Hawaiian reggae band The Steppas released their new single “Stay” through Easy Star Records. The song marks a return to recording for the group, which faced a number of nearby tragedies in 2019 and 2020, which almost kept the group from continuing entirely. In 2019, the band’s longtime friend and manager Kaliko Keawe’ehu passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. Steppa frontman Star Alaniz took months off to write music, record or perform. This was followed by more unexpected deaths in their scene. Eventually, Star came back to realizing that life is actually short, and he returned to writing music with a vengeance. “Stay”, the first single to come out of this period of renewed creativity, is a fitting comeback, as it tackles themes of crossing dark times, while embracing a new stylistic adventure for the group.
On the Jamrock Cruise in 2018, Star, alongside the late Kaliko Keawe’ehu, along with members of Inna Vision and Jamaica’s Earthkry, began discussing the commonalities between Jamaica and Hawaii. At the time, Hawaiians protested deeply against the construction of the Mauna Kea Telescope, while Jamaica still faces the fallout from its own colonial history. It appeared to those involved that reggae music has always served as a common voice among persecuted and historically oppressed groups, not only in Jamaica but also around the world, especially in Hawai’i with islanders who identify as Native Americans. , Pacific Islanders and Australian Aborigines. So, for the Hilo Natives, the mix of Jamaican and Hawaiian styles struck a chord in their souls and collaborating with Jamaican artists and musicians is a dream come true. âStayâ became the first song they sent to Phillip McFarlane, frontman of Earthkry, as well as Jamaican label boss Irie Yute Records.
The new song was recorded in both Jamaica and Hawai’i during the summer of 2020.
Merging influences from both islands in a wonderfully warm tropical vibe, the new single “Stay” carries a message of love and hope – if we stay and keep moving. Star reminds us in the chorus:
“This is not a bed of roses
There will be dark clouds ahead
I can’t promise you the rain won’t fall
But I’ll wash away your pain
It’s not the sunlight
Although I’ll clear the rain
I can’t promise you forever but forever I will stay
Yes i will stay
Yes, I will stay “
“Stay” is masterfully crafted by a cast of star musicians. Along with McFarlane, The Steppas are also joined by Earthkry bassist Kamardo Blake, Chronixx guitarist Nnamdi Robinson, Buju Banton drummer Keneil Delisser and Sherida Sharpe on vocals. Other tracks are written by Star and Pavao, then worked between Hawai’i and Jamaica, with the intention of releasing a longer EP resulting from the international collaboration.
Breaking into the Hawaiian reggae scene, The Steppas arrived in 2012 with their EP GOOD ROOTS. From there, their first full-length album TO YOU FROM WE was a fan favorite and reached # 1 on the iTunes reggae charts and # 2 on the Billboard reggae charts. This was followed by THE LOVE SHACK EP, which included the hit songs “Lost At Sea” and “Empress Love”. Their most recent release, JOURNEY OF ROADS, is a body of work that embodied the band’s roots style while merging the rock and pop-reggae influences of fans. Their unique sound has been refined through numerous tours across the United States, from venues to festivals including the California Roots Festival, Dry Diggings, and Pure Aloha Festival. They also shared the stage with top ranking groups Billboard Tribal Seeds, Fortunate Youth, The Skints, and more, while opening up for GRAMMY winners Morgan Heritage, Iration, Common Kings and The Green. mark on the reggae arena has placed its name not only among the best in Hawaii, but also among the seats of the new generation of global reggae. âNo matter where we go, we represent Hawaii. This is our home and it’s a constant reminder that even though we are in the middle of the ocean, we are making our dreams come true. So you can too. Always keep pushing, no matter what we go through in life, we can do it if we try! ” âStayâ poignantly brings this point home on several levels, while also priming the pump for much more music in 2021.