US-based reggae band High Hopes has teamed up with dancehall star Sizzla Kalonji for a collaboration called ‘Taken Souls’, which they feel could be their breakthrough song for the international reggae market.
The song will be released on the Platinum Camp label later this month and available on all digital download platforms.
Bass player Julie Feola explained how the collaboration between the dancehall powerhouse and the band was conceptualised.
“The collaboration came about when me and Mr Biggs (the band’s booking agent) were having a conversation and a Sizzla song came on Pandora radio and he suggested the band do a song with Sizzla, and I said ‘Sizzla? I love him’. So Biggs made the connect with his bodyguard in Jamaica and we flew to Jamaica,” she said.
Mr Biggs said the experience of recording with Sizzla was surreal.
“When we got to Jamaica, Sizzla sent two men on bikes for us and they escorted us to Judgment Yard in August Town, it was real gangster. Julie was in her high heels and she had to be careful going down into the yard; and when we got to the studio, he loved the song and he voiced it right there and then in their high-tech studio,” Mr Biggs said.
High Hopes is a six-member modern roots reggae band in New England which won the 2015 Best Band in State of Massachusetts award by the New England Music Awards.
High Hopes tours yearly in the US Virgin Islands and has provided direct tour support in the Northeast and New York area to a variety of well-known reggae artistes and Grammy winners, such as Ziggy Marley, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Easy Star All-Stars, Freddie McGregor, and Maxi Priest, among others.
In the fall of 2014, their album Forever Love reached number 35 in the iTunes top 100 all-time reggae albums charts.
The band released a four-track EP in February, and has been in the process of completing a full-length album, which will be released this year.
“We were completing the album when this opportunity came up to work with Sizzla. It was an honour to work with him. it was some really good vibes at Judgement Yard, and we came out with something really good; everyone in the reggae community in Boston is excited about it,” Feola said.
High Hopes is booked on several dates in New England this summer. There are plans to shoot a music video for Taken Souls later this year.