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Mikey Dread - forever at the Control

Monday, March 17, 2008

On Saturday night we walked into a visibly distraught Brigitte Anderson at Symphony Under the Stars. She was mourning the passingof her friend, Mikey Dread, who had made his transition earlier that day. "He was really such a wonderful person . and he has a baby who's just a couple months old . you should really do something extensive on him .," Brigitte rambled on in her grief.

Interestingly, it was only earlier in the week that Observer had carried an article about Mikey Dread and how 'hopeful' he was about beating his illness, so it came as a shock, just as we were wrapping up the Entertainment section on Saturday to hear that he had died. The comforting thing, however, is that his legacy is so extensive and so universal, that, in a sense, Mikey Dread will forever be at the control. A versatile and multi-faced person, the Dread clearly was a perfectionist and this is evident by his belief in formal training in his chosen field. In 1980, he attended the National Broadcasting School in London where he perfected his media production/radio broadcasting skills, graduating with special commendations; in 1984, he studied studio/recording techniques at Polytechnic of North London; in 1996, he attended the Art Institute of Ft Lauderdale as a full -time student majoring in music/ video production, graduating with honours; in 2000, he graduated with honours from Lynn University, Boca Raton/Florida with a magna cum laude Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Communications. In that same year, he released World Tour, his first album in five years.

Between the years 1976 when he started working at JBC and 2007 when he released his final album, Life is a Stage, Mikey Dread accomplished so much, it was as if he was ensuring that his half a century-plus on this earth would be memorable . and it was. Broadcaster, singer, songwriter and producer, he toured Europe and Scandinavia as support artiste for UB40 and produced 10 dub tracks for them; he made several appearances and performances on BBC and Sky TV Music Box, London and Bristol, UK and did live appearances with UB40, Bob Dylan, and Carlos Santana at Rock Music Festival at Wembley Stadium in London and Slane Castle in Dublin, Ireland.

His performances in Italy in November 2001 in Bari and Rome re-established him as one of the original roots reggae icons of the mid-seventies/early '80s reggae era of Jamaican music.

He produced artistes such as Sugar Minott, Junior Murvin, Earl Sixteen, Wally Bucker, Sunshine, Jah Grundy and Rod Taylor and was integral in the career development of singer Edi Fitzroy, who was an accountant at during 'the Mikey years'. Mikey Dread was the featured artiste on Lips Like Sugar with Seal for the soundtrack of the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore -Sony Pictures movie 50 First Dates.
May his soul rest in peace.

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