He’s got an unmistakable voice heard by millions across the globe.
Ali Campbell, the founder and former frontman of UB40, is in Hawaii for the weekend and he is happy to be back.
“Well, I have been coming to Hawaii since the ’80s and I have always had a lovely time here, you know. They are very special islands, aren’t they?” Campbell said.
The former lead singer of UB40 left his band that sold more than 70 million records and garnered four No. 1 hit singles in 2008 after business and financial issues.
“Twenty-eight years I was with UB40, the old ones. And now I am in a new band, but we are doing the same stuff,” Campbell said.
Campbell and his band are fresh off the plane from the Solomon Islands, Germany, and London where the singer/songwriter recently wrapped up recording another solo reggae album.
Originally from Birmingham, England, Campbell says his father was a folk singer, but he wasn’t all that interested in that kind of music. Instead, he was influenced by the sounds coming from next door.
“So, I grew up in an immigrant area and the music of the streets was reggae,” Campbell said.
As a white reggae artist, Campbell has paved the way for others to showcase and share the unique sound.
“Jamaicans have always accepted us because they understand that we love reggae and are promoting reggae,” Campbell said.
The original UB40 band was a mix of artists and that remains true today as Campbell plays with several other musicians from across the globe including the original keyboard player from UB40, who also left the band five years ago.
“I have got 40, top 20 hits from the ’80s to draw from. So, I like to do a set where people know the songs,” Campbell said.
Campbell and his new band head to the Maui Arts and Cultural Center Friday night and the Kakaako amphitheater Saturday for the MayJah RayJah music festival.