Don’t know his name? You will, as this up and coming artist is positioned to reach the world’s stage in the next few years. Keznamdi’s fate as a musician was inevitable, growing up as the son of parents who are lead singers of the internationally known Reggae group - Chakula. Keznamdi spent his early years touring the world and present while they were recording their 10 albums in the recording studio located in his own home, buried in the lush St. Andrew hills, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica. Keznamdi lived, breathed and slept music. After countless nights falling asleep beside the strum of his father’s guitar, and hanging out backstage with his sisters at Reggae concerts, Keznamdi already knew all the words to his parents’ songs at a very young age, bouncing perfectly on that infectious Reggae beat.
“This is not a choice or hobby for me, Music chose me. It’s a way of life and the only thing I have ever known,” explains a passionate Keznamdi, describing why his path has already been carved out in stone.
Not surprisingly, Keznamdi recorded his first song at 5 years old, “Mix a Color” an educational song about color mixing, inspired by his mother’s background in early childhood education at Harvard University. Already a natural performer and crowd pleaser on stage, he jumped at the opportunity to perform “Mix a Color” at his mom’s album release tours for her popular children’s album “Save the World” which became a viral hit in primary schools across Jamaica.
Keznamdi and his sisters attended music schools throughout their childhood and each child began to flourish as individual musicians in college. Keznamdi’s oldest sister, Kamila McDonald, a former Miss Jamaica World Beach Beauty, popular entertainment TV personality in Jamaica, and married to international Reggae artist, Jah Cure, began recording with established recording artists like Calico (his brother in law) while she was attending Stanford University in California. Kelissa McDonald became a college favorite during her own college years and is also currently pursuing a musical career in Kingston, Jamaica. “Nothing more natural than recording with my sisters, brothers, mother and father,” boasts Keznamdi who has been the catalyst behind many family collaborations and recordings. “All of them contribute to my music in a big way” he explains.
Keznamdi began to take his musical career to the next level while at St. Mary’s College in Northern California. He was most excited to come to college in the United States primarily for the opportunity to play Division 1 soccer, another of his life passions which he still manages to make the time for.
Before coming to the US, Kez lived in Tanzania with his family for 3 years, and completed high school in Ethiopia. His multifarious musical sound is a direct product of his diverse and well-traveled background: a sweet blend of Reggae, Dancehall, Bongo Flava, R&B and Rap Music. The eclectic blend of melodies and conscious, positive lyrics in Keznamdi’s music has also been influenced by musical icons such as Stephen Marley, Damian Marley and of course, Chakula.
With a guitar always in hand and golden locks on his head, Keznamdi’s music is just as captivating as his image. His personality and sense of humor on stage is an immediate magnet for people of all cultures, seeking to tap into a “feel-good” musical vibration.
“My music is a message and everyone of my song dem have a purpose. You need fi just sit back and relax or stand up and jam…whatever you are moved to do (he chuckles). Just take a listen and experience it for yourself and more important than anything else, digest my message.”
Raised in the inspirational hills of St. Andrew, Jamaica, Kelissa developed a natural inclination for music, largely influenced by a Rastafari and reggae upbringing. With parents as lead vocalists in the original reggae band ‘Chakula,’ creation and appreciation of music were constant features in her home.
At an early age Kelissa participated in a children’s music group where she learned to play different instruments and was introduced to the world of performing through vocal, instrumental and drumming ensembles. Her interest in music was reinforced at home where she absorbed her parents’ rehearsals and created productions with her siblings.
In 2006, Kelissa sojourned with her music to Africa where, during extended periods in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana, she had multiple opportunities to broaden her musical scope. While attending the University of Ghana she studied traditional drumming, xylophone and dance. During her time in Africa, she expanded her musical abilities by teaching herself the guitar and collaborating with several musicians and producers, and performing on multiple occasions.
Kelissa also spent extended periods in California, USA where her college curriculum was heavily involved with music. She was an avid member of the ‘world percussion’ and ‘Brazilian’ ensembles, participated in the college choir and gained exposure on music production and studio recording. As co-founder of the Black Arts and Cultural Dance (BACD) group on campus, Kelissa created a platform that facilitated her on-going interaction with different audiences and talented young performers from across the world. Kelissa’s unique background and rich international experiences have influenced her music by colouring it with diverse sounds, insightful messages and captivating performances.
Kelissa currently resides in Jamaica and continues to make music her central purpose. Since returning to Jamaica, ‘Anbessa Productions’ teamed up with ‘Zinc Fence Records’ to produce her first Extended Play (EP) project ‘Rebel In Disguise,’ which was first released during her first tour of Africa. In August 2012, Kelissa returned to Africa with two filmmakers as part of the ‘50 Days in Afrika’ initiative. The Trio travelled to 6 countries (Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia & Kenya) to document the thriving arts industries on the continent. The tour featured multiple performances by Kelissa in each country, reinforcing her musical foundation in Africa and harnessing cultural exchange. Kelissa was the first Jamaican to perform at the annual ‘Felabration’ festival in Nigeria and shot her first music video for the tour’s theme song ‘Afrika.’ This experience provided her with many performance and production opportunities that enhanced her exposure in Africa and added to her musical inventory.
Since then, Kelissa has made significant headway in her musical career, keeping true to her mission. She has featured on several major concerts in Jamaica such as Rebel Salute and Reggae Sumfest. Her collaboration with ‘ZincFence Records’ extended to the international stage where she served as the opening act for Chronixx on his tours of England and the East Coast of USA. She has also collaborated with several producers to release singles such as ‘Natural’ and ‘Slow Down’ enhancing her interaction with the masses. Kelissa’s soulful, rootsy and world beat music continues to provide a reservoir of her life experiences that is driven by her passion to uplift and inspire others.
Chronixx was the 'stage' name his friends bestowed on him, replacing the name 'Little Chronicle' he was given as the 'junior' to his father, the artist Chronicle. A little star amongst his peers, he had shown a love for music and song writing from an early age.
He was born October 10, 1992 and was named Jamar Rolando McNaughton. His father, a musician, recognised his talents and nurtured him in an environment in which he could grow into whatever area of music he chose. Always accompanying him to the studio, Jamar grew up around the likes of Burro Banton, Norris Man and the legendary Gregory Isaacs. With a big smile and an engaging personality, he confidently set out to make his mark in music, by writing his first song 'Rice Grain' by the age of five and going on to be choir director and worship leader at 11. Coached by Danny Browne, he recorded his first song with him in 2003. Always displaying his versatility, Jamar, as a young man at St. Catherine High School, harmonised for gospel artistes such as Jermaine Edwards and reggae artiste Lutan Fyah.
At 14 years, he started producing and 'building riddims' for artistes such as Konshens and Munga Honorable and composing riddims such as the 'Freezer Riddim' for Icebox Records and voicing artistes such as, Popcaan for Maverick Records. While focusing on academics, with a special love for Visual Arts, Chronixx knew that his inner voice was coaxing him to let his own voice be heard.
After his brother's death in 2009, Chronixx became more inspired to 'push out' and as fate would have it, in that same year, met some 'brothers' who have undoubtedly impacted on the promising artist he is today. The synergy he found with Romaine 'Teflon' Arnett of ZincFence Recordz gave birth to the creation of a singer, stepping out militantly with a unique voice and armed with lyrics and an accompanying musical sound, set to capture his place on the reggae music stage.
In 2010, as if on a mission, Alty 'J.O.E' Nunes impacted on the lives of not only his brothers, Aijah & Jahnoi, but on Chronixx as well. They started working as a team and after Joe's passing in February 2011, Chronixx, in honour of the Jah Ova Evil legacy, took his career to another level. Instead of going on to Edna Manley College as planned, he, along with other members of the Jah Ova Evil family, released singles such as Behind Curtain, African Heritage, Wall Street and Warrior.
Today, Chronixx credits his versatility and his professional stage presence to the early lessons he received from his father Chronicle, who always shared his own experiences and encouraged his son to go one step beyond with each performance. Chronixx is not disappointing his father, his family or his friends who know that the 'sky is the limit' for this young man who sees 'music as his mission.'