by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – Turbulent times often bring out the best in musicians. The Civil Rights Movement inspired Curtis Mayfield to write People Get Ready, while social upheaval in the United Kingdom rallied punk classics like London Calling by The Clash.
Barbadian singer/songwriter Krisirie had no such lofty expectations when she wrote the first lyrics of Return to Love five years ago, but like Mayfield and The Clash, was concerned for a world in free-fall.
According to Krisirie, “I was being used as a vessel for a message that the world needed to hear and be reminded of.”
Co-written by veteran Jamaican musicians Willie Stewart and Handel Tucker, Return to Love was released in June. Stewart and Tucker are co-producers.
On the heart-rending single, Krisirie is accompanied by Tucker on piano. It is complemented by a video of the pixel-haired singer baring her soul, calling for solutions to the world’s ills.
Krisirie was born Kristen Walker in Christ Church, a parish in Barbados where Shirley Chisholm — the first black woman in the United States Congress — spent some of her formative years.
She has been recording professionally since 2015 and points to a diverse cast of artists as influences.
“I grew up on reggae music; artists such as Beres Hammond, Third World and Bob Marley have been big influences from early. Sade and Drake have been a true inspiration. Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and a lot of the jazz standards have been so instrumental in my development!” she exclaimed.
Krisirie was introduced to Stewart, a former member of Third World, and Tucker, by fellow Barbadian, saxophonist Arturo Tappin. She said they clicked instantly after meeting at Stewart’s South Florida studio where Return to Love was recorded.
Tucker, whose musician and production credits include work with Hammond, Maxi Priest and Nadine Sutherland, gives Krisirie high marks.
“I believe Krisirie is a very exciting prospect for music right now, especially coming out of the Caribbean. She comes with a fresh perspective that has the ability to resonate globally,” he said.
Naturally, Krisirie hopes Return to Love will be a success, but she is also looking to emulate the song’s message.
“In a year’s time I see myself being in a position to give back to causes I am passionate about in a truly impactful way. Continuing to make great music, playing more shows around the world, and collaborations with some of my favorite artists, like Chronixx and Popcaan. All in due time!”