One of Reggae’s most exciting talents is singer Mikey General whose twenty years in the music business boast the stamina of a veteran soldier. This British-born Jamaican, whose family migrated to Jamaica when he was two, has spent two decades honing his craft with the best of producers and studios, both in the United Kingdom and on The Rock.
Physically, the “General” has the robust build of a warrior – his school boy football mates bestowed the appropriate title. Vocally, an unexpected crystal falsetto, akin to the sweet voice of an angel, flows forth from this stocky crooner as he glorifies the Creator with his Afrocentric robed ensembles completing the image.
Michael Taylor began his career at home imitating songs from the radio and television as a child. He left his first public impressions of his unique vocal quality in church choirs and when his high school did not offer a choir, he sought out neighbourhood sound systems in his community of Ackee Walk. His talent developed in his teens as he could be found at any dance in the Kingston 19 area asking for his turn on the microphone. Opportunities came for him to sing on the infamous Virgo and Killamanjaro Sounds and his first single “Roots Mi Roots,” recorded at 16 years of age for sound system owner Ruddy Silence, soon followed. Much more was yet to come for this rising star.
Returning to Britain in search of employment opportunities, Mikey’s celebrity continued to develop. He became a favorite of Peckham, Brixton, and South London dancehall fans singing on top sounds like Coxsone International and Saxon. The latter gave him a taste of the road, touring Europe in 1984 along with Smiley Culture, Papa Levi, and Maxi Priest. In 1985, the Earl Minnot produced “Do You Want to be Starting Something” (a Michael Jackson cover) and the Levi Roots produced single “Babymother” earned Mikey his first chart positions in the prominent Echoes music chart. The year continued with great success as the DubVendor produced “Dancehall Vibes” hit Number One on the trend-setting New Musical Express chart and Number Two on the Echoes chart. Accolades continued as Echoes’ readers awarded Mikey “Newcomer of the Year.” More reggae chart hits followed with “Kuff’ n Dem,” “Parring P,” and the “Sound Boy Burial” LP.
He continued the Eighties touring in Germany, Italy, and Holland and recording with Jamaican producer Fatis Burrell, beginning the new decade playing himself in a film whose theme was his recording “We The Raggamuffins.” After ten years in London, Mikey felt the Spirit of Jah calling him back to Jamaica where a more intense musical journey was yet to commence.
Simultaneously, another young lion, Luciano, was following his own musical destiny and as two singers on the studio circuit, it was inevitable that they would meet. Mikey comments on that meeting at Castro Brown’s New Name Studio, “I noticed the Godliness in his movements.” In 1993, the two friends became mainstays in Fatis Burrell’s Exterminator Crew which toured America and Europe “exterminating slackness in reggae music.”
In November 1994, Mikey began to grow his dreadlocks, adopting a true and natural lifestyle. His first exposure to Rastafari had come in his school days when he would buy vegetarian patties at the Rasta camp beside his school. He found that the people there were loving and “identified with Christ in a Black context” which mirrored Mikey’s own sentiments, “I n I recognize His Imperial Majesty as Christ in his Kingly Character, manifest in this time, from that time to this time.”
The “Sinners” single was released in 1995 and was quickly followed by an album of the same name released by JetStar Phonographics in England before the project was re-titled and released as “Rastaman Stronger” and supported by a pared down, touring Exterminator Crew with Mikey opening for Sizzla and Luciano. In 1997, JetStar than released a second Exterminator album by Mikey entitled “I Am Just A Rastaman” featuring the hit “Miss Taylor Boy.”
In September 1998, Luciano and Mikey spread their wings and left Exterminator to form Jah Messenjah Productions and Qabalah First Music with the aim “to provide people with spiritual uplifting music in these times of degradation.”
“Spiritual Revolution” was released in 2000 by Redbridge in the UK and featured production by the Firehouse Crew, Soljie Hamilton, Dean Fraser, and Qabalah First Music. “Knowledge, Wisdom & Overstanding” featuring Mikey and Luciano was also released in 2000 by J&D USA. Both albums received rave reviews with “Spiritual Revolution” toasted as the album of the year by John Mansur of Echoes UK. In 2001, Mikey toured the U.S. with Luciano on the “New Day Tour” and was also instrumental in the production of Luciano’s 2001 “Great Controversy” release.
Mikey is poised to release his next gem, “Exalt Jah,” on Qabalah First Music to be distributed by Stone Tiger Entertainment Group in the U.S. Mikey, a prolific singer, who has countless singles receiving radio play both in Jamaica and the world, communicates his spiritual livity through his lyrics as he strongly believes that “Music should reflect the life we live!”