Like every great artist, Gyptian has layers and multiple facets to his artistry. There’s the conscious reggae singer who listeners ﬁrst came to know on his breakthrough 2005 hit ”Serious Times.” There’s the R&B sensation who captivated females worldwide with his crooning “Hold You,” the sultry island-pop smash that topped charts globally in 2010, catching the attention of hip-hop superstar Nicki Minaj, who jumped on a remix. And on his 2013 masterpiece, Sex, Love and Reggae, Gyptian took us on a wildly diverse journey that brings the listener from R&B to dancehall to global pop sounds. Of the album, the singer said at the time, “This is the Gyptian album that I want people to hear. Each album that I do advances my career but this one is Gyptian—the next level.”
Born Windel Beneto Edwards in rural St. Andrew, Jamaica, north of Kingston, Gyptian grew up singing in church with his Adventist mom by day, and at dancehall sessions organized by his Rastafarian father by night. “I didn’t grow up in a way where I’m limited,” Gyptian says. “It’s all about two things at the table, take whichever you want.”
Gyptian gained his entry into the Jamaican music business as a young man after meeting up with talent scout and promoter Ravin Wong and Earl “Chinna” Smith, the legendary reggae guitarist known for his work with Lee “Scratch” Perry and Bob Marley. Under Smith’s guidance, Gyptian wrote “Serious Times,” a single that would instantly put him at the forefront of the roots revival that was taking over Jamaican music when it was released in 2005. A second hit, “Beautiful Lady,” followed shortly thereafter, as did a third, the heartfelt “Mama.” A debut album, My Name is Gyptian, landed in 2006, earning him comparisons to the great Gregory Isaacs for its mixture of conscious reggae and sultry lovers rock. That year saw Gyptian take home the “Most Promising Entertainer” title at the 2006 International Reggae and World Music Awards in New York City, an honor he has certainly lived up to.
Gyptian’s second album, I Can Feel Your Pain, from 2008, featured the hit title track and the smash single “Love Against The Wall.” Two years later, “Hold You” would bring Gyptian his biggest hit yet, providing a jolt of energy felt throughout the music world. The track instantly took over airwaves across the Caribbean and by summertime became the most played song on New York’s inﬂuential Hot 97 radio station. It was certiﬁed gold by the RIAA for sales of over 500,000.
Later that year he released the full length Hold You album, spawning a second crossover hit in the infectiously catchy “Nah Let Go.” A range of awards followed, including a MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Award for Best Reggae Act and a Soul Train Music Award for Best Reggae Artist.
Then came Sex, Love and Reggae, Gyptian’s most diverse and fully realized set yet. The album was co-executive produced by Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis, known for hits with superstars like Miguel, Mary J. Blige, Lupe Fiasco and The Fugees, and Major Lazer even lent a hand with co-production on the title track. The album’s surprise breakout track, “Wine Slow” has nearly 90 million YouTube views and 43 million Spotify plays and has gone on to become one of Gyptian’s biggest songs to date.
In the past four years, Gyptian has focused near-exclusively on writing, recording and releasing singles and videos through his Ryte Dyrekshan label, while continuing to perform throughout the world for his legions of hardcore fans everywhere. In late 2019, we’ll hear the ﬁrst full length release since Sex, Love and Reggae, a result of the artist’s non-stop ﬂow of writing and producing new music that has him ready to venture back into long form. With a new team in place and freshly invigorated, expect to see Gyptian touring the world anew in support of a new music and new releases.