Caribbean Hip Hop Mogul To Perform Live With Opera Legend At Music Awards

Published On March 18, 2009 | By Greg | Bahamas

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by Arthia Nixon

Nassau, The Bahamas… Guests and nominees of this year’s Marlin Music Awards will be in for a never before seen performance when Bahamian music icons Manifest and Joanne Callender take the stage for their ‘hip-hopera’ duet I Shall Rise on March 29.

The highly anticipated annual event, considered the Caribbean version of the Grammy’s combined with the positivity of the Stellar Music Awards, recognized Manifest at the last gathering in 11 categories as a nominee. This year, Manifest, who also serves as CEO of Dunamus Soundz Records is up for Song of the Year with I Shall Rise. The single from the Overcomers soundtrack has been in heavy rotation in the Caribbean and North America. It’s also featured on Manifest’s newly released Parables album and has listeners comparing his authoritative vocals to the likes of several well-known artists. However, the seasoned hip hop artist is quick to point out that his style is much different.

“Whatever I rhyme about comes from a deep spiritual connection I have with my Creator,” says Manifest. “My message is about hope and I do not believe in creating derogatory or offensive songs laced with cuss words or violence. This song in particular is self-explanatory – it’s about rising and overcoming no matter what people think of you and to stop being blind and finally seeing how awesome things can be. A part of the awesomeness behind this single is the hard work that Joann and Lee put into it to making it a trailblazing hit by more or less marrying hip hop and opera. Sure it sounds like an odd couple but when you actually sit and work on it, opposites attract.”

Bahamian diva Joann Callender is a stellar soprano who has given sold out performances all over the world accompanied by her husband, noted piano virtuoso Lee; the grandson of Timothy Gibson, who composed the Bahamas National Anthem. According to Manifest, the birthing of the song came quite naturally as the artists behind it were eager to unleash a new sound.

“We admire and respect each other as artists and that is very important in making a record that will be successful,” said Manifest. “It was a first time for both of us to venture so far away from our own sound but the riffs came out amazing and overall it offers something that inspires and empowers. We want that to come across when we perform in front of our industry colleagues.”