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Terri Walker takes a trip to Jamaica to discover her roots

HOMECOMING: Singer Terri Walker

EVER wondered where your favourite music comes from?

Well we’re going to find out with the help of Homelands.

Homelands is a year-long series following four of the UK’s most exciting an diverse artists; Shakka, Diztortion, Terri Walker and Saskilla, as they embark on a global music adventure.

The project will document musicians visiting their roots, and help them learn about where they came from and then create something new in response to their journey of self-discovery.

Watch over the next four weeks as the musicians explore their international roots.

Born in London to Jamaican parents, Walker moved to Germany aged four, returning as a teenager to study opera at the Italia Conti Academy.

Her breakout was singing for UK garage heavyweights TNT, 187 Lockdown and Shanks & Bigfoot. After signing to Def Soul UK in, 2003 she released the album Untitled which saw her nominated for a Mercury Music Prize and four MOBO awards.

Here, she documents her trip back home:

Tell us about day one in Jamaica.
It began with excitement and a tinge of anxiety but all the angst disappeared once the food and banter began. First we went to the Bob Marley Museum, then we went to Trench Town and the famous government yards that Bob Marly sang about.

Did day two match the first?
Yes, I linked up with Damian Marley’s collaborator Winta James as part of the global collaboration. I got to know him and sketch ideas for a track that we were going to make together. Then I interviewed the founders of Stone Love in Kingston and the courageous Spragga Benz for the documentaries I’m making of my trip.

Did you meet anyone inspiring during your trip?
I had a master class with the amazing multitasking media queen and ‘fixer’ Carlette DeLeon from Headline Entertainment who ensures her artists like Sean Paul get looked after properly. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is running the whole Jamaican music industry in years to come!

Did you get any time to yourself?
On day four, the pace slowed down and we drove to Clarendon to spend quality time in ‘country’ with my granddad. I got to listen to stories and get to know my family.

What happened on the final day of your Homelands Jamaica experience?
After a morning in the Blue Mountains, we spent the rest of the day in the studio with Winta James who I met on day two. Working with Winta James was so natural that I forgot my surroundings. I’m not going to lie: it only really hit me what had taken place after I laid down my ideas and left. I was singing at Tuff Gong Studios! You cannot get any more real than that if you are recording music in Jamaica! This was an amazing residency. So many emotions I didn’t expect I was going to experience.

What did you get from the Homelands residency?
I was 100 per cent unapologetically of myself! All I aim for is living my music and doing it on my terms with likeminded artists so we never have to compromise ourselves.

For more information, visit: www.homelands.org.uk

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