SOJA marches with Grammy
Written by lightning on April 4, 2022
TOP-SELLING reggae band SOJA is the winner of the Best Reggae Album in the 64th Grammy Awards held on Sunday.
The Virginia-based outfit won for its Billboard-charting 15-track album Beauty in the Silence. The award was handed out during the pre-Grammy telecast at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
During his acceptance speech, lead vocalist/guitarist Jacob Hemphill tipped his hat to their Jamaican musical influences.
“We wanna thank all of our influences. When we were growing up, starting a reggae band was kind of a dream and the only thing we wanted to do. And then, one day, people started coming to our shows and we’re really not sure what happened. But thank you to the Academy, Red Light Management, Elliott and ATO Records,” said Hemphill.
This was the group’s third nomination. They previously received nods for Amid the Noise and the Haste (2015, produced by Jamaican Dwayne “Supa Dups” Chin-Quee) and Live in Virginia (2017).
Elliott Harrington, the group’s manager, was happy with the win.
“This is our 25th year as a band and we finally won. So incredibly grateful,” Harrington told the Jamaica Observer in a Facebook message.
SOJA, which consists of eight members, is one of the top-selling reggae acts in the United States. Their albums consistently outsell those of their Jamaican counterparts. The band also tours and performs on several shows across the United States annually.
SOJA beat Sean Paul (Live N Livin), Gramps Morgan (Positive Vibrations), Etana (Pamoja), Jesse Royal (Royal), and Spice (10) to lift the coveted Reggae Grammy award.
Beauty in the Silence, released last September, was recorded, in part, at Jamaican reggae band Inner Circle’s Circle House studios in Miami. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart, while peaking at number 34 on the Current Album Sales chart, and 52 on Top Album Sales.
The group has four number one titles to its credit and more than 150,000 copies in album sales in the United States. The group’s biggest selling album is 2012’s Strength to Survivewhich has sold more than 70,000 copies to date.
The group performed in Jamaica in January 2015 at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival held at the Greenfield Stadium, Trelawny.
SOJA is not the first non-Jamaica-based reggae act to have won the Best Reggae Album Grammy. British band Steel Pulse won the award in 1987 for Babylon the Bandit.
Other non-Jamaican acts who have received nominations for Best Reggae Album through the years include UB40 (four times), African reggae artiste Rocky Dawuni, Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu, French producer/DJ Bob Sinclar, Aswad, Alpha Blondy, Snoop Lion, Hawaiian reggae act J Boog, Common Kings, and Rebelution.