by Howard Campbell
[SOUTH FLORIDA] – One of dancehall’s true hit-makers, Wayne Wonder first rode the charts in the late 1980s and had a golden run a decade later. He capped his career in 2003 with No Letting Go, a crossover song that remains his biggest commercial success.
“Music change yuh nuh (know), yuh have to stay current. When dem sey (say) yuh a legend dem don’t play yuh new stuff anymore, so yuh have to work twice as hard,” said Wonder.
Reggae Sumfest Peformance
The veteran artist heads into the summer with new songs for Reggae Sumfest which takes place July 18-23 in Montego Bay. He performs on closing night in a tribute to Madhouse Records. The label he was part of in the late 1990s.
Wonder will perform with other acts who were part of that successful camp. This includes Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Spragga Benz, Frisco Kid, Cham and Terror Fabulous.
Madhouse Records Hits
The head of Madhouse Records was producer Dave Kelly. Kelly released a series of hit songs including Joy Ride by Wonder. Plus, the feisty Yuh nuh Ready fi dis Yet by Tanya Stephens and Look by Bounty Killer.
Describing Kelly as a “one-in-a-million producer”, Wonder rates Joy Ride, done on the rhythm of the same name, as his best song for Kelly.
“It was just a fun vibe,” he said.
Wayne Wonder was raised in the east Kingston community of Dunkirk which also produced Spragga Benz and Agent Sasco.
His hit songs prior to the Madhouse Records era included Saddest Day and Movie Star (Bonafide Love) for Donovan Germain’s Penthouse Records. The latter was done with Buju Banton.
Wayne Wonder had a big hit 19 years ago. “No Letting Go” was recorded on musician/producer Steven “Lenky” Marsden’s Diwali rhythm.
No Letting Go peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.