Omayra is a Florida girl, mother of three, and visual artist sharing all things art, fun and the beautiful things in life. She firmly believes that one creates their own reality and applies that to her own life by marching to the beat of a different drum, using her camera as a tool for that purpose. Omayra is a jack of all trades and masters them all. When she's not behind of the camera, she's in front of it. Her experience as a model, helped her develop her eye as a photographer.
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Meet East Coast native, Brad Brandt, publicly known as Last Disciple. Having grown up in the Carolinas, Florida, and California skateboarding and traveling, he was exposed to all kinds of music and cultures early in his youth. The music he makes is a product of Golden Era Hip Hop and Roots Reggae.
For four years, Last Disciple has been recording all of his music in Kingston Jamaica, with legend, Caveman on production, and have been putting out videos to accompany each song. After having enjoyed his latest single, “Babylon,” I was excited that Last Disciple took some time to speak to our team.
What led you to reggae and who have been your greatest musical influences in that direction?
Reggae music for me was always full of riddim that I could quickly feel and vibe to. The wisdom and parables in the lyrics can be easily heard and felt as well. The message of righteousness and freedom and Rastafari was life changing. Great influences in Reggae to me are Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Culture, Linval Thompson, Sizzla, I Wayne and many more.
So far, what have been your greatest accomplishments since coming to the scene?
Some of my greatest accomplishments include working with Sizzla on our Mama Africa song, as well as the Shaolin Temple Band for the upcoming EP and the many recordings I’ve done with producer Caveman in Jamaica. Inspiration for my name comes from being the last Tai Chi student of my instructor Master Wei.
I am now sharing my Tai Chi Chuan/Chi Gong lessons with the Reggae and Jamaican Culture at events and festivals which allows me to continue to pass on the health and livity of these art forms. Overall it is an honor to take part in the culture and propelling the movement of racial equality, morals, and One Love.
Slightly Stoopid recently kicked off their Summer Tour, starting in Florida and our team caught them at the Space Coast, with guests; Tribal Seeds, Matysiahu, and Hirie.
The sunshine state did not live up to its name, as it was hit with heavy rain and thunderstorms the entire weekend. As a result, HIRIE’s set got cut short. But that did not stop this princess of reggae from giving her all during her acoustic session.
When we asked her guitarist, Blaine Dillinger about this experience, he said, “I felt really connected, honestly. Then I felt really bad for the equipment. There is something magical about grabbing a couple of acoustic guitars and playing music with your family and for your friends. The fans put up with a lot to spend that time with us and it made me dig deep to show them how much we appreciate their support. And thanks to borrowing Slightly Stoopid’s guitars I now have a Taylor T5 on my bucketlist!” As the band were en route to Baltimore, from Atlanta, he went on to say,
“The shows have been amazing so far! So many great fans and all the bands are freaking amazing to watch! In between shows have been full of trials to overcome and learn from. We’ve had mechanical issues with the bus, weather issues including rainstorms and blistering heat, and some incredibly long drives. We are finding ways to come together and rise to the occasion, so I am grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn new life skills. I could use a real day off though, soon!”
The resiliency of the fans made this show one of my most unforgettable experiences. The rain caused over 12 inches of flooding within the amphitheater and some of the fans decided to play in the mud just to kill time. I’ve never been to Woodstock, but with the scene that unfolded – that’s exactly what I imagined!
The show continued with Matysiahu and Tribal Seeds, leading up to Slightly Stoopid’s headline.
One of the moments I enjoy most at concerts are band mashups and this lineup did not disappoint!
Matysiahu and HIRIE joined in when Tribal Seeds performed their hit, “The Garden” and HIRIE joined in on Slightly Stoopid’s hit “Mona June”, in which their original track features vocalist Angela Hunte.
This event literally went on rain or shine and it was worth it.
This all-star lineup has shown us that going to a reggae concert is one of the best ways to spend a summer vacation!
The Cali-based band is currently touring the Northeast Coast, and will be ending their summer on West Coast.
Cleveland, Ohio based Tropidelic have just released their latest album Here in the Heights.
This release has a great combination of reggae, punk-rock and a little bit of hip hop, and no matter which of these genres is your favorite, this record has it all and you won’t be disappointed. Each track has something that every fan can relate to from reflecting on your lowest points (“Bad One”) to finding the strength to succeed in your life goals (“Impossible”, “Cali”).
Featuring the talents of Wookiefoot, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore, Ballyhoo! and Bumpin’ Uglies, it’s no surprise that this album is already an overnight success with it having reached #3 on iTunes’ Top 20 Reggae Albums.
Tropidelic have recently toured with RDGLDGRN and Of Good Nature, and are about to hit the East Coast with The Expendables!
The Monterey County Fairgrounds is the place to be for the annual California Roots Festival, a Mecca for every reggae fan! The 3-Day event that occurs every year around Memorial Day weekend brings an all star lineup along with the best of the best in the local and regional scene.
The headliners this year are:
Stick Figure – 5/24
Slightly Stoopid – 5/25
As a Florida girl, I’m very excited about the acoustic lineup that features Orlando’s very own Beebs (Of Beebs and her Money Makers) and Kash’d Out! The team from Kulchashok Muzik will be setting up their booth so make sure you stop by and check out their Irie merch.
This year marks the 10 year anniversary and in light of that, Pepper will be doing a meet and greet at the LAW Records booth, as they’re releasing their Local Roots vinyl with 3 unreleased songs. This is a gem that will only be available at the fest so if you’re attending, be there on Friday from 2-3PM to purchase it hang out with the band.
If you can’t make it out to Cali Roots, you can at least catch the livestream from your own home on their YouTube channel.
At one point Julian “Ju Ju” Marley once said, “I do not plan the next step, I just continue on with Jah Works and somehow things will just come together naturally that way.” Those words have applied to his journey in his part in the conscious reggae movement, and apply to his latest album, As I Am.
This is a compilation that lifts your spirit with tracks such as “Chalice Load,” and “Magic of Love (Compassion).” “Cooling in Jamaica,” will have you drifting to the Caribbean paradise. If you’re a child of the 60s rock ‘n roll era or simply enjoy some classic rock, you’ll love his reggae twist on the cover of Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat”. And finally, if you’re looking for the perfect track for romance on a higher level, “Biology” is the perfect addition to any lover’s rock playlist.
Julian Marley truly follows in his legendary father’s footsteps by keeping the legacy alive and adding his unique style. He’s currently touring the East Coast throughout the month of May. When our team asked him about this current tour, he stated that the major highlights have been “Meeting the wonderful people and being able share my music with them, that’s my main joy.”
Well known for his collaboration on SOJA’s massive hit “You and Me”, Chris Boomer had his first breakthrough into the reggae scene back in 2010. Co-written and performed in collaboration with their frontman, Jacob Hemphill, the success of “You and Me” would lead to Chris releasing his first EP in 2011, I Am Who I Am; a release that would bring heart tugging tracks like “I Know How”, which reflects on the memories of a lost love, and questioning your identity in its aftermath.
The title track of Boomer’s first full length album, Who Truly Cares makes one reflect on the shape this world is in with the question the song implies, by questioning not just whether or not our world leaders truly care, but our friends and family as well. Featuring the talents of West Coast reggae stars like Anuhea, and Bo Napoleon, this gem is a great addition to your reggae playlist.
His recent collaboration with Texas based reggae band, The San Antones, “Good Morning” reminds us to thank the Most High for the simple things in life that are often taken for granted.
I’m super excited that he took the time to chat with our team!
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: Could you please tell us about yourself, your musical style, and your time on the scene?
Chris Boomer: My name is Chris Boomer, I’m from the island of Guahan (Guam) located in south Pacific Ocean in the Marianas. I like to think that I evolved through all music! I try to apply a little bit of everything that inspires me throughout my growth.
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: Who were the musical influences that inspired your career?
Chris Boomer: First of all the most high because without H.I.M none would be possible. That being said; growing up watching my Father play music, I think that was very influential, of course Bob Marley, but more unusual is that Lucky Dube has got to take the cake as far as inspiration. I was listening to them before I discovered Bob Marley strangely!
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: Was music prevalent in your life growing up?
Chris Boomer: Yes and No. I grew up on the street so there were times in my life were I didn’t even pay attention to music. But through loss and germination I was steered into a path that became unclear. The only thing that was there for me when no one could be there for me was music; So I guess it took me awhile to realize that this was what I was meant to do that was pure positive. Music ended up being the driving force in my life.
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: What was the writing process like for Who Truly Cares, how did you decide which songs went into the album and which did not?
Chris Boomer: It started with “Who Truly Cares” and then everything kinda just fell into place. I know I wanted to release a full length album because my first was just extended play (EP) so my goal was 10 songs, everything else fell into place.
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: It’s been almost 10 years since your collaboration with SOJA on “You and Me”, do you see yourself collaborating in the studio again with the band in the near future?
Chris Boomer: They’re my brothers so I believe that there is a big possibility, then again they’ve done so much for me and my music career and life. For that, I respect them to the fullest to try and not overstay my welcome. As a figure of speaking, as far as adding to their already busy schedule, what will be will be!
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: What are some things that you enjoy outside of the stage or recording studio?
Chris Boomer: Surfing and basketball basically, if I’m not writing or creating.
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: What message you would like to send your fans and our readers?
Chris Boomer: Humanity over ignorance and growth over comfort!
Altwire [Omayra Lopez]: Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview with our Altwire family!
On the second to last weekend of March, Jerry’s Tiki Bar and Grill is the place to go in Florida’s Northeast Atlantic Coast to kick off the beginning of Spring with their annual reggae fest consisting of two stages with the best of Florida reggae and great food! This year, it was headlined by Pepper’s legendary front-man, Bret Bollinger and his band, The Bad Habits.
The evening lineup featured The Holdup, Katastro, and Orlando based sensations, Gary Dread and H0R!ZEN and was hosted by St. Pete’s reggae sensation Badda Skat who also shared the stage with Gary Dread during his set.
Check out some photos from the show below:
This week’s BONUS edition of fast five is comprised of the latest from that fest’s lineup!
Bret Bollinger – Mama Don’t Know
One of the many songs that Pepper’s front-man performed at the fest, “Mama Don’t Know” is so catchy you’ll add to your romantic heartache playlist. If you’ve ever dated someone who your mom disapproves of, this is a track that you will surely relate to! A reminder that the heart wants what it wants.
Katastro – Giving Me Up
The Arizona based band Katastro smoothly combines trance, funk, reggae and hip hop which trademarks their signature style. This is another song to add to your breakup playlist as it explains the receiving end of it as it harshly describes a toxic relationship where you’ve held on far after its end.
The Holdup – Closet’s All Black
From the California based band’s latest album, Killing Time, this track is all about keeping it real and demanding honesty in all your relationships. With their signature mix of r&b, reggae and indie, this track goes to show that your wallet is thicker and life is easier with just a few close friends.
Gary Dread – Chalice
The Orlando based reggae star (who’s also the drummer of The Movement) has a style that combines roots reggae with hip hop reminiscent to what most may remember in the 90s as it relates to social and political justice. With the widespread awareness across the country on the benefits of cannabis, this track demands that greedy politicians legalize it so all those who need it can access it.
Brothers Within – Back Up
One of the many original songs from their debut self-titled EP, and performed at their hometown set, Brothers Within have gained local celebrity status and this track is a perfect addition to your summer playlist as you plan your next beach outing. “Back Up” is a reminder to let go of all things that are beyond your control and focus on the present moment as the music takes over your senses.
Reggae star, Collie Buddz is currently on tour and our team got to catch his headlining set in Deland, Florida.
This quiet small town (winner of the 2017 title of America’s Main Street) which is 30 miles north of Orlando and 20 miles south of Daytona Beach, is not exactly the place that one would normally associate with reggae. On Thursday March 28th, however, its downtown venue, Cafe DaVinci was packed with loyal fans from all Central Florida.
The night was opened up by local reggae-rock band, The Trees of Life who recently released their album, We’re All Connected. Their set brought on a strong following of local fans.
Collie Buddz ended the evening performing his hits, among them, “Mamacita”, “Gimme Love” and closing the night with his #1 hit, “Blind to You”, along with his recent tracks from his album Good Life.
The overall turnout for this show wasn’t as huge as it otherwise would be on a weekend but it made for a great intimate setting consisting of the best local reggae and the best in the overall scene.
Make sure to listen to Buddz’s latest single “Bank” and make sure to catch him on tour at your nearest city!
Sometimes you just need a little pick me up to start your day. That’s where Fast Five comes in. Compromised of bite sized playlists, posted often, “the five” gives you a taste of the best in music right now, featuring tracks from many genres. This week’s reggae edition arrives just in time for 4/20!
Broken Wings – Jesse Royal
With its upbeat calypso style, one wouldn’t associate this track with heartache but it’s worth a listen when reflecting on lost love after the crash from the high.
You + Me – Through The Roots
This sweet upbeat track is a great song to dedicate to that one person who you simply can’t let go of. “You + Me” is a reminder that love is worth fighting for and it’s OK to listen to your heart’s call.
Weed Man – Kash’d Out, Edley Shine
As the herb becomes more widely accepted, this song is a reminder to always thank your go-to person.
Pepper, Stick Figure – Warning
Veteran reggae-rock band, Pepper kicked off their tour performing this track live and it’s finally had a much deserved studio-release. Featuring Stick Figure, this single is a perfect addition to your 4/20 party playlist!
World on Fire (Remix) – Stick Figure, Slightly Stoopid, Tribal Seeds, The Green, Common Kings, The Movement
This remix of the California based band’s hit about making a difference in this world by challenging a culture of self-gratification features an all-star lineup which you can catch on their much anticipated 4/20 headline at Red Rocks! I personally found the original version to be great on its own, but veteran band Slightly Stoopid along with The Green, Common Kings and The Movement, truly set this song on fire!