Kingston, December 9, 2021: Legendary artist and record producer Freddie McGregor has signed a worldwide publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music, the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group. The deal covers the full catalogue of the pioneering reggae musician and entrepreneur whose career spans almost six decades, with more than 40 albums to his name.
Freddie McGregor says: “I’m excited to be working with Guy and his team. With a new album in the works and the live scene coming out of hibernation, it seems like the right time to start writing a new chapter in my career. I want to connect with other writers and producers from around the world to keep inspiring me to make music that moves people.”
Guy Moot, Co-Chair and CEO, Warner Chappell Music, adds: “Freddie is known as the ‘Captain of the Big Ship’ and with good reason. He’s been a pioneer in reggae for decades, writing songs that have moved fans around the world, and is well known for being generous with his time and efforts for younger up-and-coming artists. We’re delighted that he’s signed with us and can’t wait to get to work on his incredible catalogue and new music.”
Shani Gonzales, Head of International A&R and UK Managing Director, Warner Chappell Music, adds: ““With my Jamaican heritage, I grew up listening to Freddie’s music, so getting to publish him is literally a dream come true. It’s mind-blowing that his career spans almost his whole life, starting to perform at seven years old, and today he’s still adding to his amazing songbook. Freddie is a true legend in the reggae scene, helping pioneer the sound, spreading reggae music worldwide and inspiring and supporting generations of artists. It’s a true privilege to work with him.”
Freddie was born in Hayes, Clarendon, Jamaica in 1956 and first found fame when he was just seven years old when he went to Kingston Studio One with Fitzroy ‘Ernest’ Wilson and Peter Austin, founding members of The Clarendonians. Dubbed “Little Freddie”, McGregor had to stand on a beer crate to reach the microphone and won hearts performing alongside the older Austin and Wilson. Wilson took young Freddie under his wing and they recorded several songs at Studio One under the name “Fitzy and Freddie”.
McGregor converted to Rastafari in 1975 and his music took on a strong socially conscious tone, with songs such as ‘Bobby Babylon’, ‘I Am A Rasta’ and ‘Mark of the Beast’. He was a key part of Studio One’s resurgence in the 1970s and ‘80s, with iconic hits including ‘Big Ship’, ‘I Was Born A Winner’, ‘Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely’, and ‘Push Comes To Shove’.
In 1983, McGregor founded his own indie label, Big Ship, and produced many artists including Lieutenant Stitchie, Luciano, Mikey Spice, Papa San, and Tiger. In the same year, he released the critically acclaimed album Come On Over through RAS Records in the US.
He is currently working on a new album, and has recently released the single ‘Don’t Tell Me No’, in collaboration with Colombian reggae-fusion rock band Locos Por Juana, and ‘Jah Is On My Mind’, produced by UK-based Stingray Records.
McGregor has also become a widely respected elder statesman in the reggae music community, giving back through vehicles such as the Big Ship Music Fest, which supports emerging talent, and serving as the Chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Board. He was recognized with the Order of Distinction in 2003 for his contribution to music and has received countless other awards. He has played a leading role in trying to revive the live industry in Jamaica following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.