Listen and Download the Leno Banton "Brown Sugar - Jamaica Nice Dubplate Special"
If you are looking for what the next creative force in Jamaica sounds like, listen to what this young banton (slang for “storyteller” in Jamaican patois) has to say… Photos by Tatyana Atkinson. Words by Brittany Jackson.
Rooted in reggae and based in the Duhaney Park area of Kingston, Leno Banton (born Donell Spaulding on October 13, 1996) son of 80s dancehall deejay, Burro Banton, uses melody and a raggamuffin aesthetic to fuse Jamaican reggae with hip-hop, jazz, soul, R&B, and afrobeat. Leno’s latest project, 'The Loverman EP,' features a blend of engaging, dance friendly tracks like the breakout "Brown Sugar,” as well as "Wata Baby," and "Texty". Centred around love and the celebration of the lover archetype within himself, Mr Loverman demonstrates an ability to deliver soothing harmonies and hypnotic hooks which have gained traction across Europe, USA and Africa. Jamaica Nice went into the studio with Leno Banton to record a special at Kilamanjaro Studio on Whitehall Avenue and enjoy the vibes at Jam One HQ, off Chisholm Avenue, in Kingston...
What was it like growing up with the legendary Burro Banton, and how much did he contribute to your musical development?
Growing up with Burro Banton to me felt normal, you get me, ‘cause at the end of the day, a me pops. But the more I look at it as I grow older, it's like a privilege still 'cause me see how people respect him in a the music industry and even inna the streets overall. And me get fi like understand music from a different perspective and get fi appreciate what the older heads inna the music do, like how them set it fi we, yuh zimi. When I was younger, he used to take me to a couple shows but not a lot because he was a man - he still is a man weh believe inna the school, so he puts school above everything for me.
Did you get any music training in high school or outside of school?
No, I didn’t get any musical training in high school. Other than like music class… but, you know, in high school, I guess we never really take music class so seriously in high school, yuh zimi, but outside of that, no, I didn’t get any musical training.
How important is sound system culture to Jamaican culture?
The sound system culture in Jamaica is one hundred per cent a very important aspect of the culture because that’s where reggae music would be mostly played initially. Sound system a di birthplace of reggae music; without it, you wouldn’t have any reggae. Reggae music wasn’t a radio music and thing. Mostly Ska and them vibe deh used to play pon the radio and like Jazz and them thing deh, yuh zimi, like mostly foreign music play pon radio, but if you wah go hear reggae, you would have to go to dancehall, which is a place where the sound them string up, yuh feel me, and deh so them play reggae music.
"Sound system a di birthplace of reggae music; without it, you wouldn’t have any reggae."
You recently released your Loverman EP; can you tell us about your experience working on it and the feedback you received?
Working on 'Loverman' EP for me was honestly just thinking about that feeling of love and like how me would express it through my music. So it was really just a thing where me a say me want something connect to the ladies as well, so me just like zone in pon dah side a me deh and me notice say when me zone in pan dah side deh something great always come out of it.
Which countries would you like to tour?
I have never left Jamaica, to be honest. I'd really love to go to the UK, because from weh ma see, is like the culture over there is like yaad from yaad. It's like Jamaica in a different space, but it feels very Jamaica because even the lingo and how people move and react seems very Jamaican from weh me like watch, so even pon "Top Boy" pon Netflix and thing... and plus yuh done know Jamaica and over there have this connection sedway.
Connect with Leno Banton on IG here