Who is Chester Miller?

Entertainment

Who is Chester Miller?

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 27, 2020

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THE thousands gathered on the Kingston waterfront on Sunday to share in the Dennis Brown Tribute Concert were forced to do a double take when Toronto-based reggae artiste Chester Miller took to the stage. For many, it was as if the Crown Prince of Reggae had returned to entertain.

But the question many were left asking is who is this entertainer who possesses the voice, physical looks, and aura of the Crown Prince?

Following his performance where he dropped popular, Dennis Brown tracks Caress Me Girl and For You, the Jamaica Observer had a quick interview with Miller, who has been performing the music of the reggae icon since the late 1980s.

“It wasn't really a plan or intention, and it still isn't, for me to say I'm going to carry on anything for Dennis Brown, because there will never be another Dennis Brown, period. But, if I can do whatever I can do in my own small way to keep his legacy alive and relevant, and if people want to draw for me because of the likeness and so forth, I am more than happy. But as long as dem know I am not trying to be Dennis Brown, I'm not trying to walk in his shoes, just trying to honour what he has done and maybe carry what he has done further on,” he told the Observer.

Miller had the chance to meet Brown in the 1980s and developed a close relationship with the artiste when he was in Canada.

“I had the privilege of knowing Dennis in a personal way, so he did kinda guide me. I followed him to studio when him come a Toronto, hang out with him in the hotel, and went to his shows. Him call me onstage a couple times, but I didn't go because I was shy at the time, and during that period I just got to embrace his music,” he shared.

Starting out in the music industry Miller never recognised the similarities in his vocal styling and even physical appearance. In the early days, he would perform with sound systems, drawing on the music of another reggae great, Sugar Minott. However, as time went on, individuals kept pointing to the Dennis Brown parallels and slowly Miller began to take note.

On Sunday, Miller was struck by the reaction of one of Brown's aunts who cupped his face and stared at him intently, and noted the similarity in their looks.

“People would come to me and say: 'You have a D Brown voice, why not sing some D Brown song'? I never really moved to it until it started happening more. People would just walk up to me and ask if I'm related to Dennis Brown without even hearing me sing. So with that mi start to look into it more. One night at a dance mi tek the mic and start sing a Dennis Brown and the place tear dung. That was in the late 80s and from that I've been singing more of his tunes.“

“I'm seeing it more because of how people really coming up to me, especially his family. There are certain photos of Dennis when I look at them and look at mine I can see it...but a just Jah works; no relation. I know people are talking that I'm his son; people are saying that Dennis is my father, but I just don't know...that is the rumour going around, but I happy to know people are accepting me like this. I really love Dennis Brown and I stand behind what he has done, so if people want to embrace that and hold that for themself I won't fight it,” Miller shared.

He also shared his love for the Dennis Brown sound.

“Dennis is unlike any other artiste. What he does he make it seem so effortless, and the joy that he had in his spirit is one of the most pleasant, joyful, happy person that I know. In all the time I spent with Dennis I never saw him upset. So I think that really have a big part fi do with how he was able to sing. All I can really say is Dennis born to sing. You find that whatever Dennis sing it sound good, even when is just a little 'ray ray' it has that vibe... I can't even find the words to describe it,” said Miller.


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