Taj Weekes is a musician, poet and humanitarian, who along with his band “Adowa” has been receiving great reviews for their positive and uplifting reggae music, which they perform all over the world. His voice is uniquely beautiful and his lyrics are enchanting and captivating. Although he is well known for his vocal talents, Taj is also admired and respected for his humanitarian work, and he continues to give back to his country Saint Lucia through various initiatives. He is the epitome of what it means to be a good human being, and I am proud to call him one of our own. I know he will continue to be an inspiration to many, and continue to use his life to enrich that of others through his music of peace, love and understanding.
Musician, Poet and Humanitarian-Taj Weekes
Lovee: Hello Taj, It’s an absolute honor to get the opportunity to interview you. I am humbled by your willingness to answer my questions. Thank you.
Taj: Thank you, the honor is mine.
Lovee: I have to admit that it was only recently that i heard and learned more about you and your music, which i happen to love very much. I was elated to know that such a great and talented man was from my country, but a part of me was also sad that i hadn’t heard about you before. I immediately wanted to feature you to tell all Saint Lucians about this great son of the soil. I know most of them probably already know of you, but for those who don’t, i think it’s so important for our youth to know about the great men and women from our country, so they can be inspired. Who was your inspiration as a child growing up in Saint Lucia?
Taj: Unfortunately i have no recognizable name or names to give you as my inspiration….my family was my inspiration, my mother and father and especially my brother Desmond (MPLA)
Lovee: I believe that these are the best people to have as your inspiration. What was it like growing up in Saint Lucia?
Taj: My upbringing was a typical Caribbean lifestyle, 83 and sunshine, sand and sea and unbelievable freedom. Schoolwork. football, friends, family. Nothing extraordinary, I had what i think every child should have and that was to live in the moment and take full advantage of my right to play.
Taj Weekes-Playing football in the streets of Saint Lucia with the local kids.
Lovee: Indeed. I share your sentiments in my book, “A Girl Like Me.”…Growing up, did you always dream of being a musician?
Taj: My dreams were of pirates, adventure, flying etc…never of being a musician. I lived around music, from singing in church and school to singing to my parents at nighttime to playing with my brothers in a band. I was in the music so it was not something unreachable to me it wasn’t part of my dreams but of my reality.
Taj Weekes in his Element
Lovee: Lucky you, or should i say blessed you (smile). You are an acclaimed musician, poet, and humanitarian, and you and your band Adowa are truly raising the level of social consciousness through your music which is also intellectually stimulating. Your music has so much depth and speaks to the core of one’s being. I was reading some of your lyrics, truly remarkable. I love your new single, “Janjaweed.” It is quite thought provoking, like most of your other songs. What inspires your music and your writing?
Taj Weekes with his band Adowa
Taj: The world that I live in moves me to write what it is that I write… its simplicity and confusion, the love and hate, the imbalance between the rich and poor, the over-privilege and the under-privilege, the wicked and pure of heart …the stubbornness of ideologies the reasons for war, the quietness of the night the noise of the city. There are lots of things to inspire if one is still for a moment.
Lovee: Well said. I believe that everything in life is about perception, and we often perceive things based upon our own experiences, circumstances etc. I perceive your music to be very positive and uplifting, while telling powerful stories. How does your perception of the world influence your music and writing?
Taj: I think my perception of the world is based on the collective experience of all my years and through it all i remain hopeful. I cannot subscribe to the point of view that man and woman for that matter is inherently evil but righteous. I believe we have just lost our way as a people and that is all people. Since i perceive, since i believe, since i know we are all good people gone astray I sing with a “wake the town and tell the people” kind of mentality. That’s how the way i see the world affects and influences my art.
Positive, capitvating and uplifting reggae music.
Lovee: That’s deep. How would you like people to connect with your music? In other words, what message are you trying to convey?
Taj: The message is very simple, if we don’t change our plan we will live in and our children will inherit a wasteland… and that one world is enough for all of us.
Lovee: Powerful message. I’m curious to know a little more about your single ”Janjaweed.” What inspired that song?
Powerful lyrics – JANJAWEED
Taj: The ‘Janjaweed” inspired that song. The devils who ride on horse back is the literal translation for the Janjaweed. People should google Janjaweed to get a better understanding of the conflict in the Darfur region between tribes and governments over land and resources.
Lovee-Will be sure to read and learn more. I hate comparisons, because i believe that we are born with our own uniqueness and greatness, but i know musically most people probably do compare you to the late great Bob Marley. How has his music influenced you and your work?
Taj: Minimally. I don’t listen to Bob before I write a song and don’t paraphrase him in anyway. My experiences are unique in that i am of a different place and time and completely different set of circumstances. Of course I admire the songs and musicianship but no more that I admire Peter Tosh or early Steel Pulse. What’s sad is that we have elevated only one reggae musician to that status of icon and have neglected the collective that made the music great so whenever we compare we only do it to one man and no other.
Lovee: Quite thought provoking words here. Your voice is uniquely beautiful. It is captivating, exhilerating and soothing. It draws one in. Growing up, did others embrace that uniqueness or were you discouraged and told that you didn’t have a chance as a musician?
Taj: No the people whom i grew up with were never that discouraging. I was always told that my speaking voice sounded a bit different but (so did my brother ‘MPLA’) never discouraged in any way.
Taj Weekes – A true Artist
Lovee: That’s great!…I ask because often times the youth gets discouraged by their uniqueness, which they often see as flaws and don’t embrace it. What advice would you give to young people pursuing any dream?
Taj: Pursue it…nothing more nothing less…but to pursue it.
Taj Weekes with his band Adowa
Lovee: Who inspires you musically?
Taj: No one in particular just good songs across all genres, the hit makers and the one hit wonders…i love the good songs, the melodies that stay with you long after the cd or radio has stopped playing.
Lovee: One of the things that i was captivated by, and admired the most about you was your commitment and dedication to giving back to the community. You are a great humanitarian and was recently recognized for your selflessness by being given the Distinguish Humanitarian Award. What did that award mean to you?
Taj: Getting the award means some more people know what you do and some more doors open up to help some more people, so we give thanks.
Taj Weekes receiving the Distinguish Humanitarian Award in New York
Lovee: I am happy that your efforts are being recognized and together with your nonprofit organization which you founded TOCO(They Often cry Outreach), I hope that you continue to touch and change the lives of many.
Taj: I hope so too…
Lovee: I know that you recently teamed up with the Ministry of Gender Relations and PROSAF to raise awareness about domestic violence with the “Clothesline project.” I think that was a very powerful initiative. Is domestic violence a cause that you’re passionate about?
Taj: We actually teamed up with Gender Relations and HTS, we met PROSAF in St. Lucia and embraced their effort in getting the word out on gender based violence. I am passionate about peace. Peace in the home, peace in the world. “Love your neighbor as yourself in this case it’s love your “LOVER” as your self and do unto others as you would have them do you.
Taj Weekes foundation TOCO launched the
Clothesline project to raise awareness about
Domestic Violence in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean.
Lovee: Indeed!….As a humanitarian, what would you like to see improve or change in Saint Lucia?
Taj: Life for everyone not to sound to Jesus like but that the hungry be fed, the children comforted, the sick…etc you know the rest.
Taj Weekes feeding the elderly
Lovee: I sure do know. Outside of music, what do you enjoy doing?
Taj: Spending time with family, playing and watching football (soccer) and enjoying the simple things.
Taj Weekes with local boys performing his other passion-football/soccer
Lovee: I know you get to travel all over the world with your band. Which country is your favorite destination and why?
Taj: Since we are always on the run and don’t get time to experience too many places for too long I will have to say St. Lucia, cause this is where my heart is.
Taj Weekes in beautiful Saint Lucia
Lovee: Home is where the heart is indeed. I feel the same way. Ok, so i always end with this final question. It is one of reflection. What would you like your legacy to be?
Taj: Musically, that i was true to the art form and that i never became gimmicky and sold out ….Philanthropically that i helped and encouraged and that i made life easier for some people.
Taj Weekes – A Living Legend.
Lovee: I know you have and will continue to do so.Taj, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Thank you for being an inspiration to many Saint Lucians, and i pray that the almighty continue to use you to make a positive difference in the lives of others through your wonderful music and other great initiatives. You are indeed a true son of the soil. I am so proud of you and all you do (Smile).
Taj: Thank you.
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