Jah’Mila proves reggae is going strong on new record, ‘Woman of the Sun’ | The Coast Halifax

Jah’Mila proves reggae is going strong on new record, ‘Woman of the Sun’

The Jamaican-born, Halifax-based artist considers the album to be her evolution

Halifax-based reggae musician Jah'Mila released her newest album 'Woman of the Sun' on June 21.

  JUNO-nominated reggae powerhouse Jah’Mila considers her newest album to be an evolution of her sound.

Striking out in 2022 with the success of Roots Girl, earning Jah’Mila her 2024 JUNO nomination, she thought her next musical endeavour should show how she’s progressed since making songs during the pandemic.

Roots will eventually rise above the earth, chasing the sun—it was this concept that led Jah’Mila to title her sophomore album Woman of the Sun.

“When the roots are growing, of course, you're setting a foundation for yourself,” said Jah’Mila in an interview with The Coast. “But there comes a time when with growth, you have to push your head above the soil and meet and greet the light.”

Woman of the Sun is another record jam-packed with reggae hits, deeply inspired by the music Jah’Mila grew up with in her home country of Jamaica, but she says she’s also drawn inspiration from her new home of Halifax.

“I believe that my artistry and my creativity and the music that I make have been heavily influenced mostly by my upbringing in Jamaica,” she said. “Moving here to Halifax was a glimpse into an entirely new world. Different cultures, different types of phones, meeting new people and doing different types of things, and how much that has influenced me, as well.”

The track “East Coast Family” exemplifies Jah’Mila’s dual sense of pride. Featured on the track are several well-known East Coast artists: R&B singer Aquakulture, Indigenous rapper Wolf Castle, and Cape Breton fiddler Wendy MacIsaac.

Jah’Mila says the song came about from a collaboration between her and musician Owen O’Sound Lee. She wrote the hook, O’Sound Lee composed the music, and then they sought out artists from the East Coast who would like to be featured. Casting their net wide, they managed to haul in a diverse array of artists who each bring their own style to the track.

“I feel like it’s bigger than all of us put together, you know,” said Jah’Mila. “I’m just so grateful that this song is a representation of cultural coexistence.”

Jah’Mila’s pride is on display once more on the track “Reggae Nuh Dead”, featuring 15-year-old reggae artist Kairo McLean, who already has two JUNO awards under his belt, as well as several musicians from Jamaica.

“Kairo McLean came up with that hook, ‘reggae nuh dead,’” said Jah’Mila. “It seemed like, well, we are the future of reggae, and it was so encouraging to hear him come up with that as a youth that loves reggae music.”

From Jamaica to the JUNOs

While Woman of the Sun was already in production when Roots Girl was nominated for Reggae Album of the Year at the 2024 JUNO Awards, the spark in public attention led Jah’Mila to focus on making her follow-up stand out.

Roots Girl had less of an intention to put out an album more than it was just let’s jam and create with friends,” she said, adding the album took a while to release as it started production during the pandemic.

Feeling grateful it was met with so much praise both upon release and at the JUNOs, Jah’Mila says she felt committed to connecting with her audience on Woman of the Sun and ensuring reggae remains alive and well in the Halifax music scene.

“I feel somewhat of a cultural ambassador, you know. But there's also a lot of responsibility as well, because the things I'm sharing, I want to ensure that I'm sharing the right messages,” she explained. “I'm so grateful to have a connection with those elders who I had the opportunity to work with in Jamaica, and who have taught me so much about the history of reggae.”

In fact, three songs on the record were recorded in Jamaica, featuring the guitar work of Jah’Mila’s father. She says her friends and family back home in Kingston are excited and happy to see her music career take off in Canada, and she’s hoping to get back sometime soon to perform for her hometown.

For now, Jah’Mila will keep soaking up the rays in Halifax where she will no doubt continue to grow into a reggae juggernaut. To learn more about her and her music, and for upcoming show dates, visit Jah’Mila’s website.