Mark Wonder is into his fourth
album, Break The Ice, and he expects it to do exactly that.
Since Wonder's first album Signs Of The Time was released in
1996 by Dutch label Zola & Zola, he has been heralded as one of
the new crop of singers likely to fill the vacuum left by the
sudden departure of Garnett Silk. But, even with two more albums
under his belt, he is yet to win the acclaim his early career
Now Wonder thinks that he has found the right formula with his
"This album reflects what I've learnt since then and the lyrics
come from those experiences," he says. "For example, I remember
one afternoon prior to a summer tour of Europe, we were just
jamming, the whole vibes for the song Kingston City came to me:
Dutty tough a yard, some travel gone abroad, y'kno."
He says that his numerous visits to Europe, especially
Switzerland and Holland, have opened up his mind to things he
never knew before.
"I found a lot of people there who are opposed to the system,
just like we are opposed to the system. In Rome, I met people
who just love when Rasta criticise the Pope," he explained.
Wonder says that for years roots reggae has been the favourite
of the rebel types in Europe, or people who, he says, "share the
same opinions as us". However, he admitted that with the advent
of Shaggy and Sean Paul, the reggae net has been widened as
there is now a large dancehall following.
"Roots music is still dominant, but dancehall is making
headway," he said.
He says that Switzerland has become like a second home since he
first travelled there in 1999, courtesy of Michael Burkhalter's
Wonder, who originates from
Kingston, but grew up in Albion, Manchester, started recording
in the late 1980s. He had originally planned to become a jockey,
but the jockey school intervened. He was unable to procure a
school-leaving certificate, after dropping out of school, in
order to get entry to the jockey school, so he decided to stick
His career took off after he was introduced to producer Milton
Moore (Soundproof), in the early 1990s, by dub poet DYCR.
His first album, Signs Of The
Times (Zola & Zola), was released in 1996. This was followed by
a live album recorded in Switzerland, courtesy of Trinity
Records in 2001. Then came Jeremiah for local label Soundproof,
Although those albums established him somewhat in the market,
Wonder thinks that it is this new album that will actually break
the ice for and make him a household name wherever roots reggae
The title track speaks to the issue of the problems facing
Jamaican ghetto youths.
"It is a message song I wrote with Albert Dias which asks the
question: 'Heads of government, what you gonna do?' The livity
no right, how dem dealing with poor people situation, especially
the youths," he confirmed.
One track, So Much War, was produced by Holland's Overdose
Productions, but most of the tracks were done by Soundproof's
In addition to the album, Wonder has recorded a number of
singles which he expects to do well this year, including
Spiritual Warriors, featuring Gentleman from Germany.