Growing up in East Kingston, there was no shortage of sound systems and dances for budding deejay Alton Willis to develop his skills. At age 13, he was working on the Atomic Bomb 'sounD'.
It was not until Willis migrated to Ottawa, Canada in 1991 that his recording career got going. His latest songs, Ghetto Struggling and Drop Inna Mi Palm, are released by Saturn Entertainment, an independent company in the Canadian capital.
Willis said though he has kept busy performing and recording in nearLY 30 years living in Canada, the reggae beat in Ottawa is slow.
“The Ottawa reggae scene need to get more established and that's why I'm taking on the lead as a Canadian artiste,” he said.
Ghetto Struggling and Drop Inna Mi Palm are produced by Troy Warren for Saturn Entertainment. Willis has done other songs for the company including Street Youth.
Though it does not have as vibrant a reggae circuit as Toronto, Ontario's other major city, Willis has managed to eke out a career in Ottawa. He has opened shows for top reggae/dancehall acts passing through the region including Freddie McGregor, Buju Banton and Lady Saw.
Willis credits performing on sound systems for helping his live set, which has earned him spots at venues like Whipping Post and Black Sheep Inn. He has released one album, Elegant Woman, to date and recorded a handful of songs including Holding On and Canada Girl for Kingston-based producer Kwamie Foster.