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Windell Beneto Edwards became the singer known as Gyptian when he left his rural home in St. Andrew, Jamaica, and traveled to Portmore, the town where the promoter known as Mr. Wong ran his studio. Gyptian had grown up singing in his mother's Adventist church and listening to his Rastafarian father's music. His father had been a promoter himself for a time, so he understood the grooming and networking that would be involved in turning Gyptian's passion into his profession. His parents trusted Ravin Wong, having seen the promoter turn many an unpolished talent into reggae stars, I Wayne being a good example. Under Wong's direction, Windell became "Egyptian," then "I-Gyptian," and finally just Gyptian. The smooth singer was eventually presented with a song that would suit his conscious upbringing, "Serious Times," and after adding his own verse to it, he cut the track in Wong's studio.
Combining hypnotic nyabinghi drums with lyrics that plead for an end to violence and crime, "Serious Times" exploded across Jamaica, putting Gyptian in the company of Jah Cure and Fantan Mojah, two other artists who were becoming popular by fighting for peace and justice in a roots reggae style. By the time the single had become a Jamaican number one, numerous producers were contacting Gyptian in hopes he would appear on their tracks, but the roots-minded singer refused most of the offers since their lyrics were filled with gun talk and misogyny. After being presented with enough socially conscious music and old-school lovers rock to fill a full-length, Gyptian made his debut in 2006 with My Name Is Gyptian on the VP label. Two years later he returned with I Can Feel Your Pain, an album heavily influenced by contemporary R&B. In 2010 his massive Jamaican hit "Hold You" put him back in the spotlight. It was followed by a soca remix of the track, a hip-hop remix with rapper Nicki Minaj as guest, dubstep remixes from Diplo and Toddla T, plus a full-length album of the same name. In 2013, he returned with the album Love, Sex and Reggae, a more pop-oriented effort with Diplo returning as a producer.
Wikipedia:This article is about the Jamaican reggae singer. For the fictional characters from the His Dark Materials trilogy, see Gyptians.
Windel Beneto Edwards (born 25 October 1983), better known by his stage name Gyptian, is a Jamaican reggae singer. He often appears with roots reggae songs within the reggae subgenre dancehall.
ContentsBiography1.1 Early life1.2 Career beginnings1.3 2010 and crossover success1.4 Artistry1.5 Personal life
Born to a Seventh-day Adventist mother and Rastafarian father, Edwards received his musical calling at the age of seven, when he began singing in the church. Recognizing his talent, his parents introduced him to Mr. Wong, a record producer from Portmore, St. Catherine. "I did not take it seriously," said Edwards "My family members have always been carrying me to Portmore to see him, but I usually disappear. One day, they dropped me off at his studio and left me and it all began there."
Under the guidance of Mr. Wong and Earl Chinna Smith, Gyptian honed his sound, winning the 2004 Star Search talent competition at Kens Wild Flower Lounge in Portmore, earning him a spot at Sting 2004, dubbed the 'greatest one night reggae show on earth'.
The singer earned his nickname from his habit of tying a shirt around his head and twisting his chin hair like an Egyptian pharaoh. In 2005, he scored two hits, "Is There A Place" on the Seasons Riddim and "Serious Times".
Nominated for Best New Entertainer at the 2006 International Reggae and World Music Awards, the singer has been dominating the Jamaician charts with hits including "Is There a Place", "Beautiful Lady", and the chart-topping ballad, "Mama, Don't Cry".
On 12 September 2004, Gyptian released his first album on VP Records. On 12 December 2007, Gyptian, while in New York City, shot the music video, directed by Rhona Fox, for his new single, "I Can Feel Your Pain" (Cloud Nine Riddim) Produced by Jon FX. The song was the first to be confirmed to appear on his album I Can Feel Your Pain, which was released in 2008.
2010 and crossover success
As of the end of May 2010, his single "Hold Yuh" had peaked at number 91 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 33 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Chart, number 6 on the Billboard Heatseekers Songs Chart and had been at the top of the Reggae Digital Songs chart for nine consecutive weeks.
In June, the song re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually reached a new peak of 77 on that chart, number 3 on the Heatseekers Songs chart, 31 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Chart, 63 on the Radio Songs chart and an astonishing peak of 28 on the Billboard Rhythmic Top 40, capitalising it crossover success. The song also peaked at number 1 on the Dancehall/Reggae fusion Charts of the Jamaica Weekly Music Charts for two consecutive weeks. In Canada it peaked at No. 69 on the Canadian Hot 100. The official remix for the song features rapper Nicki Minaj. It spent 29 weeks on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Chart and 15 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.
Gyptian had further chart success with his album Hold Yuh, which reached number 2 on Billboard's Reggae Albums Chart. The title track, "Hold Yuh", became a multi-chart hit worldwide. According to Billboard magazine, "not since Wayne Wonder's "No Letting Go" has an underground reggae artist garnered as much attention in the United States as Jamaica's own Gyptian."
The song also became popular in the UK, and was released there on 7 November by Ministry of Sound Recordings, in an EP which will include remixes by Shy FX, Major Lazer and Toddla T.
In October 2012 he released the SLR EP, which included three tracks from his forthcoming Sex, Love & Reggae album. Sex, Love & Reggae was released in October 2013 and entered the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart at number one.
His latest album, Nothing to Lose, is set for release in April 2015.
His style of reggae music is considered lovers rock and roots reggae, with songs about political issues and love. His musical and lyrical style has been compared to established Jamaican artists, such as Sizzla, Luciano and Beres Hammond.
Gyptian is currently single and is living in Jamaica. On 8 June 2010, he crashed his motorbike and sustained minor head and shoulder injuries.
He is Rastafarian, and this is supported by lyrics in some of his songs, including "Leave Us Alone", chants about Selassie I are heard.Heatseekers Songs. Billboard.com (5 June 2010). Retrieved on 24 November 2010. "Usher's 'OMG' Stands Pat Atop Hot 100, Miley Tames Top 10". Billboard. Retrieved 6 August 2013. Reggae Vibes presents Jamaica's Weekly Music Countdown Charts. Reggae-vibes.com (19 November 2010). Retrieved on 24 November 2010. Canada Singles Top 100 – Music Charts. Acharts.us. Retrieved on 24 November 2010. Broadcast Yourself. YouTube. Retrieved on 24 November 2010. Campbell, Howard (2012) "Gyptian: Ready to go", Jamaica Observer, 26 October 2012, retrieved 27 October 2012 Jackson, Kevin (2013) "Gyptian tops Billboard chart on his debut", Jamaica Observer, 8 November 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013 Morgan, Simone (2015) "Nothing to Lose", Jamaica Observer, 24 February 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2015 Entertainment :: Gyptian in bike crash – Singer sustains cuts, bruises :: 8 June 2010. The Jamaica Star (8 June 2010). Retrieved on 24 November 2010.