Coppa is a member of the “dancehall generation” and a self proclaimed dreamer. His earliest musical memories are of Roots, Rocksteady, Dub mixed with Reggae and a touch of Rock and R&B. Upon relocating to Miami, Florida, his love for music continued to grow alongside this thing called Hip Hop, and it began to bear fruit when he joined the ranks of the underground collective, 101 VIBES as an emcee and deejay.
As part of the 101, Coppa cultivated his craft through numerous performances at local venues and countless nights in the studio. As a result, the collective released two independent albums and a 45 single for Musical Ambassador Productions. In 2002, he linked up with DJ Koncept, and his sound, Earth Shadow. He also served as an assistant selector on the Jus Jugglin Show (a weekly reggae radio show) on Radiate 88.1 FM. In 2004, he joined the cast of “The Habibi Remix,” (a theatrical interdisciplinary production by Hanan Arts Cooperative which incorporated hip-hop and belly dancing) as one of the lead actors and co-writers. Since then, Coppa has been featured on various compilations, mixtapes, and solo albums; the most recent being the upcoming Kindah Volume #1, which is a collection of child-friendly Reggae musical collaborations between Zoolook and Island Stage. He has also served as an on-air personality, or co-host for Vibezz Television, a Caribbean entertainment and lifestyle TV show, for a number of years. For those in search of this cool crooner, you need look no further than Mangoes Café on South Beach, where he occasionally performs as a regular guest with the resident reggae band Innasense.
According to Coppa, he says that, “Miami is only an hour and a half flight from Kingston, so I grew up with one foot in Kingston, and the other in Miami, hence the title of my first album, Live from Miami, Jamaica (which was a natural fusion of Reggae, Hip Hop, and Soul that represented his dual-existence); but a yaad mi born, so it will always be home, is it grow me, Jamaica give me everything, so for that, I owe her greatly.” Amazingly, his music has since taken him far beyond those borders of the island he calls home, from stages in Europe and the US, to street corners in Asia, straight back to podiums in the Caribbean. Fast forward to the present, and you can still find Coppa performing on a stage somewhere, in some place, or in some studio recording his second yet to be titled full-length album (which is also his first strictly-reggae album), among other projects.
Coppa is currently performing with Highline Reggae out of Denver, Colorado. Check out the video!
Tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Well, first and foremost, I would like to say Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or Good Night to all the readers out there, depending on which part of the world you find yourself in at this moment. Greetings. To my family and friends, I am David, but to many others, I am known as Coppa Stone. I am originally from Kingston, Jamaica, but currently reside in Denver, Colorado in the States, just one of many that make up the “Jamaican diaspora” living in “farrin” as we say in JA. I am definitely a product of my parents creativity. My mother sings, and my father plays both the piano and organ, so it could only be natural that music and art would be an active part of my life. Most people know me as a reggae artist, but some of my other previous titles include teacher, playwright, writer, actor, VJ, on-air personality, as well as spoken word & hip hop artist, emcee, among others. Outside of music, my interests include Literature, Education, History, Poetry & Prose, Film & Theatre, and Art in general. I hope that wasn’t too much about myself.
What/Who inspires you?
Nature, God, Jah, and all of creation, current and past events, the world…LIFE. More recently though, I would have to say my two-year-old daughter, because she has taught me how to once again look at the world innocently, without prejudice or assumptions, just to see things exactly as they are, to appreciate the joy of life and the simplicity that it brings. Musically and artistically, there are too many to name, from the Beatles to the Maytals, from Peter Tosh to Bob Marley to Nina Simone, from Colin Channer to Edwidge Danticat to Jack Kerouac, from Kamau Brathwaite to Saul Williams, from Roots Manuva to Mos Def to Tanya Stephens to Protoje to Lauryn Hill and straight back to The Roots…the list goes on and on.
Tell us a bit more about Jamaica and the places you have called “home”
I was born in Kingston, Jamaica, but later in life, I migrated with my family to Miami, or “Miami, Jamaica,” as I like to call it. While I was in Florida, I spent my undergraduate years in Gainesville completing my degree at the University of Florida, and before moving to Denver, I also spent some significant time in Brooklyn, my second home away from home.
How would you describe your music?
My music is the grandchild of Rhythm and Blues; and the youngest brother of Reggae, Hip Hop, and Soul. A natural fusion of all of these, I would like to think.
How did you get started in music?
Growing up in school, my teachers would always encourage me to pursue a career in writing, because they believed I was a naturally, a good writer. I started out writing short stories, then gradually poetry, which then later developed into lyrics and rhymes. It wasn’t until I went away to college, that I was brave enough to actually share these rhymes and lyrics with others. So my musical journey as an artist began in Gainesville, where I was a member of an underground collective called 101 Vibes. Originally, we had about nine members, and our performances looked like a Wu-Tang show, because of how much people we had in the group. Eventually, the group downsized to four, and we became The Fugees plus one. “We” were a female singer named SongBird, two emcees, Socrates and Magik, and then myself, the reggae guy in the group. As they say, the rest is history.
Why do you think it’s important to have music for children separate from music for adults?
I think it is very important to have separate music for children because of the fact that they are children. They have the rest of their lives to be adults, so we should allow them to just be kids and enjoy their youth. Too often, especially in Jamaica and the Caribbean, children grow up so fast and have so many responsibilities at such an early age, that it is easy to forget that they are still young and very impressionable. By listening to adult music with adult themes, it is very easy for them to take away the wrong message and get caught up in the wrong hype. In my opinion, as adults, it is our duty to: teach the yute dem, guide and protect them, set a positive example for them to follow, but most importantly, we need to provide them with the opportunity to just be children.
Tell us about your song on the “Kindah” collective
My song is entitled, “Anything in Life.” When I first began writing it, I originally intended it to be for my daughter, but by the end of the song, it became much more than that. It became a message, a letter to all my students, when I was a teacher, and basically any other child in the world “in need of a silver lining.” The message is simply this, there will always be obstacles in your way, and there will always be people who doubt you, some may even try to tell you that you’re nothing, but believe in yourself, trust in God, and you can be anything in life, just believe, and even if you don’t believe in yourself, don’t worry, I believe in you, others believe in you, so there is nothing else left to do, but achieve. It is a collection of positive words and encouragement, a letter with a message, one which I hope will inspire and motivate. Also, how could I forget, definitely have to big up Major Pirate from Waddup Sound in Prague, Czech Republic for producing the riddim.
What was your interest in being part of this collective?
Being an artist and a parent, I fully understand the need for children to have their own music, or at least have music that parents are comfortable with, free of any negativity. When this opportunity came up, I was already in the process of writing a song for my daughter and other children, because I recognized there was definitely a need, based on my own experiences with trying to find music for her to listen to. My role as a parent is definitely what drove my interest in this project, so it is an honor and privilege to be a part of this collective. Like Assassin said on the City Life Riddim, “something’s gotta give,” once you get a daughter now, yuh haffi tink smarter now, yu zi mi.
What do you want to be remembered for? What will your legacy be?
I want to be remembered for my words and the change that I tried to accomplish with them; the emotions that they captured. Words that will serve as proof of my existence, that I was indeed here, my mark on this planet, my gift to the world, in hopes that she is listening. An imperfect man who tried to do the best he could, with what he was given, and what he had. Somebody who always helped people in need and tried continuously to do right by others. A great father with a peaceful soul. My legacy will be my music, my body of work, my art, because words live forever; my students, and more importantly, my daughter, because they are the future.
What can we expect from you in 2012?
Expect more positive music, more writing, more consciousness. In addition to this project, I am also currently working on some new reggae material with aRNine Music in Costa Rica, some downtempo vibes with a producer named Will SumSuch in the UK, as well as an underground hip hop mixtape with an artist called Y-Soul in Russia, and some other ongoing projects in both Miami and Jamaica. I have also begun work on my second untitled album, which will be strictly reggae, so please do look out for all these and more in 2012 and beyond.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I see myself like Dr. Dre, STILL writing, STILL making music, STILL being an artist, in some respects, but STILL evolving and branching out in to different areas, essentially, still me, but hopefully with a masters and a Phd under my belt by then, or at least, that’s the plan.
Thank you for your time and all the best to you in the future.
All the best to you as well. THANK YOU for taking the time to talk with me. RESPECT DUE to Island Stage, Zoolook, Dread & Alive, for the opportunity and to all the readers out there who spent time reading this, MUCH APPRECIATION and hopefully, I can look forward to your continued support in the future. BIG UP all the other artists on the KINDAH collective series…BLESS UP every time.