NEW YORK – Singer and songwriter Elijah Rocq is anticipating new career success when he drops his latest single There for You on all major streaming platforms later this fall.
The new single, described by Rocq as “Dancehall Afro- Soul infused with elements of reggae ” is produced by Rocq himself and was recorded with Atlanta based Red Eye Media Studios.
In an era of female empowerment and greater appreciation for the importance of women in our personal lives and the wider society, Rocq believes the timing of the single is especially significant.
“Well, I have always been a romantic at heart,” says Rocq, born in Brooklyn as the sixth of nine children.
“But even though these lyrics speak very much about how a particular woman grabs my attention and literally blows my mind, I think the song speaks to a wider appreciation of the female gender- their beauty, their strength, their mystery and their ability to capture and hold our attention. I look at the incredible summer we have had with our Reggae Girlz at the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament and even what our Jamaican ladies just achieved at the recently concluded World Athletics Championships held in Budapest- and I’m just so very proud of them. So this is really a love song that is also dedicated to all the women out there who continue to inspire us into wanting to be there for them and supporting them in all that they do.”
The song marks the latest milestone on a musical journey that began for Rocq several decades ago growing up in his large family, first in Brooklyn and subsequently in Jamaica, after his mother married his Jamaican stepfather and moved there when Elijah was 10 years old.
His mother’s love for music and her desire to share it with her children, lead to her giving them musical instruments and turning her family into a band. Elijah would listen to his mother sing while they played, and decided at an early age that he would make singing his profession.
“I can hardly remember a time when there wasn’t music playing in the house,” he recalls, “And I grew up listening to the likes of Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, The Chi -lites, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Steel Pulse, just to name a few. When my family moved to Jamaica, we settled in a small district in the hills of St. Ann. I can remember running around barefooted, catching fish and fetching water and really appreciating the natural habitat of the land, where there were always melodious sounds from the water, the wind and the chirping birds. Those natural sounds brought sweet melodies to my ears, and as a result of that, even today I compose my music psychologically.”
His love of singing lead him to performances at hotels, family outings, weddings, and ultimately, to the formation of his first music group, Access, with some of his friends during his teenage years. Along with another member of Access, he eventually formed the group Two Soul and, working out of UB40’s studio in Oracabessa, St. Mary, they released two songs- Freedom and Kumbaya, of which he remains very proud.
An invitation to join the Black Male Band from Kingston lead to an opportunity to sing at the 2006 Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival and, fortuitously, at National Heroes Park with the great Dean Fraser. It was then that he received the phone call that would ultimately alter the course of his life and his career.
“After seeing me perform with Dean Fraser, the leader of the band Live Wya called me and asked if I would join them as their lead vocalist. It would turn out to be a life changing opportunity, because after accepting their offer, I toured all over the USA, Europe and Japan-literally seeing the world for the first time. I had the honor of sharing the stage with legends such as Marcia Griffins, Sanchez, Buju Banton, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Sly & Robbie and Gregory Isaacs to name just a few. Working with Gregory Isaacs was almost surreal because I grew up hearing my mother play his music in our house, not knowing that in later years, I would eventually meet him and actually tour with him. And so I’ve always felt the need to pay respect and homage to my mother for her love of music, which essentially gave me my passion and my career.”
In subsequent years, Rocq has gone on to have some success as a solo artist, with songs such as We Must Go On, Guess You Didn’t Know and Tell Me What You Want which was released last year and distributed by V-pal records.
But he feels that the energy around There for You just feels different this time around.
“I just think this particular love song will really strike a chord with many people as an anthem of love to women and a kind of healing balm to gender relations while speaking to what it means for women to have the love and support of a great partner. We are just putting the finishing touches on the single now and I can’t wait to see how it’s received in the near future. I really do believe it could be a major success for me.”