Any mention of the name Tarrus Riley should seem quite familiar to reggae fans that is. Tarrus was born to professional singer Jimmy Riley and bathroom singer Lavern Tatum, so you can see how singing came so naturally for him. “Music has always been apart of his environment,” he admits.
Riley’s musical career was established between Jamaica and Miami, Florida. Although he always knew he wanted to sing, that wasn’t the only talent tucked under his musical belt, he was also a D.J. While creating his buzz Tarrus released his first album Parables in 2006 which featured the hit single “She’s Royal.” Eager to put out more music with a message, he releases the second album Challenges in 2008. Now residing in St. Thomas, Jamaica, he has made his third album titled Contagious. “I want it to spread!” Tarrus explains. That is the simple, yet to the point explanation he gave about the name of his album. He then jokingly went on to say “not spread like the swine flu.”The album features hit singles “Start A New,” “Good Girl Gone Bad,” “Young Hearts” and the smash hit “Loves Contagious.”
“My mother was a big influence on my music…” Tarrus exclaims. Other musical influences include Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and many artists. In the core of his songs, he expresses not only the positive but his love for melodies and sounds which his influences all shared. Throughout his musical pursuit, he has worked alongside many reggae artists including Vybz Kartel, Demarco and Konshens who is featured on “Good Girl Gone Bad.”
I was able to have one on one time with Tarrus at J&R Music World during his sound check. The 2nd floor of the notable and legendary music store was jam packed down the isles. The free to the public performance included several songs from each album and followed up with a C.D signing. He says while doing what he loves, he is “manifesting his dream,” and in the future sees nothing but life, strength, health and more music.
Tarrus Riley’s Contagious is in stores now.
Written by Janice Williams-Thomas for Parlé Magazine