by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – When pop star Jason Mraz and musician/producer Michael Goldwasser were in the planning stages of Mraz’ first reggae album, the inevitable idea of doing a ganja song came up.
Goldwasser knew the perfect artist for Mraz to share the mic with — Sister Carol. Their song, Time Out, is from Look For The Good, Mraz’ latest album which is number three on Billboard Magazine’s Current Reggae Albums Chart.
“I’ve always admired her conscious lyrics and she’s an amazing live performer. I can’t remember exactly how we first met in person but her vibes were great right from the beginning and she became one of the first major artistes that I produced for Easy Star,” said Goldwasser, who is principal of Easy Star Records, a New York independent company.
He added that, “I introduced Jason Mraz to her music last year and he really loved it, so when we were looking for a guest artist for the song Time Out she was a logical choice.”
Sister Carol is one of the most popular touring acts in reggae, along with Toots and The Maytals and Damian “Junior Gong” Marley. Thanks to a series of well-received albums going back to the 1980s, she has a solid base throughout the United States, particularly in California and Arizona.
At age 61, Sister Carol sees working with Mraz, 43, as mutually beneficial.
“Recording with him can introduce me to his fan base while I’m introducing him to mine,” she said.
Originally from Virginia, Mraz is a longtime reggae fan known for pop hits including The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) and I’m Yours.
Another celebrity admirer of Sister Carol was Jonathan Demme, the Oscar-winning director for The Silence of The Lambs. She had cameos in four of his movies.
“My friendship with Jonathan Demme began at a nightclub in New York City called club S.O.B’s. My beloved sistren Judy Mowatt and I did a rendition of Bob Marley’s Screwface. So, while performing the song with her that night, after my performance he came to meet me backstage. He gave me his card and said he wanted me to do some work with him. When he came to me he was literally shaking so I had to calm him down,” Sister Carol recalled. “He then asked me to do a cover version of the song Wild Thing which was a part of the soundtrack for his movie, Something Wild. He also offered me a small role in that same movie as a waitress. I got the opportunity to sing the song in the movie while the credits rolled and that catapulted my career globally.”
Born Carol East in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital, Sister Carol moved permanently to the US in 1973 and cut her musical teeth on the New York City sound system circuit. Her first album, Mother Culture, was released by RAS Records in 1981.
Click below to listen to “Time Out”