Fanton Mojah Shares His Philosophies on Music and Life
Right before his performance at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz, CA, Jamaican reggae artist Fanton Mojah spoke with Inity Weekly about his love of music and his hopes for the people with whom he shares his talent.
Inity Weekly: So you’re located in Oakland – what it is about this area or people that you enjoy performing to?
Fanton Mojah: It’s roots, ya know. California really likes the roots so they gravitate to our type of reggae and live bands. So we like coming to California because they like true reggae artists.
IW: Yes so true – there are so many good artists coming out to and from California. I know in your music there are a lot of really powerful lyrics – especially in songs like “Stronger” and “Hail the King”. What is it that you strive to impress upon people through your music?
FM: So you’ve been doing your research on Fanton Mojah? (laughs) Well I love reggae music and have embraced it from reggae artists like Peter Tosh and Jacob Miller, ya know. So whenever the people, they call for reggae shows, we have to represent. We come to represent. The people are [feeling] unfortunate – we better be here. Whenever they call, we are here.
IW: One thing that seems to be present in your shows is a power that transcends onto the people – what is this that transcends through you? Where is it coming from?
FM: Well you love yourself, no? If you love yourself, then you can love other people. Love is in the music, music is love. So whenever we sing or we chant to the mass, we are showing them that there is real power, so we are trying to let the people learn of the music and of themselves in the music. At times we will get outraged because of the system and the battlefield that we have to fight through our music. Nothing can harm no one, and so we show them that, yes the Lion is around! So if you try to mute the Lion, then you will hear the Lion sound (roars). It’s like a Lion, ya know, the music, ya know? Take us far, all over the world, to all four corners of the earth. You have to take music with you, fly through space. Reggae music, rap music, rock music, good music, music of the people, positive things in all other music – let’s do music, ya know?
IW: Yes, I agree! And how did you get into music yourself?
FM: Music had bond with Bob Marley, had bond with Michael Jackson, bond with the youth, music have bond with everyone. Don’t matter black, white, blue, purple – if Jah give you the special talent with music to show the world, [then] show people. People is music, ya know, and music is people.
IW: We at Inity Weekly believe that fully – that’s why we exist.
FM: (Singing) Music alone shall live. Tellin you, music, music alone shall live. Don’t come around, to fight against music, no. Many come round, always abuse it. I believe in music. Music, don’t abuse it. Just love it, love it. Music, reggae music. (Speaking) Music, ya know?
IW: Thank you, that was beautiful! Such a treat – I don’t think anyone has sung in an interview before! Now I’ve read that Capleton is your mentor and someone who has helped forge you into where you are as a musician now. What is it about his teaching that you’ve held onto?
FM: People have said that I am the son of Jacob Miller and then Capleton named me. You have to respect him for that because he is one of the legends. But, this is Fanton Mojah. So one of the legends has named me. And I love him for that. The people, they look at me, they look at music.
IW: Have there been any humanitarian efforts or issues that you are passionate about that you have been able to raise consciousness through your music?
FM: My hope and my justice for the world: I would like to see the world incorporate every flesh, every human being on the face of the earth, we are one, no matter what color, no matter where we come from. If I have something over here that you want, and if I have something you have that I want, let’s trade together. You give me something, and I will give you something. Don’t believe in sneaking, war, violence, and soldier going to war, leaving their family and die. And they only come back on our backs for their reality, their symmetry. In my case, I say this: our President and our people in the world of all cultures [should] pull every soldier from war. Let us farm and build great things and have great plans, and take care of the world. Rastafari! – Carla Felten