it is really the people who keep it alive. She's Royal is dear to my heart and close to my mother and close to my daughters," said Riley, whose teenage daughter Tsehai had earlier accompanied him on the chorus of Lighter, his collaboration with Shenseea.
He continued: " She's Royal is about the culture. As Rasta youths we always a hear big man a call we 'king' and call woman 'queen', so we always a seh 'Wow this big man is calling me a king.' So we always know that we must always hold up we head and step royal. I could seh 'she's sexy' and I could seh 'she's pretty', but I said no, 'she's royal.' That's what women needed to hear at that time ... and at this time, too. And that's why we mek music. Me a try sing topics that a go last when me nuh deh yah no more."
Last Saturday, Riley, who was accompanied by his Blak Soil band, the members of which were all dressed in pure white, treated his fans to a slew of hits. Performing in front of a seated audience, with dignitaries including patron Lady Allen, Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet, and Entertainment Minister Olivia Grange sitting front row, Riley gave a performance that was comparable to his memorable showing at Intimate in January.
"When me do dem show deh with Michael Bolton and dem big foreign act deh, me feel like is a World Cup and me a represent fi Jamaica. So me nah compete but mi a seh 'Yow ... a our music... we haffi shine'," he told THE STAR.
In closing, Riley emphasised the importance of making every moment count.
"In the last two weeks a lot of things happen. It was mi [late] father birthday, mi grandmother passed, mi auntie passed, we lose Boom Dandimite ... a lot of things happen, so we just have to mek the most of every moment," he shared.