Ras McBean: On a mission to spread reggae around the world

France-based Guyanese Reggae singer/songwriter Cleveland McBean known as Ras McBean has released a new album this year, ‘Reggae On A Mission’, which he recorded in Serbia.

Cleveland, who lives in Paris, told The Scene during a recent vacation here that he has been singing since he was the age of seven. Originally, he sang gospel and soul. His singing career started in 1990, but his life in the music business really kicked off in 1998 during a competition in French Guiana.

He had travelled there with two other artistes to represent Guyana and had sung a song called “Laid Back” which won him first place and a vacation to France. He travelled there in 2000. The trip there made him look at music from another perspective. “When I went out there and see the need for music, I said, ‘you know what? I will anchor right here and do my thing.’ My talent exploded there,” he said. “I was accustomed to being in a country where music was stifled, and it always made me feel congested so when I had the opportunity of being in a place where there is no limit to a man’s talent in music… I started singing with different producers and got on to people who had concerts and said, ‘you sing good’. Then I started performing at one show after the next… at that time I started writing my own music until one day I was singing at a show and two producers were in the crowd. My crowd had started getting larger and larger; one time it was 500 then 800, until it reach 3,000. They came to me after the show and asked to speak with me. The name of the label they were with was called ‘Irie Ites’. They were two Caucasians and they said, ‘Rasta man we’ve been watching you for a while now. You merit the opportunity of doing an album with us’. They took me and gave me a house and my own vehicle. I did my first album called ‘Pack Up and Leave’. This album was about me leaving Guyana. It spoke about how I left, how my mom cried, when I travelled, what I went through… the album was sort of emotional for me.”….

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