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Conroy Smith

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(b. 1966 in Canterbury, Jamaica) is a reggae musician, currently living in New York City.

Smith was involved in the music business from an early age; at the age of 8, he was a deejay for the local sound Observer. Like many other great reggae musicians, Smith learned his musical skills from a combination of sound system culture and schoolwork. At age 15 he sang in school with Nadine Sutherland, who urged him to move to Kingston to pursue a singing career. It took five years for Smith to follow this advice as he had difficulty leaving his mother, with whom he had a very close and loving relationship.

Arriving in Kingston at the age of 20, Smith was thrown into the digital revolution of reggae music. His first track, “Indian Lady,” was released on George Phang’s Powerhouse label, Final Mission LP on the extremely popular version the old Heavenless riddim recorded by Sly & Robbie (the riddim from Half Pint’s Greetings). Though it didn’t become a major hit, producers discovered Smith’s unique and convincing singjay talent. During the next five years (from 1985-1990) Smith put out a long line of tunes. His biggest hit was the 1988 tune “Dangerous,” released on the progressive Redman label. A cheering audience watched him perform the song live at Sting ‘88. This song was even adopted by a British boxer called Nigel ‘The Dark Destroyer’ Benn and used as his entrance music, a tune that sounded out his intentions in any forthcoming fight.

Conroy Smith never become an acknowledged reggae legend. The “curse” of the late-’80s digital era was that none of the talented artists from this period of reggae music ever received the kind of acknowledgment enjoyed by the roots singers of the 1970s (except perhaps Tenor Saw).

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