Soul & Ska Session
with Masia One & Richie Stephens
MAS1A (Masia One) is that 1 in a million. Born in Singapore, grown in Canada, earned her stripes in America and became inspired by her time in the Caribbean. Now this artist is reconnecting with her roots in Asia and reemerging as the Far East Empress.
After graduating with an honours BA in Architecture from the University of Toronto, MAS1A told her Chinese parents she intended to become a rapper. She set out on this unlikely path and succeeded in working with international greats from Pharrell, John Frusciante, Che Vicious (G.O.O.D. Music, Kanye West, Jay-Z) to Hong Kong Actor and pop star, Edison Chen. She toured and performed in over 20 countries and has headlined festivals such as Burning Man, Laneway, Ultra Music Japan, Pink Dot, Singapore: Inside Out (Australia) and most recently at Singjazz – setting the stage for her hero Lauryn Hill.
On the cusp of releasing her new album named Far East Empress, her video Time Wastin’ is catching the attention of international and local audiences alike, as she shares for the first time her Asian inspirations.
Artist, Entrepreneur, Songwriter, Arts Educator, and Creative Director, MAS1A truly defines her Queendom and continues to add to her impressive credentials that make her a true international Empress.
Richard Stephenson, better known as Richie Stephens has been a household name in Jamaica for over two decades, an honour afforded to only a few Jamaican Artistes. Richie was destined for stardom from his very first performance in his hometown, Savanna La Mar, Westmorland, Jamaica, at the age of 11, which left his audience in awe. In his mid teens Richie then left his hometown to pursue a career as a singer in the tourist resorts in Jamaica. He gained instant success performing 6 nights per week to a multinational audience where he honed and mastered his performing skills.
When Richie did his first recording in 1984 it was obvious he was on his way to the top. He quickly became one of the most sought after and versatile artistes of that decade. Whether appearing with Reggae great, Dennis Brown or R & B Legend Luther Vandross, he would have his Jamaican Audiences rocking and dancing in the aisles.
By the early 1990’s, Stephens was a regular fixture on tours featuring reggae icons Shabba Ranks, Lady Patra and Cobra. He was later invited to be part of the twice Grammy Award winning act Soul II Soul and sang lead vocals on their chart topping single “Joy”. Record company Motown Records could not resist Richie’s soulful vocal delivery and captivating stage performances and signed him to their label in 1993.
Later that decade Richie began producing records and established his own label, Pot of Gold Records, producing records for some of Jamaica’s most seasoned artiste. In 1998, Greensleeves Records released his album Winner, produced by himself, Frenchie, Danny Brownie and Donovan Germain. He has since then produced multiple albums with many awards to show for his efforts.
In 2006, Stephens was awarded the Jamaican Governor-General’s Achievement Award for contributing to civic, social and recreational projects in and around the parish of Westmoreland in Jamaica.
Following the death of his son in 2011, Richie has found a new lease on life and In 2012, released his gospel inspired album “God Is On My Side”. During that same year he also found refuge in a long time friend, German reggae artiste “Gentleman”, with whom he toured Europe and recorded and released their combination album entitled “Live Your Life”. He racked up 12 awards for 2012 including three ‘Lifetime Achievement Awards,’ four ‘Song of the Year’ awards, a ‘USA Congressional Proclamation,’ two ‘Achievement Awards’ and ‘Best International Song’ for 2011.
Richie’s latest album “Real Reggae Music” is available worldwide from itunes and many other online stores. Real Reggae Music is a fourteen-track album, which features collaborations with Gentleman, Daddy U Roy, Alborosie and Richie Campbell.