Although Jamaica has no shortage of roots reggae singers, Mark Wonder is truly a wonder, a musical force that must be reckoned with for his powerful lyrics and old-school reggae songs. Blessed with an awesome musical talent with a vocal range of several octaves, his powerful and infectious vocal delivery cannot be disputed. What sets him apart from many is the lyrical commitment to songs to inspire continued progress on the pathway of righteous Rastafari progress. His words peak the spiritual thoughts of true Rastafari and his songs serve as their expression of philosophy.
Born in Kingston, Mark Wonder says his desire to become a reggae singer was influenced by his own Jamaican legends such as Burning Spear, the Wailers, Bob Andy, Black Uhuru, Barrington Levy, Marcia Griffiths, Beres Hammond, the Abyssinians, Israel Vibration, and Dennis Brown. After honing his craft in and around some of the small sound systems within his and neighboring communities, he began to work with top sound systems. After a brief stint with Black Stars he moved on to Black Scorpio, who eventually launched his recording career.
Answering questions about this early experience, Mark Wonder credits Jack Scorpio with giving him “… a real learning experience. You know nothing about the business, so you need the experience. You are working with a big producer and end up working with some of the big names in the business.”
As he grew, other artists influenced his career. “I was a young Rastafarian at the time, and many artists brought me a certain kind of vibe.”
Mark’s first single was called “Caution”, then came a slew of other releases that started his growth as a leading artist. He has grown tremendously over the years, creating a unique style of his own and unleashing numerous powerful singles that have positioned him now as one of the top Jamaican roots vocalists.
Listening to his album “Dragon Slayer”, released June 16 by Irie Ites Records out of France, one cannot resist singing or rocking to his quality creations which have a universal appeal whether he is praising the Almighty, chanting revolutionary songs laced with social commentary, or keeping the fire of the ancient ones ablaze. His joyful expressions and contagious love songs are also exemplary of the breathtaking quality and range of this amazing and gifted singer. Sticking to the traditional rhythms, Mark Wonder keeps listeners focused with his sweet voice on the original musical vessel that has carried Rastafari’s message to the world.
His album ‘Dragon Slayer’ was launched in 2017 at Inna De Yard, the Rastafari sacred space where guitarist Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith hosts artists and musicians he endorses as presenting true Rastafari quality in their music. Mark Wonder certainly deserves this honour, as this new album fully displays a presentation of his best that some say deserved to be included in this year’s Grammy nominations.
Every song is an anthem, this lyrics providing the beat of an army marching forward to deal with the issues of the day. In the crowd of songs about love and life, Wonder’s tracks serve like a Field Marshall as inspiration for JAH Army, shouting out above the noise of modern life to focus on the true war. His song ‘I’m a Revolutionary Rebel’ describes his revolution ‘… I’m fighting for the cause, nah look no applause…”. ‘Rude Boy’ challenges those who claim to be Rasta in a ‘rude boy’ way, asking them where is their militancy, why are they are not giving Rastafari all the glory instead. It’s a call to the battlefield. “Rise up Israel from your sleep and slumber, chant and sing break them asunder, things hard but they’re not forever, Rastafari Live For Iver…” His single “Hail JAH” has become one of Rastafari’s popular anthems.
Asked why he chooses to sing the songs he does, Mark Wonder says: “For me that is where reggae should be, I don’t know where some people are at, at the moment. They are the ones at the forefront, but what they presenting is not the true pattern or authentic vibration of what reggae music is. I am coming from the old school, and am I trying to preserve that rich heritage, the culture and roots of reggae music.”
Mark has recorded several albums to date which include “Signs of the Times”, “Jeremiah”, “Break the Ice”, “Live at the Couple”, “Victory: The Mystery Unfolds” which was released on his own imprint Battle-Axe Muzik Production, “True Stories of Mark Wonder and Friends” and “Working Wonders”. Mark’s “SCROLLS OF THE LEVITE” is a NowTime Sound with 13 outstanding tracks that received praise in Jamaican and international media. He has continues to record with established international artists as Sizzla Kalonji, Anthony B and Gentleman, as well as roots labels such as AL.TA.FA.AN Records, Addis Records, Bobby Digital, Irie Ites, Oneness Records and NowTime Sound.
Known as a shy and humble person off stage, Mark gives all credit for praise he receives to JAH Rastafari, saying “If it wasn’t for JAH, I would not be able to speak out in song. When I am onstage I am just an instrument of JAH.” Jamaica’s Daily Gleaner newspaper has described Mark as reminiscent of some of the great ones before him. He smiles and says he wishes there were more of such comments to help move his career to higher heights.
“Nowadays, too much of reggae music is like pop music, yu know,” says Mark Wonder. “I want to stick to the roots. Because that is what reggae music is all about. People like me, who are deep within the roots who have a spiritual sense, they haven’t had much of a look in, because we are not into certain things. The industry today is like a circus. We are not into those kind of things.”
Like many roots-reggae artistes, Mark Wonder has established a fan base in Europe through consistent touring. He says that his numerous visits to Europe, especially Switzerland and Holland, have opened up his mind to things he never knew before, and showed that Rastafari message applies to people all over the world. The overwhelming audience reaction at his performance at Bibelot Dordrecht 2017 shows how well known and well loved he is. Time alone will spread his name and music to an ever-wider fan base for this Righteous Reggae Reolutionary.