CONTRIBUTING FASHION EDITOR
Jamaica-based singer Hezron is not afraid to make the listener think. And his music is inspired by what he sees around him that makes him think.
This approach is most notable in two of the singer’s recent singles: 2020’s “Resilience” and 2022’s “Save The Children.”
Hezron opens the video of “Resilience” with a sound bite.
“We are oppressed,” the voice of Malcolm X says, “we are downtrodden, we are not only denied civil rights, we are denied human rights.”
As the video progresses, a somber and emotional Hezron sings, “Protect those closest to me, let no harm come to them from the enemy.” As the melody progresses, the screen is filled with Images of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the death of George Floyd.
“The initial inspiration for ‘Resilience’ came from watching a TV news report on a Jamaica station, TVJ,” explained Hezron in an email interview. “A lady was crying because her husband had been killed. He stepped out to buy some gas for his motorcycle; because he had to leave early for work in the morning, he would usually fill up his bike at night. One night he went out and he was fatally shot, an innocent victim of a drive by shooting. He was the only breadwinner in the family. The lady was in deep, agonizing pain, it was heartrending.”
Hezron, who was born in the District of Moy Hall District, St. James, Jamaica before emigrating to the United States, continued, “When the TVJ reporter asked how she would survive, she said life goes on and she had to continue. When she said that, knowing how much she loved her husband, I thought wow, she is strong, that is resilience despite her very difficult circumstances.”
“I started writing the song on the guitar right there and came up with the opening line: ‘Lord watch over me with Thy rod and staff as I travel these streets day out, day in.’,” said Hezron. “As I am writing it, I reflected on the struggles I have had to face in the music industry because of my principles, my beliefs in doing the right thing, things that I have had to overcome, and I know that God alone has carried me through.
“So, my personal experience created the rest of the song: ‘Some say to make it inna life you have to know how to play ball, mi never like the terminology, mi nuh like how it sound at all.’,” said Hezron.
Although the recording was released as the world was still deep into the COVID 19 pandemic, Hezron said the song began to take form before the world was overtaken by the virus.
“I finished it up and produced it during the early part of the pandemic in mid-2020, because I felt it was needed.,” said Hezron.
“Save the Children” also delivers a poignant message.
The video of the track begins with the images of children wearing masks, trying to be children. They are jumping rope. They are having fun.
But then there is a quick cut to a crying child-- malnourished and seriously ill.
“He’s a baby, he’s a child,” sings Hezron. “Our duty is to protect them.”
Hezron explained the song was inspired by the film, “Beasts of No Nation.”
“(It’s) about child soldiers in the west African nation, Sierra Leone,” explained the singer. “The armed rebels went into the villages and took the strongest, youngest children, oftentimes maiming or murdering their parents, then sexually abused them, put guns in their hands, gave them cocaine and other drugs and turned them into zombie soldiers.”
“After I saw that,” said Hezron. “I started writing the song in my mind. Then I became aware of brutal acts committed against the youth in Jamaica, including physical and sexual abuse.
“I see homeless children all over Jamaica,” said the singer. “They don’t have homes to go to and if they are begging, every dollar they get is for their survival. The dons and gangsters in the ghettos rape some of these kids, take them away and turn them into killers.
“I wanted to sing a song about our most precious resource, our children,” said Hezron. “I hope it will raise consciousness about the terrible conditions some children have to endure because they are our future, and we have to protect them.”
Although songs like “Resilience” and “Save the Children” explore the darker moments of life, within Hezron’s music, he makes sure he leaves room for hope.
“It is important for me to look for the sunlight because so much of the world is in the shadows, in darkness, and it needs positive vibrations,” said Hezron. “I have been in the shadows for a long time, so I know what it is like and if I can help people to get out of it through my music, then I want to do that.”
Listening to Hezron sing, the emotion in his voice is palpable and is moving.
“In most of my years growing up, people told me there was a great sound to my voice,” said Hezron. “But the first time that I remember my voice could really move people was when I was about 11 and I sang in church, a song called ‘There’s A Roof Above Me’ and the people loved it.
“There was another time my mother and father told the pastor at a church in Atlanta that I could sing,” said Hezron. “So, I got up and sang Donny McClurkin’s ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’ The church had about 60 people inside and I got scared because the whole place erupted, it was an outpouring of emotions. Everyone started crying, talking about what they’ve been through: the pastor was crying, my father was crying, my mother was crying; I couldn’t even finish the song because the whole church was crying.”
Hezron said he is drawn to singers who can move people and evoke emotions.
“The singers that I enjoy… create feelings with the sound of their voices… Sam Cooke, Luther Vandross and Jamaica’s Dennis Brown and Beres Hammond. “
For fans in the United States waiting to see Hezron in concert, he said, “I am definitely planning to perform in the states and will likely concentrate on being there in 2023.”