Reggae artist Blvk H3ro says it came as a huge shock to him when he learned that he was nominated for his first Grammy Award, which also puts him in contention with Nigerian singer Burna Boy’s hit song Last Last.
The Waterford, Portmore native was nominated alongside Ghana’s Rocky Dawuni in the Best Global Music Performance category for their duet Neva Bow Down. That category’s nominees, in addition to Burna Boy, include last year’s winner Arooj Aftab and Anoushka Shankar for Udhero Na; Matt B and Eddy Kenzo for Gimme Love and Wouter Kellerman, Zakes Bantwini and Nomcebo Zikode for Bayethe.
Blvk H3ro told DancehallMag in an interview following the nominations, that, to say he was shocked to hear the news is really an understatement.
“I was in my bed and my phone was just ringing, ringing, ringing, ringing. And I was like wha a gwaan? Suh mi naw pay it no mind. Den mi a si a lot a messages come in suh mi just seh, ‘meck mi just check it out’”, he explained.
“And then somebaddy call mi inna di middle a checking di messages and seh ‘yow, yuh Grammy nominated. Yuh deh beside Burna Bwoy’. An mi a seh: ‘wha? Lie yuh a tell’. To my amazement, it was true so shock is not even the word,” the singer, whose given name is Hervin Bailey, said.
The Grammy Award for Best Global Music Performance was presented for the first time last year to Pakistani composer Arooj Aftab, ahead of Femi Kuti, Wizkid, Tems, Angélique Kidjo, Burna Boy, and Yo-Yo Ma, according to Pitchfork.
Blvk H3ro says he has not yet spoken to his collaborator Rocky, about the song’s nomination, but that he had had an exchange with the Ghanaian’s team.
“I spoke to his team. They are really excited yuh nuh. This is his third time around; this is my first time, so it is just as monumental for him – as it is for me – being Grammy-nominated three times from Ghana. And also that song, me and him, our intent was for it to just bring they Disapora, Jamaica and the Caribbean energy, especially Ghana and that African energy into one space, into one song, into one gathering. And with that energy it got nominated. So I feel like wow. There is nothing we can’t accomplish,” he said.
According to the It Nuh Easy artist, it was immediately back to work for him, after a brief celebration of the feat, as it was the “hard work” that he put in which resulted in his triumph.
“Even now, I just celebrated for like two minutes and then I went back to work. So I guess it’s just to keep working…because I didn’t know this song was gonna do it. I just kept working, but I believe hard work will be rewarded. I believe hard work trump everything, even talent. I swear,” he said.
Neva Bow Down was released on September 22, 2022 on the Aquarian Records label, and is described by Rocky as having elements of “pop, dub, and reggae for a modern take on ‘rebel music’.”
The song, according to the duo, reconnects Africa and the Afro-Descendant Diaspora, while “drawing on Jamaica’s powerful culture of resistance”, and is a protest anthem about the “current, dire state of global affairs and our collective power to change the course of history, serving as an inspiration for people to stand up for what is right and true”.
Blvk H3ro, whose musical roots began in the church, released his first album the 14-track The Immortal Steppa in February 2019. He teamed up with Wayne J in October 2020 for New Millennium, a seven-track Reggae/Dancehall EP.
Since he started out in the music industry six years ago, he has collaborated with artists such as the late Bunny Wailer, UB40, and Skillibeng.
Rocky Dawuni, who is a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment for Africa, describes himself as a dedicated activist, and a leading voice for social and environmental transformation who believes that “music is the medium to strike a chord which transforms our collective intentions into a vehicle for positive social change.”
He is known for songs such as African Reggae Fever and this is Reggae.
He was nominated for the Best Reggae Album for Branches of the Same Tree in 2016, alongside winners Morgan Heritage’s Strictly Roots, Jah Cure’s The Cure, Barrington Levy’s Acousticalevy, and Luciano’s Zion Awake.
Last year his album Voice of Bunbon Vol 1 was nominated for Best Global Music Album.