Musician Tarrus Riley’s song, Start Anew, that addresses domestic abuse has had tongues wagging in the streets since the court case of his father, singer Jimmy Riley, made headlines last week. Riley, however, has denied claims that the song is about his father.
On Wednesday during C-Sharp’s concert in Oakton Park, Half-Way Tree, Tarrus Riley addressed the issue saying that there is no direct family connection in his song, Start Anew.
Punching his wife
The song came very close to home when it was reported in THE STAR that Tarrus’ father, veteran singer, Jimmy Riley, had appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court to face allegations of punching his wife, Sandra Bramwell-Riley (who is not Tarrus’ biological mother) in the face on January 3.
Bramwell-Riley also told the court that it was not the first time he had hit her.
In Start Anew, Riley implores the victims of domestic abuse to stand for themselves singing, “Him seh he loves yuh but him a beat yuh when him feel like … How him fi beat beat yuh den waan tek yuh clothes off?Abuse and mistreat yuh, den later on seduce yuh? Mek him know him nah get nuh loving if a so den star … cut it off, let it go, start anew.”
On Wednesday, while mixing Tracy Chapman’s Sorry with one of his original songs, Tarrus Riley said “Yu have some dutty man a beat up woman. Me say fia bun!” An enthusiastic audience agreed and enjoyed Riley’s performance.
Inspired by life
While people in the streets have implied that Start Anew might have been written by Riley from a personal experience, when THE STAR spoke with Tarrus Riley yesterday he denied the claim saying, “the song was inspired by life, dese tings happen in life, exactly what the song says is what the song is about. You have things that people face that should be talked about, everyone see it”. Start Anew was done two months prior to Jimmy Riley’s case.
During the concert, Riley said there were those who were saying that he had done a song against his father, but “dem jus’ waan suppen fe chat bout” We jus’ a talk de trut’. Sometimes it drop pon da side ya, sometimes it drop pon da side ya.” And then he started Start Anew, to the delight of the audience.
Riley told THE STAR that the relationship he had with his father had not been negatively affected since the incident. He said, “mi nah throw words pon my father, me and my father a brethren, wi cool. Is not my business, is my father business, my father is a big man … it’s unfortunate that my song get mix up in that.”
Riley was one of the guests on C-Sharp’s full-length concert, presenting them as a self-contained outfit and not a backing band. Duane Stephenson and saxophonist Dean Fraser were the other guests.
In the meantime, Tarrus Riley remains focused on his soon-to-be-finished third album. He is also in the midst of finishing a video shoot for Forever More, his duet with singer, Alaine. In February he is also looking forward to his ‘Start Anew’ no-violence school tour where he, along with other entertainers, will visit schools to discuss domestic violence.