It appears that NBC’s The Voice is beginning to recognize that reggae music has unique momentum they’re hoping to exploit on their show. Reggae has been covered in the past, but with the newest addition of Gwen Stefani as a judge & coach, we’re seeing it performed in consecutive weeks & met with a ton of praise…
24 year-old Anita Antoinette of Kingston, Jamaica & currently living in Boston, MA returned to the show on Sept 29th to give her blind audition another shot. She was previously featured on Season 3 when she was turned away after performing Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”. Now shes back on season 7 to perform Bob Marley & Lauryn Hill‘s duet of “Turn Your Lights Down Low”.
Anita has an interesting background – Her mom left Jamaica for America when Anita was 2 & later sent for her by the age of 8. Her mom, a hard worker, put her through the Berkley School of Music and even after her rejection in Season 3, Anita returned for another Bob Marley performance, staying true to her roots & culture.
Anita acknowledged that, “it’s important for me to sing another Bob Marley song cause it speaks to me”.
Anita, accompanied by her acoustic guitar, performed a wonderful rendering of the Bob Marley/Lauryn Hill duet. Gwen Stefani barely let Anita finish the opening lines of the song before hitting her buzzer in support. During the rap verse of the song, Gwen can be heard shouting out “Boh Boh Boh!” with her right hand waiving in the air to the song.
Following her performance, Anita explained that she loves music that touches people, music that doesn’t have the glitz and the glamor, but has a message. Her saying that, combined with her choice in staying loyal to Bob Marley & roots reggae music is a perfect example of why we at The Pier have so much love & support for this artist – a touching message behind some soul is far more timeless & meaningful.
To sum it up, all of the judges turned their seat around lobbying for Anita to choose them as coach. In the end, Anita chose Gwen, saying “I felt a warmer connection to Gwen in that moment”.
You can see Gwen hot-steppin’ around the stage in celebration and following the show, Gwen was joined by her son, Kingston, in her arms, saying: “I named my son ‘Kingston’ after Kingston Jamaica. So I feel that Anita and I are meant to be. She likes that music & so do I.”
It’s worth noting that we’re seeing a bigger presence of Reggae music on commercial platforms. Just last week, we saw 19 year old Menlik Zergabachew of Maryland, cover Sublime‘s “Santeria” on The Voice. Menlik was specific in asking the judges if he could continue to perform reggae before predictably choosing Gwen as his coach.
We’re curious to see if all the artists who perform reggae, end up choosing Gwen Stefani as her coach. Call it a coincidence or maybe a plan by the producers to use Gwen Stefani as the face to bring more reggae, it’s momentum & it’s fans to the show as a subscribing audience.
What did you think of Anita’s performance? Was it better than Menlik’s cover of Sublime? View both videos below & let us know your thoughts in the comments!