By NAN ET Editor
News Americas, LOS ANGELES, CA, Thurs. Dec. 8, 2016: A singer with American Samoan roots has stunned reggae regulars and followers by surprisingly earning a 2017 Grammy nomination in the reggae category for 2016. Here are ten things you should know about this 59th Grammy nominee:
1: He is J Boog
While J Boog is not a name that may be familiar to Caribbean reggae fans and to Jamaica, where the musical genre of reggae originated, he has been on the reggae scene since 2007 when he released his first solo album ‘Hear Me Roar’ which peaked on Billboard’s Top Reggae Albums chart at #8. His music is considered reggae tinged with R&B, ska and lover’s rock.
2: He was born in California.
J Boog was born Jerry Afemata in Long Beach, California but raised in Compton, California. His father serves as chief of the family village in Alao, Samoa. Afemata was the youngest of eight other siblings – seven brothers and a sister. He got the nickname “Boog” from his brothers, in reference to his inability while young to sit still. “I know it’s just a nomination but if a Samoan kid from Compton can be nominated for a Grammy then anything is possible,” he wrote on Facebook on Wednesday after the Grammy announcement.
3: His sister got him interested in reggae.
J Boog was introduced to reggae by his sister when she brought home and played a Bob Marley song book for him. He has said in past interviews: “[My family] always sing feel good music and reggae was the best way for us to express that. Reggae music was the only music we could turn up loud which our parents wouldn’t turn off when we were kids.” Later on he got interested in other reggae artists like Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs and Sugar Minott.
4: His first performance was in Hawaii
J Boog took time off from his day job at an oil refinery near Los Angeles to travel with friends to Hawaii in 2007. There he met reggae singer George Veikoso, aka FIJI, who he gave a mixtape he’d been working on and who then let him perform in front of the staff at South Pac in Hawaii.
5: His debut album was in 2007
J Boog and Fiji began recording Boog’s debut solo album “Hear Me Roar” soon after in 2007. “It was pretty much more easy-going, island/Hawaiian reggae,” he has said. Fiji produced ‘Hear Me Roar’ and is featured in a number of songs. The album was released in early 2007 on South Pac Records. Later that year it was reissued through Eskay Entertainment, and peaked on the Top Reggae Albums at #8 on Billboard. He is on the Wash House Ting label.
6: He befriended Gramps Morgan
In 2009 J Boog befriended Jamaican reggae artist Gramps Morgan and the two began collaborating, eventually travelling to Jamaica to record in studios such as Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Studio, Don Corleon’s Hit Maker Studios, Bobby Digital’s Digital B Studios, Shaggy’s Big Yard, Sugar Minott’s Youth Man Promotion, and others. Boog considers his breakthrough song to be “Let’s Do It Again,” which he recorded during the sessions in Jamaica and which was produced by reggae label-owner Don Corleon before it was released on commercial sites such as iTunes.
7: He’s collaborated with a number of Jamaican reggae artists.
J Boog has collaborated with a number of Jamaican reggae artists. He released the reggae tune “She Give Me Lovin’” featuring Tarrus Riley; has written and recorded the Grampa Morgan-produced song “Got To Be Strong,” recorded with Peetah Morgan of Morgan Heritage and has worked on a project with reggae artist Richie Spice. He has also shared stages with artists such as Damian and Ziggy Marley. On Wednesday, Buju Banton actually took to Twitter to congratulate J. Boog on the nomination. “Congrats on the #Grammynomination fam!,” he wrote.
8: He has toured worldwide
J Boog has toured extensively. He began touring extensively in the United States including Hawaii after the release of his 2007 debut album and has never stopped. He has performed internationally in Africa, Dubai, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, and Italy. When not touring, J Boog lives in both Hawaii and California. He is on another US tour from January 2017 beginning in Santa Ane, California. See here for tour dates.
9: He has released five albums.
J Boog has four albums under his belt including the 2016 Grammy nomination, ‘Rose Petals.’ His second album was a self-titled EP – J Boog – which was released in 2011 following “Hear Me Roar” in 2007. In 2011, he also released a full album called ‘Backyard Boogie.’ Two years later, in 2013, he released Live Up! Rose Petals, released this year, is a new five track EP featuring “Good Feeling” by Stephen “Ragga” Marley, “Good Cry’ by Chaka Demus and “No Pressure” by Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion.
10: He’s won reggae awards before and has endorsements.
J Boog was named Best New Entertainer at the 2012 International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA). He’s endorsed by a number of companies primarily in Hawaii or California, including hip hop clothing brands and companies like Diamond Supply Co, Cukui, and Selah Int’l.
Also making the Grammy nomination this year is Devin the Dakta & J.L for Sly & Robbie Presents – Reggae for Her, Raging Fyah for Everlasting, multiple Grammy winner Ziggy Marley, Virginia band SOJA for Soja Live in Virginia and California band Rebelution for Falling Into Place.
Meanwhile, Bajan star Rihanna has earned 8 nominations this year while Sean Paul is also up for a Grammy for his collaboration with Sia on Cheap Thrills. The winners will be announced at the awards on Feb 12, 2017.