Sometimes it only takes one song to hook your interest into a new artist before further researching their background and appreciating their depth. That was the case when we heard “Paradise Plum” by an unknown artist out of Kingston, Jamaica who goes by the name Naomi Cowan.
Listen: Naomi Cowan – “Paradise Plum”
“Growing up I always loved to perform and use my voice,” Naomi tells The Pier. “When I was a kid, I was always doing one of two things; I was either singing and dancing in front of a mirror, or I was holding up a brush as if it was a microphone presenting music awards to the mirror or pretending I was on my own cooking show.”
Naomi grew up in a music household where her mother, Dr. Carlene Davis-Cowan, was an international reggae singer & community builder. Her father, Tommy Cowan, was the founding member of a rocksteady quartet from the 1960’s called The Jamaicans and was later a tour manager for Bob Marley.
Naomi tells The Pier of her father: “He’s a strong songwriter and his catalog is quite extensive as a producer. He produced Jacob Miller, Inner Circle, Ras Michael’s first album. In the 80’s & the 90’s he was one of the lead producers of Reggae Sunsplash which was a worldwide tour; they went to Japan, Europe and all throughout the states. He was also the marketing manager for Tuff Gong and helped Bob (Marley) to establish Tuff Gong as a record label.”
It can be difficult and intimidating to pursue a field that saw so much success for your parents while maintaining your own identity. After High School, it was important for Naomi to make a statement of her own where she later pursued media production in college. She would find herself on television working both behind scenes and in the spotlight. “Because I grew up around music, it wasn’t as attractive to me as music might be to many people. And then on top of that, I was afraid too. Out of High School, I decided I wanted to do media instead and it sounded more feasible.”
Naomi admits that she is most herself while singing, even though she may have suppressed her musical side for several years. Pursuing media production and broadcasting was Naomi’s way of finding her identity that eventually led her back to where she feels at home with singing and writing music.
Naomi didn’t officially pursue a music career until 2017 when she released her rocksteady cover & tribute of “Things You Say You Love.” Her dad originally wrote the song 50 years prior while performing in The Jamaicans. The production on Naomi’s version was done by Mark Pelli of Magic!, and the last time the song was covered was in 2004 by UB40.
2018 is expected to be a catalyst year for the emerging artist following the release of “Paradise Plum,” a bass driven reggae cross-over track showcasing her balance of a “bad gyal in the verse and lady on the chorus.” The song was produced by Zinc Fence Records producer Teflon, best known for his work with Chronixx.
“It’s so funny how you call it reggae-crossover because Mike, I kid you not, the file I have of that ‘Paradise Plum’ MP3 that Teflon sent over says ‘Reggae-Crossover-Dub,’ so you hit the nail on the head! My songs moving forward are definitely going to be more of that reggae-crossover vibe. Fresh sounding reggae, keeping the vocals very beautiful, catchy and poppy. ‘Paradise Plum’ is a great way to describe what my new music will sound like.”
Naomi plans to accompany her “Paradise Plum” single with a music video, followed by a mix-tape that is set to feature some special guest appearances. She has building momentum with mounting interest from producers and artists wanting to work with the now active songwriter who plans to make a splash following her first original reggae single. Stay tuned for more updates as we plan to follow her closely.
Listen: Naomi Cowan – “Things You Say You Love” (The Jamaicans Cover)