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Who is Shezekiel?

Formerly of the successful vocal trio Brown Sugar, Pauline Catlin now known as Shezekiel, along with Caron Wheeler and Carol Simms during the 70’s and 80’s were the first British Reggae music trio with a succession of hits and pioneers of the popular genre known today as ‘Lovers Rock’, produced by Dennis Bovell. Now after a 27 year absence Shezekiel has been working with Jazz musician and Producer Wayne Brown on her debut album ‘Catch the Boat’.

Shezekiel is a singer songwriter born and raised in South London.

Formerly of the successful vocal trio Brown Sugar, Pauline Catlin now known as Shezekiel, along with Caron Wheeler and Carol Simms during the 70’s and 80’s were the first British Reggae music trio with a succession of hits and pioneers of the popular genre known today as ‘Lovers Rock’, produced by Dennis Bovell. Now after a 27 year absence Shezekiel has been working with Jazz musician and Producer Wayne Brown on her debut album ‘Catch the Boat’.

Wayne has collaborated with an array of artists as both a writer and producer including Billy Ocean, Ruby Turner, Earth Wind and Fire, Junior Giscombe, Stevie Winwood, Jonathan Butler, George Michael, Janet Kay, Lulu, Yazz and played with jazz greats such as Coleman Hawkins and Tal Farlow. Wayne went on to sell several million records as a writer and producer with his international top 5 hits ‘Heartache’ and ‘Goodbye Stranger’. The first album ‘The Jazz Club Volume 1’ received international critical acclaim with great support from radio opening doors to performances throughout Europe and the USA.

Shezekiel’s band members include Neville Malcolm otherwise known as “level Neville” one of the most in demand electric and double Bass players in the country having worked with the likes of Incognito, Gabrielle, Tom Jones and Gregory porter to name a few, also drummer Jose Joyette who has played around the world with artists such as Craig David, Ministry of Sound , Nona Hendry, De la soul ,Tunde Jegede and Amy Winehouse, Jose is currently on tour with Dee Dee Bridgewater & China Moses, and Giulio Ramano Malaisi a phenomenal classical and Jazz guitarist who learnt his craft from at the Italian Gilfredo Cattalica Music Academy collaborating with top musicians from all over the world including Greg miller and Phil Ramacon.

Shezekiel is now getting ready to release her first solo single ‘Beams from Heaven’ produced by Carlton Bubbler’s Ogilvie as a tribute and return to her Reggae roots, to be followed by another single ‘I am with You’ produced by Clifton ‘Bigga’ Morrison.

Shezekiel’s forthcoming album showcases a unique musical fusion of Jazz, Reggae and Neo Soul as she magically captures a musical vibrancy reflecting her journey and the collision of her Caribbean and British roots.

Shezekiel’s debut album Catch The Boat is out in 2016.

My Journey

I was born in London on Boxing Day 1962 and my mother told me she was taken to the hospital having almost six feet of snow being shovelled from the door way. My parents came to the UK from Barbados and my grandparents were of Jamaican and Cuban descent. At an early age my father introduced my siblings and I to music, teaching us to sing in harmonic parts from a hymnal and piano. We would place our ears against an ageing music gram and listen to albums of his favourite musicians including Fats Domino, Count Basie , Nat King Cole and also classical music such as the 1812 Overture...

My Journey

I was born in London on Boxing Day 1962 and my mother told me she was taken to the hospital having almost six feet of snow being shovelled from the door way. My parents came to the UK from Barbados and my grandparents were of Jamaican and Cuban descent.

Shezekiel

At an early age my father introduced my siblings and I to music, teaching us to sing in harmonic parts from a hymnal and piano. We would place our ears against an ageing music gram and listen to albums of his favourite musicians including Fats Domino, Count Basie , Nat King Cole and also classical music such as the 1812 Overture.

ShezekielHe would school us from the Bible and I became besotted with the story of Samuel and Daniel in the Lions Den. It was a unique bible with black characters and images, a rarity.  This was very important as my generation then in the UK grew up in a racially hostile era and I was taught at school to read from books depicting derogatory images and texts of Sambo  and Gollywogs.

Given the climate and the rebellious teen that I was, meant that I didn’t complete my high school years and in the mid 70’s I gained entry into the music industry, heavily influenced by my sister’s Carolyn also known as ‘Sister CC ‘ or “ Simmy ‘ while also turning to Rastafarianism at the tender age of fourteen.  Along with Caron Wheeler who I met at the age of eleven at school and eventually recruiting Carol Simms , I initiated and formed the group  ‘Brown Sugar’ .The name came from my mother who described us as having different skin complexions like sugar produced from the Caribbean.  The very first single I sang was “I’m in Love with a Dreadlocks” followed by Hello Stranger” and more hits from the group followed including the iconic single ‘Black Pride”.

Brown Sugar enjoyed significant profile in the UK Reggae industry with record labels  ‘DIP ‘ and ‘Studio 16’ the group was associated with the rising creation of ‘Lovers Rock ‘ spearheaded by renowned musicians and producer Dennis Bovell and John Kapaye.

It was a time when creativity in the community was bursting at the seams, I remember  conversing with artists such as Glen Sloley and Maxi Priest  who would visit the record shop of Winston Edwards owner of the  Studio 16 label based in New Cross where I recorded the songs ‘I’m so Proud’ and ‘Confession’s Hurt’.

After touring with the late great ‘Dennis Brown’ and performing with groups such as Aswad, Keith Douglas and Janet Kay, the group disbanded in the early 8o’s.

Caron Wheeler eventually established herself as a global artist and phenomenal singer that she is, performing  with Jazzy B and the Soul II Soul  outfit. Carol Simms continued to perform as a solo reggae artist ‘Kofi ‘ keeping the memory of Brown Sugar alive by remaking popular tracks known. I became a mother having my first son Aaron and in that time period God found me.

I’ve spent the last 27 year’s penning songs and working professionally as an advocate for Cultural Diversity in the creative industries sector . I continued developing musical activity, singing with the gospel group  ‘Chosen’ alongside Paul Boldeau , Greta Hinkson & Karen Daniels , also  leading community arts projects and this included the artist Craig David as a teen attending my workshops in Southampton, befriending my son Aaron as they were at the same school and he would also regularly come to our home learning to sing harmonies. My son Aaron went onto becoming the first signing of Def Jam UK as the artist ‘Aaron Soul’ releasing his first single ‘Ring Ring Ring’ which also made it as a sound track on the film ‘Bridget Jones Diary’.

Now finding  my individual voice as Shezekiel after much soul searching and countless sleepless nights, I invite you to share in my journey and my songs. A little late perhaps but I believe God’s timing is always perfect and so I am overjoyed to finally be able to bring these words in song to you through the inspiration of the Most High. 

I would sincerely like to thank all those who have inspired my thinking as an artist musically and educated me spiritually along  the way, they include; Bob Marley &  the I threes, the Abbyssinians, Fredlocks ,Dennis Brown, Burning Spear , Miles Davis , The Jones Girls, Daryl Coley, Oleta Adams, Richard Smallwood, Kalil Gibran, Maya Angelou, Ben Sidran, E.G.White, Brother Watson, Pastor Kerr, Pastor Sam Davis and Brother Jarrett, also the late and gifted Lloyd Chalmers  and so many more….

To friends who have coloured my life and walked part of my journey, you are Caron Wheeler, Carol Simms, Pete Clarke, Aswad, King Sounds, Neil ‘Ariwa’ Fraser, Learoy Green, Arthur Blyden, Astril Brooks, Hilma Bovenkirk, Annette Johnson, Karen Daniels, Lyndon Cummings, Paul Boldeau, Greta Hinkson, Karen Jarrett ,Esta B.Daley, Alan Charles, Cecil Johnson, Ken Burton, Robert Lee, Pawlett Warner et al,

Wayne Brown, the Lord sent you….. . you’re phenomenal! You believed the project and you discovered my voice… God Bless you abundantly!

Pastor Ray Patrick .. My favourite Peacher, you rock on the rock! And Clifton ‘Bigga’ Morrison you’re such an inspiration, just awesome my brother!

To my siblings Carolyn and Sam you know dad imparted us his gift. Robert’s got it, Aaron got it , Dwight got it,  Sasha-Lee got it, Ifemi got it,  the offspring got it and what an awesome gift from God cos we all got it, so use it and don’t abuse it!

To my children Aaron ‘Soul’ Anyia, Ifemi (fem-fem) and Dwight (doobz) Mummy said she would and now she has………..This is for you and yours!

To my ray of sunshine ’Yewty ‘you’re my heart beat , without you I would not be the woman I am today.

And finally to the Creator and Most High God, Jah Jah Lives children Yeah!

To our Saviour Christ Jesus who holds the keys to life and death, I thank you for the  gift of the Holy Spirit , without  you I am nothing, and with my whole being I serve thee, thank you for your mercy, thank you for your  saving grace and thank you for taking me as I am, seeing me as I am and not as man sees, using me as I am and trusting me !

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