Voicemail’s Weh Di Time turns 20

April 16, 2024

article reposted by Chelsea

via jamaicaobserver.com

Singer Jerome “Craig” Jackson, a member of Voicemail, remembers the first time that he heard their hit song Weh Di Time on the radio.

“When I heard the song, I was numb. Prior to that we had never had a song in rotation so much. I was super-elated, and all of us in the group were saying, ‘Yow, we buss now, we buss now,” Jackson disclosed in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Friday.

Weh Di Time, which also featured dance choreographer Bogle and dancehall artiste Delly Ranks, was released in May 2004.

Produced by Donald “Danny Champagne” Grant, the song is the breakout song for Voicemail which had long craved commercial success since it was formed in 1999.

Weh Di Time was recorded at the famed Big Yard Studio on Westminster Road in the Corporate Area.

“The idea for the song came about when I was at Danny’s house and going through some books only to find out that Danny used to write poetry. I was reading one of the poems and I jokingly put some melody around it, and here comes Danny with a brilliant idea. He said he had an idea for us to do a song with Bogle,” said Jackson.

He continued: “Danny was the one with the idea, but because we were around Delly Ranks a lot, and we did a song before [Wants it Harder, produced by Tony Kelly in 2003], we suggested Delly to be involved. And Danny was excited about that as well.”

Jackson recalled the recording session for Weh Di Time.

“All of us were in the studio at the same time. It was one of the most memorable recording sessions for me throughout my entire career. The vibe in the studio was just one big ball of energy. Bogle was one of the most unique souls; one bubble of energy and joy. He had so much to say when he was recording his verses, believe me, we laughed so much that night,” Jackson shared.

He also said that during the recording of the song at no time he had any idea that the song would become a hit.

“Is when everywhere we turn we hear the song playing, that was when we got a feeling that something might come out of this. We heard it on the radio, we heard it playing in the dance, and we even heard it playing in the taxis. We never saw a hit song coming,” he shared.

However, the success of the song changed the lives of the members of the group.

“When the song reached #1, oh, my God, wow! Whoever never believed in us now knew that we were serious about music. That’s when their heads began to turn. People started to acknowledge the fact that we were serious. It impacted all of us. It was such a joyful moment. Weh Di Time solidified a lot for us,” Jackson reasoned.

The track spent six weeks at #1 on local charts.

It continues to be a favourite in retro-themed parties.

“After 20 years this has proven what we believed: Good music never dies. It still has that type of impact when we perform it anywhere in the world. It proved that we made our mark. Mi proud of what we have achieved over the past 20 years in music. And we’re just getting started,” Jackson stated.

Formed 25 years ago, Voicemail’s initial line-up was Robert Manning, Leonardo Grant, O’Neil Edwards, Jerome “Craig” Jackson, and Kevin Blair. Manning and Grant left in 2002.

A lot has happened in the 20 years since Weh Di Time was released.

Voicemail released its début album Hey in 2006 with VP Records. Two years later another album, Jump Off, was released.

The group has scored several hits since, including Get on Up, Ready to Party, Just Dance, and Wacky Dip (in tribute to Bogle in the wake of his death in January 2005).

Edwards died on May 26, 2010, weeks after he was shot in his home.

Producer Danny Champagne died in October 2016 due to complications from a stroke.

Today, the remaining members of Voicemail continue to carry on their musical legacy with the release of new music under the guidance of Frankie Music Productions.

“We recently released a mixtape called Back to the Fun, and we dropped some singles like Pay Grade and Hot Oil. We are also working on a new album, but no date has been set for that to be released. The music has been consistent, but we decided to chill a bit this year and not do too much touring overseas. The evolution continues,” Jackson said.

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