Storming into the reggae world with the strength of a hurricane, 22-year-old Sheldon Campbell, aka Turbulence, is rising to the top as one of Jamaica’s leading conscious dancehall deejays. Having garnered a great deal of interest while on a recent tour with Sizzla, this active member of the Xterminator family has left reggae fans asking for more. Well, look no further than VP Records to have your appetite satiated with his brand new full-length release titled Rising. Still lacking proper exposure as an artist, this album speaks for itself, backing up the skill and talent of this up and coming artist.
Sharing a similar vocal style to that of Sizzla, his strength lies in his rich and powerful singing voice. With influences ranging from the great Bob Marley, Sizzla Kalonji, Jah Cure, Luciano, Mikey General and his older cousin Norris Man, he has developed a unique style gathering what he has learned from the best in the business. The final product is a very distinct voice speaking of roots, consciousness, and culture.
As time goes on, Turbulence says he will be “focusing more on singing, and less on deejaying”, bringing his listeners songs of truth, love, and positivity.
Going deeper into the various forms of delivery, Campbell suggests that “music is an information centre”. Clearly understanding the importance of interaction with his audience, his method is to “pour all of that feeling into the music and feed it to the crowd”. If you ever have the opportunity to see him in action, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
First discovered by Xterminator Records figurehead Phillip ‘Fatis’ Burrell, Campbell has worked tirelessly for the opportunity to command the mic and speak his thoughts. He has worked alongside some of the greatest, both in the studio and on stage, including Sly & Robbie, Luciano, Sizzla, Prince Malachi, and LMS.
Initially what turned me on to his music were two 45’s that I now play quite frequently. One was passed on to me by Vancouvers hardcore dancehall diva Sister B called ‘Think of Peace’ on the Xterminator label. Riding the same riddim as Sizzlas ‘Stop from Quarrel’, both tracks are upbeat and heavily influenced by their shared spiritual faith. The other was a promo on the hip-hop influenced I Know riddim off of Jah Scout Records, based in San Francisco. ‘Hail King Rastafari’ is what caught my ear most, along with versions cut by Norris Man and Anthony B. His voice was both passionate and powerful, speaking of his undeniable devotion to Ras Tafari.
My appreciation of this single, as well as my interest in some of the other Xterminator artists is what prompted me to head down to Seattle last Mother’s Day to check out their show at the Bohemian Reggae Club. Having never seen Sizzla or Turbulence perform live, I was fully taken aback by the depth of Campbell’s energetic, albeit short opening set. Earlier that day, we had the chance to sit down over some food and reason about his roots, spirituality, and the future.
Like many young people, he discovered his talent while still attending to his studies. It was while he was still going to classes at St. Andrews Technical High School in Kingston, Jamaica where he started beating up the desk testing his latest tunes on his classmates. As he continued to do this, he gathered his inspiration from his faith and those around him. People told him outright to stick to the talent and that is what pushed him onwards as one of Jamaicas rising stars.
Further into our discussion, he spoke about how his life informs the message he projects. According to Turbulence, “music is a school, because when you sing, it helps you to focus on life. If you talk righteousness in the music, thats what the people dem are going to do. If you talk negativity in the music, sooner or later younger youth dem are gonna buss’ gun and snort coke, yuh’nuh? So the music helps me, what I see and what I experience on the street I sing about”.
Knowing first hand what it is like to start from scratch, Turbulence advises up and coming artists that “determination and perseverance are the keys to success, because you will get a lot of fight inna the music, but just keep on pushing. When I was coming up the first time, it was very hard for me to even hold a mic in my hand because of the competition. Just try and try. If you dont succeed the first time, just try again, youll make it. Thats perseverance”.
As we bring our conversation to a close, Turbulence speaks enthusiastically of the future. In coming years, he has set his sights on becoming more active in the music world, and perhaps becoming a mentor and an icon in the industry. His message is positive and his goal is to “please the people dem, produce good music and teach people righteousness. You done know I’m a Rastafarian and thats my duty. Blessed love”.