Conscious vibes: Ashanti Caesar, pictured on Court Street, prepares for her album launch at the Chewstick Foundation headquarters, 28 Court Street, on October 12. *Photo by Sarah Lagan
Conscious vibes: Ashanti Caesar, pictured on Court Street, prepares for her album launch at the Chewstick Foundation headquarters, 28 Court Street, on October 12. *Photo by Sarah Lagan

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14: Local reggae singer/songwriter Ashanti Caesar, aka Princess Black, swore to herself that music would become a major focus in life when she turned 30.

If the last three months since her 30th birthday are anything to go by she has certainly remained true to her word.

Not only did she help to organize a charity concert at Victoria Park last month bringing international reggae singer Jahmali to the stage and performing alongside him, she has now released her first professional album.

Her album release party is scheduled for October 12 at the Chewstick Foundation’s headquarters at 28 Court Street.

“I find that in Bermuda the more energy you put into it the more you get out,” Caesar told the Bermuda Sun.

“I said that when I turned 30 that music would become a priority — I still have to keep the day job but I have been more active — planning his whole concert and now the album. ”

Her new album Way Of Life produced by First Kingdom Ministries, is a collection of new and old songs written by the Bermudian artist ranging from reggae, R&B, dub and rap.

Many of the songs are about Rastafarianism and positive “conscious” messages.

The mother of two explained: “Rise (produced by Ras Sammy) is one of my favourite new songs — it was written last summer. It’s a song about bettering your life situation — rising up, not compromising even though we may be going through difficult times keep pushing through. That has been my life’s testimony.

“I think being a mother inspired me to write it and also just being a concerned citizen and seeing what is happening on our island. I want to put more positive messages out there not necessarily talking about my status or how well I’m doing — just really to kind of stimulate the positive energy that we all have inside ourselves.

“I sing this song to my boys when they wake up. It says ‘seize the day and don’t let the negativity hold you back’.

“There are so many negative songs that are not working for good out there — I don’t want to be an agent for that, in these times especially.”

One of the older songs on the album is You Left Me Lonely which was number one hit in Bermuda on Irie FM, as well as a new version of He Is In Control produced by Dwight Jones.

The album also includes the song she co-wrote and performed with Jahmali last month, The Way They See Things.

Caesar has been singing since she was young, starting out in her churches and school musical productions. She participated in one of the first acting and singing summer programmes organized by BMDS and was taught music at Port Royal Primary, Bermuda Institute and Warwick Academy. As well as singing and song writing, she plays saxophone and piano.

Recent gigs on home turf include Bermy Splash last year at White Hill Field and Chewstick’s 9th anniversary concert at City Hall with Live Wires and Jules Roberts.

She has recently been playing with the band Conscious Bermuda and hopes to be on the live music scene with them in the near future.

The artist has also had the fortune to play numerous gigs overseas having lived in Germany, Holland and France, and she recently performed at The Roots bar in North London.

Charity is important to this artist — proceeds from her work has often gone to good causes including the charity Sick Be Nourished which works to provide better medical care in Ethiopia.

Through her music, she says she would like to restore reggae music on the island and help to convey the messages it brings.

“I think I deal with a lot of imagery, light versus darkness and good versus evil — good must always conquer. Unfortunately we have become very materialistic, not only in Bermuda, the focus is no longer on human relationships or the human experience but just things that you can attain. We don’t know how to appreciate things — we don’t know who we are.

“We have to bring back the basic components of humanity — love peace, harmony, balance and things like that.”

Way Of Life is on sale at Music Box on Reid Street, Chewstick and Fatimaya on Court Street, and It’s Only Natural on Princess Street. Albums are $20. The official release party is at Chewstick on October 12. She will also have a “listing” party at Fatimaya, with a live performance.