Rocky Dawuni is as hard working as they come. The artist, who divides his time between his homeland of Ghana, and Los Angeles, was raised by a travelling cook for UN Peacekeepers, around Africa and the Middle East, found his solace in music, to help him cope with his semi-nomadic childhood. He would soak up the music of the locals wherever he went, and when he returned home to Ghana he took up his own country’s musical roots as well.
Rocky Dawuni formed his first music group using homemade instruments, and from there his unique sound, which blends Reggae, Afropop, Funk, and Soul, ensured he got noticed. He’s shared the stage with no less than Stevie Wonder, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Jason Mraz, and Janelle Monae, and has personality and worldview has seen him be given the titles of UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment for Africa, and Global Ambassador to the World Day of African and Afrodescendant Culture.
Rocky’s 2016 album, ‘Branches of the Same Tree’, was nominated for the GRAMMY Award in the Best Reggae Album category, and two of his subsequent releases have nominated for GRAMMYs in the categories of Best Global Music Album, and Best Global Music Performance.
Now, ahead of his next album, set for release later this year, Rocky Dawuni has dropped his new single, ‘Shade Tree’. The track, while broadly categorised as Reggae in style, is actually a layering of different elements of music, including Soul, Roots, Highlife and even the hip-hop beats of Dawuni’s second home, Los Angeles – as well as Reggae.
Rocky Dawuni’s lyrics draw the listener in, encouraging to take a load off and cool down in the shade of a tree, while learning to understand one another. Meanwhile, the music video, directed by Brazilian director, Ema Riberio, sees Dawuni asking us to follow him as he walks through the streets of Salvador, Bahia. We traverse beaches, wander through markets, stroll past murals, until we come to a majestic tree. As we all gather together, we find that community flourishes as we focus on our similarities, and our differences fall away.