Quanno, a dynamic artist born in the heart of St. Ann Jamaica, Kevin Stephenson a product of the cool cool hills of Bamboo St. Ann. A parish that is the birth place of greats such as Robert Nesta Marley and Marcus Garvey who have made their mark worldwide; is now offering us a piece of his world by showing us his flare to hip hop, dancehall and R&B fusion of music. The artist and song writer now displays himself in his melodies, fashion and persona to embrace his love for music, from singing in church to singing and entertaining friends and family; Quanno is truly an artist you can say has music in his blood.
His debut single, ‘Intoxicated’ displays his talent from the chill, cool and genuine sound. His tone sets the pace for a slow jam with a Jamaican sexy swag, the sound that will not just be accepted nationwide but also internationally. The intoxicated singer, being one of few artist that fuse dancehall, hip hop and R&B music most definitely stands out therefore becoming one to keep an eye on; so tell me are you ready to dive in the trap - dancehall era the Quanno way?
Q. What does your name mean?
A. My stage name came from a name my mother gave me as a child (Quwayne/ Quwayno). However my grandmother was the one that had the real impact when it comes on to my name, she thought that the name Quwayne was too complicated for her so she gave her own interpretation and started to call me Quaney; so I then combined both nomes being that those two strong women are responsible for the man I am today and the most important in my life. Quwayno + Quaney = Quanno.
Q. Where did you grow up?
A. There were many different places that Impacted my growth, I migrated with my dad to England at the age of three and because of complications in regards to my dad with the law I had to move back to my home town Bamboo located in the garden parish of St. Ann, but it was my home town that played a significant part in my development.
Q. What was your household like, growing up?
A. I grew up in an extended family household with my Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, Aunts and Cousins. There is no where like home. I am from a family where everyone in the family could do something weather it be acting, singing, poetry, dance or dub. In the evening after school I would rush home because I knew that there would be a gathering in the living room waiting for me to come start the entertainment, as I was that one who could was involved in anything because I was good at everything in the arts; we would make up songs and clear the living room of furniture just to have our “living room musical” as we name it. We would dance, sing make up skits just for the sake of fun,I had the best childhood and would not take back one day, one minute nor second.
Q. How else did growing up in Jamaica shape you as an artist?
A. I’m a perfectionist, as human beings we were born imperfect but I try to do everything to best of my ability. Jamaicans are naturally talented so the competition is very much evident in our music as you always see Jamaican artist clashing. I’m very competitive myself and enjoy being different and standing out. I’m very observant so I observe and take the best aspects from each artist and include it in my music, I don’t however loose my style or way of doing music what I do is intertwine different flows and styles of delivery helping me to become an artist one should pay close attention to. Therefore one of the biggest contributions Jamaica has offered to me is, it has helped me to improve my craft because of the constant reminder from the many talented musicians here; they show me that to be great u have to be able to contend with the best or be the best! So I work every day to improve my talent because no one is too polished for improvement.
Q. When and how did you first become interested in music?
A. My musical journey begun when I was just 5 years old, I was living in England and my Aunt was a dancer at the time and would make routines to perform them at her high school events, she would always use music videos for her inspiration to make her routines; there and then I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was always in my Aunt’s room watching the music videos, I knew the exact time she came from school each day and would be in her room even before she came. I became so fascinated with the melodies and artistry of different recording artist and would soon start creating melodies of my own.
Q. When you were 5 what artiste did you want to be?
A. I wanted to be anyone that was at the top of their game. At five I was more versed in music than any body else my age. I looked up to people like Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Beenie Man, Brian McKnight, Usher; they were excellent and passionate about what they did and would go the extra mile to please and perform for their audience and that in so many ways is me. I cannot name one artist when I was five I wanted to be like because their were so many, there are so many other names that should have been called!!!
Q. When did you start making music?
A. I started to write music from the age of 13 when I just start to high school however I started to record music when I was 16.
Q. What are your musical influences?
A. Music is my first love so it does not matter the type of music, I will listen so I would say my musical influences is good inspirational music and life events.
Q. Does anyone in your family play music?
A. Growing up I was always surrounded by music; coming from a family of dancers, singers and musicians. My family on my dads side comprise of mostly dancers and musicians while on the other hand my family on my moms side was filled with singers.
Q. Was it difficult to explain your career to your parents?
A. I didn’t find it difficult because my parents saw from an early age what I was interested in, when I told them I wanted to take my music to the next level they supported me however my dad ensured that I had everything straight when it came to my education. He adviced me that I should do what I love but still don’t neglect my education.
Q. What would be your dream event to perform at?
A. My dream event to perform at the Grammys as it is one of the biggest awards show in music.
Q. What else do you like to do when your not making music?
A. When I’m not making music I like to dance, spend time with friends and loved ones and read.
Q. If you didn't become an artiste what would you be doing right now?
A. If I didn’t choose the path I’m on now I would have chosen artist management.
Q. Do you feel like you have something to prove?
A. I think this answer for me would be a yes! I want to show the world that Jamaicans rule the world; we are so talented and creative we need to start seeing more Jamaican acts on the main stage, collecting awards and breaking barriers. We have had a lot of good achievements yes but I want to be an artist that is consistent in achieving and breaking barriers. The world already knows that Jamaica a the real music capital, were most artist run to for inspiration on a lot of occasions but we need to be on that main stage internationally, performing and not just a featured act in a performance.
Q. In terms of your development as a person—as a human being—what has been going on with you over the last couple of years, as you gain fans and attention?
A. Over the years I have dedicated my life to be the best artist I can be, always working on my craft, always working out the next move I should take. As a developing artist going mainstream has always been my goal so what I’ve done over the years is take the time out the find my sound; something I feel is real important because all artist have someone who has inspire them in some way or the other and that is good but I think sometimes persons can get a little caught up in trying to sound like someone else and loose their authenticity. Everyone is unique in their own way and should strive to be better at being themselves than try to be an imitation. Every artist that I know and look up to has been inspired by someone but the attribute I admire in all of them is that they are uniquely themselves! So I spent my time over the years finding my voice, and writing music.
Q. Do you feel we’re living through a pivotal moment in Jamaican music right now?
A. Yes I do feel like we are living through a pivotal time in Jamaican music because doors are being opened for Jamaican artist like never before, doors were always opened yes but it is evident in today’s media were we see more Jamaican artist reaching for greatness and making moves. More over our artist are starting to realizing that there is a whole world out there waiting for us to show them our greatness, henceforth becoming very popular to see Jamaican artist lifting barriers, making moves, and trying to be the best they can be.
Q. If you could date any other artiste or celebrity who would it be and why?
A. I would have to choose Shenseea because she knows what she wants and is moving towards that each and every day. I also like the fact that she is consistent and is an amazing mother. You can’t deny her talent because at the end of the day many or talent but few make moves.
Q. What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
A. In the next three years my album should be the number album all around the world. Quanno is going to be an household name.
Q. What are your long-term career goals?
A. I most definitely want to be someone to contend with in the music industry, I also want to start my own label and management company.
Q. How would you define the word “success”?
A. Success for me is becoming the best I can be.
Q. Are you looking for an independent label deal or a major label deal? (Why?)
A. With social media and the world we are living in today u can dominate without being signed to a label but I think one should strive to be signed at the beginning of their career seeing that the label has certain resources to ensure your music reaches a wider audience and what is a musician without listeners/fan base. I however also think that as an artist you should not strive to be with a label for the rest of your career I think one should use that time to learn and make good relationships.
Q. Do you have a favorite musical project that you've worked on?
A. My favorite musical project is my first single released this is because it has taught me so much and I have used my disappointments and downfalls to become a better artist.
Q. What can we expect from you in 2018?
A. You can expect from Quanno for the rest of this year a lot of new and exciting music and music videos.
Q. Do you have advice for young people who want to become artiste?
A. My advice to young people wanting to become artist? I would have to advice them to take constructive criticism, I think all artist should surround themselves with a team that will stay true to the dream, will be honest and one should also establish a support system because independent recording artist can become frustrated because of the exhaustion of money.
Q. What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
A. I have never really gotten into any big trouble. The most trouble I got into however is in high school when someone way older than me tried to bully me and trust me I beat the life out of him and I was held by the police and could have been locked up for days but the officer saw that I was going out of my way to avoid the confrontation but he kept on coming at me so I stood up for myself.
Q. What are the five things you can’t live without?
I definitely can’t live without music, food, my family,
Q. In a perfect world, what do you want to be able to say that you’ve accomplished when it’s all said and done?
A. I want to say I lived, I lived my dreams, I want people to look at me and be inspired. I want people to respect the name “Quanno”
Q. A lot of distractions come with celebrity. What’s your plan for staying focused?
A. Yes there is a lot of pressure when the spot light is on you however the thing that will keep me grounded is the fact that I don’t like to see people unhappy, I find joy in someone else’s smile, I’m truly a caring and loyal person; I’m also not a person that likes to be surrounded by drama I like a positive atmosphere filled with good music, family and friends, So basically my conscience will keep me grounded.
Q. How did you begin to make the song? Why did you write that song? Is title of this song is based on a real event? Tell us about it. What does the title mean to you?
A. Intoxicated was a song I wrote when I was in college. At that time the relationship I was in was going south and I took to the spirits to take things off my mind, I can also thoroughly recall saying to myself “I’m drinking to damn much” and from there it was history I wrote intoxicated.
Q. Have you always been interested in processing life through music and art?
A. Yes for me music should be real. My listeners should be able to feel the energy of my music when it is played. I want them to feel exactly what I feel. It can also be good by helping others who is going through similar situations, I try to put my life in my music, I like my music to be relateble to others Furthermore it’s good when people see that they are not alone in living, and that everyone at some point in living has to deal with life and the different obstacles life throws you.
Q. Your song is about a relationship. Do you think of yourself as a relationship philosopher? Who are the people you want to reach with your art?
A. Yes I am a relationship philosopher because many times we think relationships are suppose to be perfect. What I want people to look at is the problems that come along with the territory many feel as if a relationship should be perfect, well that is not a view I share. I want to show people it is ok to be in a relationship and disagree, it’s how you work it out that will determine who stays and goes.
Q. What’s your songwriting process like? What do you want your own music to inform people about?
A. As soon as I hear a track my brain starts writing, sometimes even unknowingly, my music talks about relationships, life, love, family and fun. I get inspired through life events so I travel with my music book everyday.
Q. How has the feedback been from your fans so far? I have been getting good reviews.
Everyone so far has been reacting in a positive way. I have seen where my song started to play and persons where asking who the artist is and go straight to downloading.
Q. Is there a music video for your song as yet?
A. No but you can listen to the track free on YouTube.
Q. What makes this genre of music "good" to you?
A. It is important to me because art is a creative expression by an artist whether it be painting, dancing, or music. I believe that music should be true and should be an extension of the artist. I however see this music as “good to me” because I use real life situations for my writing hence will help others to see that they are not the only ones going through the motion picture called life, and sometimes that is all someone needs.
Q. Which artiste(s) would you like to collaborate with in the future ?
Here are just a few of the people I would like to collaborate with; Kranium, Kartel, Agent Sasco, Beenie Man, Shenseea, Spice, Chris Brown, John legend, Konshens, Wiz Kid, Tiwa Savage, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, Junior gong. There is a lot more but let me leave at that for now.
Q. What do you find distinctive about a Kingston Elite production?
A. I’m glad I got the chance to be apart of the Kingston Elite family; I have learnt so much about life and music. Kingston Elite is no longer a place that I go to record it feels more like home now. Kingston Elite is for me one of the best studios in Jamaica because they don’t only produce they also teach, I have grown so much as an artist and it’s all because of everything Kingston Elite contributed to my music without even realizing.
Q. What other producers, songwriters and/or artists do you see as your primary inspirations?
A. I respect Russian and his journey. I respect that he is really talented and he took his talent outside of Jamaica so the world can get a taste of his greatness. I respect his growth and his hunger for success
Q. How do we get in contact with you regarding bookings?
You can contact me via Instagram @quanno_music