ESSENCE.COM: Your is the significance of your album”A Moment In Time?”
BERES HAMMOND: When I prepare an album there isn’t necessarily a concept in my mind. What I try to do is to record a song around what is happening around that time. You might call that unorthodox but it usually turns out pretty well. There isn’t a particular method for me. I just try to make good songs that people can relate to in a positive way.
ESSENCE.COM: What was happening in the world around the time you were putting this album together?
HAMMOND: There is a song called “Picking Up the Pieces” that came through to me based on what was happening in the world, but particularly in Jamaica with children losing their lives. Sometimes you pick up the newspaper and there is nothing but bad news, and as usual, people who are falling in and out of love inspired this album.
ESSENCE.COM: So is there a special lady who inspires your love songs?
HAMMOND: It’s sort of a two-way thing. Again, because I’m usually surrounded by females, I [am able to] get a little insight into their love lives. If I have nothing else, I know I’ll always have a love song. Besides, we need more love songs so people can embrace each other again. We hardly take time to see love for what it really is, so I am just here as a small reminder to some of the folks who take life too seriously.
ESSENCE.COM: As a music veteran, how do you keep your new music fresh?
HAMMOND: I live one day at a time. I’m not trying to keep it fresh. I’m just trying to be me. I don’t know much about staying in the limelight musically. I have never stopped to think about that. This is what I have to give and I am happy that over the years people have appreciated that. I must say much love and respect to all the folks who have taken time out to purchase all of my records.
ESSENCE.COM: Do you have any plans to tour this year?
HAMMOND: My most recent engagement was about two months ago. I did a six-week tour in the [States] and that was beautiful and well received.
ESSENCE.COM: You’re also known for your live performances. What do you get out of performing live?
HAMMOND: Just seeing how all the people react to the songs that you have made and you say “Wow! Mission accomplished.” A song starts with one little song in the studio and develops into a story and then you see people reacting to that story. When you’re on stage and you hear them singing along, I mean, this is a feeling one cannot describe. When you’re up there, it’s like you’re in this beautiful place.
ESSENCE.COM: Is there a difference between performing in the States and performing in Jamaica?
HAMMOND: They all behave in sort of similar way…they all have a way of singing the melodies to your songs.
ESSENCE.COM: This is like your twenty-fifth album. How does it feel to have such an incredible career?
HAMMOND: I feel blessed. I must give thanks to the Almighty for always standing right before me and beside me and for the folks who always believe in what I am doing and still happen to be supporting me at this time. It’s a whole heap of things and a whole heap of people that I have to give thanks to and I just feel blessed.
ESSENCE.COM: What has the reaction been [in Jamaica] to our new President-elect Barack Obama?
HAMMOND: Everybody feels like a president now. Everybody feels like this is a chance for them to be what they really want to be. If Barack can do it, everybody says, “Well I know I can be a lawyer or I know I can be this.” It gives new hope and everybody feels like a champion.
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