Levi Roots up close and personal.
He is commonly known throughout the UK and many other countries for his famous food brand ‘Reggae Reggae Sauce’ as featured on Dragons Den T.V. Also he has numerous cook books under his belt, but that’s not all.
He’s produced albums such as ‘Free Your Mind’ (1998) a compilation ‘Jah Will Never Let You Down’ (2001) and ‘Red Hot’ (2010). With contemporary reggae sounds and a true Jamaican feel in each of his albums.
Levi Roots means business in music and will have you dancing in the kitchen making all sorts of abstract foods. Usually plenty of rum to hand is required in his meals, whether you put it in your food or drink it, it’s up to you.
Soon enough you will see the connection to his famous catchphrase “Put some music in your food” and squeezing the life out of that bottle.
Did you enjoy performing here at Beach Break Live? I loved it, as I said on stage I love Wales. I always have fond memories of Wales even before Dragons Den, I’ve performed here many times. I have great connections with the welsh people and this is where the sauce was 1st manufactured up the road in Newport. So its good to have that connection with the people.
It must be great to have your daughter Joanne singing with you? Did you hear her, it was fantastic. We started off singing at home, as a family we have always dreamed of doing things together. We’ve done it with the food and now with the music, which is great. I’m so privileged.
It must be great to have musicians in the family? It’s fantastic, my grandmother she was a fantastic singer in the baptist church, and I’m from that. Joanne my daughter has picked up on that and my other kids are musical also. The music has given us everything, including the business.
Was music your passion before food? I thought what ever I did in my life would be always involved with music, It’s my passion and what I enjoy doing. I’ve met all my hero’s that I ever dreamed of, including the great Bob Marley. I sang happy birthday to Nelson Mandela, I had a personal invitation to join him when he came to Brixton. I’ve also performed with James Brown and Maxi Priest. The music has brought everything to me.
Did you ever dream you’d get this far in life?I always felt that something fantastic would happen to me. One of my best friends Darren would always tell the story how I would always say, something good would happen.
I felt like I didn’t belong not being a success. I wanted to work hard and strive for my dreams, and find the best Levi Roots I could be. For a long time I wasn’t the best of me, that’s why I got into trouble and fell foul of the law, people that know my story will know that. It wasn’t until I found the best of me, it was then I started to get success in my life.
Your ‘Red Hot’ album, when was that written and produced? A few years ago by the band I perform with. A lot of the songs was inspired about what was happening around me before Dragons Den. I couldn’t get a job, or get investment in the sauce because I continued to call it reggae reggae sauce, and people was like “what’s that all about”. Doing the album was me saying well if the sauce doesn’t work, then I still got my music in the end. It becomes very personal especially with music, because you’re putting yourself into that. When you give it to friends or family you’re giving them a piece of you. Something that you will probably never see again, it’s an original piece of you.
Do you ever buy your own products? All the time. Sometimes I go shopping with my mum in Brixton, people look funny at me if they see any Reggae Reggae products in my basket.
How long did it take to grow your dread locks? I have been growing them since 1984, they have been cut in 1991 and then again in 1993.
What’s happening for you in 2012? Well it’s about extending the brand. We done the 5 year plan here and made the strongest Caribbean brand in the UK. Now it’s to take it abroad, we just launched in Jamaica, America looms, Canada’s next then Japan, then the rest of the world.
What makes you happy? My children I’d say. I was really happy on the stage when I heard my daughter singing, I was over the moon. I would say just having my kids around me, that makes me happy.
Words of encouragement for anyone in the music industry? Well everybody’s advice would be different, depends on what stage you’re at. The key thing is about the business plan. My best advice would be to get the plan working, tweak things in the business and get new mentors. If you reach a stage then you need to get somebody else, to get you to the next stage. I think that’s the most important thing, to get somebody to put you on the right road.
A special thanks to Levi Roots and Beach Break Live 2012: https://www.facebook.com/BeachBreakLive