• Janae Hyman

American Reggae Band Wins Grammy for Best Reggae Album



'Beauty in the Silence' by Virginia-based reggae band SOJA (Soldiers of Jah Army) has won the 2022 Grammy Award for 'Best Reggae Album,' overtaking the five Jamaican finalists and leaving many Jamaican critics stunned.


The eight-piece reggae band, formed in 1997, has been nominated for the third time. Rebelution, Dirty Heads, Slightly Stoopid, UB40, Stick Figure, and Collie Buddz are among the artists included in SOJA's Beauty in the Silence.


'We wanna thank all our influences when we were growing up. Starting our reggae band was kind of our dream and the only thing we wanted to do. And then one day people started coming to the shows,' band lead singer Jacob Hemphill said in an interview after winning the award.



Some Jamaican personalities are not pleased with the win and have expressed their disappointment on social media. Morgan Heritage was among the first to congratulate the band, 'Congratulations @SOJALive on your 1st @RecordingAcad win for Best Reggae Album. That's 2 for you #BobbyLee! 🤪

It was beautiful to see all our nominees attend the Award Ceremony yesterday. Reggae wins no matter what!'

'It is no surprise that Soja won the Best Reggae album, despite the other artists in the category had some reasonably decent projects,' said Dr Dennis Howard, a UWI lecturer in Entertainment and Cultural Enterprise Management. He continued, 'Soja's album is more in keeping with the US reggae scene, labelled modern reggae. It was their third nomination, and the album was a critical success; they also pay tribute to Jamaican culture in the song Press Rewind.



Soja is no minor deal on Spotify alone; in 2021, they had 106.5 m streams and 7.7 m listeners in 178 countries. Their live shows are usually sold out, where they do well with merchandising and selling their music. The Grammys is about the American music scene, which includes the various bands based in the US, including Rebelution, Common King, Collie Buddz, Konkarah, J Boogs and the Elovaters.' The noted music business consultant continued.

Five Jamaicans were among the six nominations in the Best Reggae Album category. Spice, Etana, Sean Paul, Jesse Royal and Gramps Morgan.


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