UK popularity surprises Laa Lee
Whether it is in a club in London, at a local stage show or on a university campus, recording artiste Romario 'Laa Lee Ranks' Ricketts told The Gleaner, "By now, the listeners of my music must realise the way I create my projects and my music means something different everywhere and to each person."
Laa Lee has two popular singles circulating on the airwaves: Watz On Sale, being the first and more popular, and Jackie Chan, which he says are hits in the UK. He recently wrapped up a seven-show tour through Birmingham and Manchester, where the feedback exceeded his expectations.
"I had no idea my music was so popular in the UK and did not know people would be fans of my music and of me," said Laa Lee.
He continued: "In London, it was just about the vibe, the energy of the dancehall, and there was no controversy."
The comedic dancehall deejay has had to deal with harsh criticism from the public and even law enforcement while in Jamaica since the release of the provocative Watz On Sale. However, he said, "All that has passed and it makes no sense to even speak of it, because whatever was the cause of all the negativity does not matter to me."
Laa Lee contracted chickenpox from a family member during his UK visit, which resulted in a few setbacks that caused him to return home. The deejay had enrolled in the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, last September with the aim of earning a degree in tourism management, but has had to play catch-up with his courses because of the time he missed.
"It was my first time getting the chicken pox. It was rough, but it did not affect my performance because it was right about the time my shows were finished," he said. "While I only attend school on a part-time basis, only go in Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have developed a good relationship with my colleagues; I have great classmates."
Final examinations begin this week, and he says he is trying to remain focused. "School a drama. When me deh a school and walk pass a girl, every time dem seh the song guh inna them head, but when I am on campus, it's all about school and all other days scheduled accordingly for studies and music," Laa Lee said.
He released a new single, That's Right, following his return from the UK in November. It is another amusing lyrical composition that takes on the old-school style of twisting nursery rhymes. The deejay is already experimenting with various rhythms, from Afrobeat to hip hop.
"This year has been a successful year for me despite the drama, and next year everybody a guh memba Laa Lee. They will always remember the controversial, but also the other music that's to come," he said.