Kevin Mark Holness, better known as Mighty Mystic, is taking reggae music by storm.
Born in Jamaica and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Mighty Mystic is the younger brother of Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, so he is deeply rooted in both Jamaican and American culture. He celebrates roots reggae along with elements of pop and rock in his new album, The Art of Balance. His debut album Wake Up The World featured artists such as Shaggy and Lutan Fyah, and he has achieved further success with his sophomore album Concrete World debuting at #6 on the Billboard Reggae Chart.
With all three of his albums reaching the Billboard Top 10 Reggae Chart, there is no doubt that Mighty Mystic has become a staple in reggae music. I had the opportunity to interview Mighty Mystic about his music and what is next for him as an artist.
What is the significance of the name “Mighty Mystic”?
The significance of my name “Mighty Mystic” is a man bringing powerful musical content touching on everyday issues that everyone can relate to, but doing so with great passion, power, energy, and conviction.
Who are your musical influences?
My biggest influence came from the legendary Bob Marley. His music spoke to me on so many levels and it really transcended the realm of music and encompassed my life. I’m also influenced by Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Barrington Levy, Sam Cooke, Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Jay Z, and a few others. So it is a pretty broad scope.
What sets you apart from other reggae artists?
I would say the fact that while I was born in Jamaica, I was raised in Boston as a kid and I was able to be influenced by so many other genres like Hip Hop, R&B, Rock, Punk and just the overall culture of American music. So while the skeleton is reggae, what’s on top of it is made up of many different styles. That’s why I call what I do “Hard Roots.”
What is your favorite song from your most recent album and why?
Good question. It is really hard to pick one out of the 15, but I will say the track titled “Red Light Girl” is very moving for me. Every time I hear it or perform it, I get some of the deepest chills ever. The song is about a young girl who loses her way to the street life and has a hard time finding her way back. It’s sad but it is a fact of life and it is so true. So, I really love that one.
Where do you go for inspiration for your music and what is your creative process of making music?
Well, I write my music based on everyday life. So the things I witness daily or see on the news or whispers in the wind are how I gather my content and go from there. I like to be alone in a quiet place — just me and my thoughts and I’ll start sculpting like an artist. I look at each song like a slab of clay and my job is to mold it, shape it, trim it, mold again, till it is where I want it. Then I polish it up and share it with the world.
What are you most excited about for your upcoming tour?
I love meeting people, hearing their stories, seeing new places, and soaking up the different environments. To be honest, that is the way I write a lot of my music — it’s really from things I see on a daily basis, and what better way to do so than traveling on tour.
How has being a part of a prominent political family influenced your music?
My family, the “Holness” family, has always been a family that has been heavy in the fabric of Jamaica. Some are/were teachers, principals, bankers, lawyers, farmers, community men/women, and now my brother is the Prime Minister. So I learned from a young age that whatever field I went into, I must carry a great sense of love, compassion, and leadership for my community and the world. I’m happy that I’m able to put all of those things into my music.
How has working with Shaggy and Lutan Fyan shaped the style of the music they are featured in and inspired the style of music you have made since working with them?
Good one! Shaggy told me many years ago that regardless if there are 5 or 5,000 people in the audience, he gives 100%. Coming from an icon like him, it was truly inspiring, so I’ve taken that statement and made it part of my life. I go hard no matter what! Lutan has a great way of flowing on every track he touches and that is something that I most admire about him. He’s quite unique in that regard.
What new styles are you hoping to explore with your future music?
I’m looking to incorporate background singers and a heavy horn section on our future albums and live shows. I think those are two things that will be on my upcoming albums and live shows. I’m always listening to the latest music and being inspired by pop, rock, hip-hop and so on to add to my stuff as well. If you’re not listening and learning daily, then you will get left behind and no one wants that — not at any level.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
I would like to get in the studio with Ky-Mani Marley. I really dig the way he approaches his music and I think we could make a real banger. If I could add one more, it would be Steven Tyler! I’ve been a fan from day one. He’s got some of the widest vocal range I’ve ever heard. He’s a beast with long hair.
Is there anything else you want your fans to know?
Yes, reggae music is the people’s music. It is the one type of music that isn’t afraid to talk about real issues that we face on a daily basis. I’m trying to follow that vein while keeping the music upbeat and fun, but also giving you some substance while doing so. I’d love to share my brand of reggae music with you all, so please check me out at my site and on social media. mightymystic.com site and I’m on every social media platform.
The Art of Balance album is available on iTunes. Tickets for the new show dates and locations are available here.
Featured Image Courtesy of Mighty Mystic