With his gravelly vocals and calm demeanor, Dre Island evokes a mystery and edge that gravitates reggae and dancehall fans alike. Complex calls him “one of the most refreshing voices in reggae right now.”
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Born Andre Johnson on May 2, 1988, Dre Island hails from the Red Hills Road section of Kingston, a part of town where gunshots and crime are in abundance. At the age of three, his father asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up, his answer was one word “piano!” To avoid Dre turning to the streets, his grandmother nurtured his interest in music. She brought him to church to sing in the choir and take piano lessons.
Once introduced to the studio, a young Dre observed keenly the ins and outs of every facet of the recording process, while developing a talent for production using his classical piano training. His superb musicianship and revolutionary vocals have been shaking sound system speakers for several years now.
He has become associated with the “reggae revival,” a term used to describe a new wave of conscious, spiritually-awakened artists evoking the golden era when foundation reggae artists sang of oppression. Despite heavily embracing the spirit of reggae and Rastafari, he tries to remain genre agnostic.
He turned heads outside of the reggae sphere in 2016, when he teamed up with UK sensation Jorja Smith on the Cadenza-produced track “People” (which was voted Hottest Record In the World by BBC’s Radio 1 host Annie Mac) and more recently in 2020 with Wylcef Jean on “Justice,” a rally cry and ode to Ahmaud Arbery.
In 2020, Dre Island solidified his role as one of the top artists in Jamaica with the release of his debut album Now I Rise in a partnership with DubShot Records. The album was received with critical and fan praise alike, with hits like “We Pray” feat Popcaan receiving over 42 million + YouTube views.
His follow up album High Times will took him to heights. The multi-talented Jamaican artist elevated mind, body, and soul on his sophomore album, released June 3, 2022 via DubShot Records. The eight-track LP is a steady burn through life’s most precious moments.