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On Island Profile: Pressure

July 11, 2005 — What makes "The Pressure is On" different from any other reggae CD? "It’s strictly V.I. music," says the artist known as Pressure. "It’s the V.I. that made this album — from the writer, to the producer and the management—it’s a different style and sound. And the message is different."
For Pressure, born Delyno Brown, that message is positive, and comes from real life experiences with family, poverty, and Rastafarianism.
"I come from the ghetto," Pressure said, meaning the Paul M. Pearson Gardens in Long Bay, St. Thomas. "I know what things are like there … my music speaks to those people and tells the community what’s happening to the poor."
While things weren’t always easy for the 23-year-old artist, he does say that his parents gave him continuous support and inspiration. Growing up with father Irvin "Brownie" Brown, a well-known local DJ, gave Pressure the opportunity to be involved with music.
"I watched what he did, and wanted to be like him," Pressure said. At the age of 10, Pressure began to do this by playing the trumpet at Lockhart Elementary School, where he met friends Timothy and Theron Thomas, of 2EKwhip.
"They were also an inspiration," Pressure said. "They gave me the confidence to do my singing." Pressure moved on to the drums when he started middle school.
"I got so involved with my music, though, that I started doing badly with my grades," Pressure said. "That’s where my mom came in. She’s my heart … she pushed me to get a good education so that I could be anything that I wanted to be."
Pressure’s mother, Carol Petersen Brown, sent him to live with an uncle in the United States so that he could attend school. But Pressure’s interest in music continued to deter him from bringing home good grades.
"I did like to go to school … it was my joy," Pressure said. While his other friends were out during the nights at parties and other events, Pressure would stay home and work on his studies. "But, music was always most important," Pressure added.
In order to keep the young artist focused, his uncle took away his instruments, forcing Pressure to focus on writing songs and developing his singing. He even recorded some rap CDs in a studio but used them only to fine-tune his skills for future releases. This came in handy after Pressure returned to St. Thomas at the age of 17 and became a member of the Star Lion Family reggae group.
"I met the other seven members of the group in the [Black Juice Records] studio in St. Thomas," Pressure said. "Since we were all doing similar things, we decided to make one act onstage. After our first performance in 2000, we were known as the Star Lion Family."
As the group’s popularity began to increase within the territory, opening for artists such as Buju Banton, Capleton, and Sizzla, Pressure and the other members began to get attention from other producers—like Dean Pond from 340 Studios in Miami.
"Dean loved my music from the first time he saw me," Pressure said. "I loved his, too, so we decided to link up and do an album together." Pressure added that Star Lion members had decided at that point to pursue their own solo projects.
"The artists write their own songs and want to perform them, but there is always limited time onstage. You can’t get to say everything that you want to, so we decided that we would try to do our own solo projects," Pressure said.
Pressure’s first endeavor is a CD entitled "The Pressure is On," which hit the territory on June 27 after debuting at the World Music Festival in California. The album is also the first release from Tsuni Records, owned and managed by Virgin Islander Tony Blacks.
"It’s really a blessing to bring forth this album because I worked hard on it," Pressure said. "I wrote the whole thing in two weeks. Dean had saved special rhythms for me to record on, and every night I would listen to one, and write words for it."
Pressure added that all the songs come "straight from the heart" and aim to spread the message of Rastafarianism — a way of life the artist began to discover when he returned from the states. "I read a lot and I see things and I acknowledge them," Pressure said. "And then, I put them in the music in a positive way."
"It’s [the CD] going to show the world what Rastafarianism is [through conscious lyrics]," Pressure said. "I write a lot for the children, and this can help to teach them to be what they want to be, and help them see real truth and light."
Pressure aims to continue spreading his message through future endeavors such as world tours and music videos. "We’re going to do it big," he said.
"The Pressure is On" is available in St. Thomas at Modern Music, International Records and Tapes, Parrot Fish, and The Rack. In St. John, it is available at Forward to Your Roots restaurant, and Starfish Market; on St. Croix, at Galloway’s Record Shop, Natural Mystic, Parrot Fish, and Sam Goody.
"Support the album," Pressure said. "It’s got something for everyone to listen to."
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