One of the most promising of the second generation of Jamaica roots reggae singers, Tarrus Riley is the son of Jimmy Riley, who has had a long career as a solo artist as well as being a former member of the Uniques and the Techniques.
Like his father, Riley has a sweet, nuanced tenor vocal style, although his first connection with the Jamaican music scene was as a DJ (under the name Taurus). Riley taught himself to play keyboards and several percussion instruments and began writing his own songs, many of which had strong Rastafarian and consciousness-leaning themes. His first album, Challenges, was produced by the great Jamaican saxophonist Dean Fraser and released on Yaman Records. It yielded a couple of big reggae chart hits, including the song "Larger Than Life." Fraser also produced 14 of the 15 tracks (the other was produced by Chris Chin) on Riley's sophomore effort, Parables, which appeared in 2006 from VP Records and featured the legendary rhythm section of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. It, too, generated a big single in "She's Royal." Riley has done several concert appearances with his father, who is, along with Tarrus' mother, Lavern Tatham, very active in mentoring and supporting his son's career. Riley's songs retain ties to the Jamaican roots tradition while still managing to sound distinctly contemporary. In addition, his strong stage presence gives him crossover appeal and marks him as a coming force on the international reggae scene. ~ Steve Leggett