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SOJA

 

Lead singers Jacob Hemphill (vocals, guitar) and Bob Jefferson (bass) met in first grade in Virginia, shortly after Jacob had returned from living in Africa with his family. The two instantly became best friends, and in middle school found a common love for hip hop and rock music. Throughout middle and high school, they met Patrick O’Shea (keyboards), Ryan Berty (drums), and Ken Brownell (percussion) – who would later form SOJA. During this period, reggae music was becoming an addiction for the budding musicians. Lead singer Jacob shares, “We loved rock and hip hop, but there was something missing in the message. Even with our favorite artists, you would get one song that hit home and touched you, then three that were about nothing. With our favorite artists in the reggae genre, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, they were singing about something beautiful that truly mattered in every song. We never really got over it.”

 

SOJA’s first album was recorded independently with renowned sound engineer Jim Fox. Jacob notes, “Jim told us that he would work with us and so we could afford to make our first record, and when we ran out of money he started making up ‘discounts.’ It was awesome. I asked him why a while back, and he said ‘I didn’t want to see a good thing stop.’ What was even crazier was at the time he wasn’t working with bands that were from the US, just Jamaican artists. Big ones like Black Uhuru, Israel Vibration, Burning Spear, Don Carlos, and Inner Circle.

Falling between the rock sound of Rebelution and the more traditional sound of acts like Midnite, Soldiers of Jah Army (or SOJA) are an eight-piece reggae group hailing from Arlington, Virginia. Formed in 1997 by high-school friends and musicians who regularly gigged around the area, the Soldiers made their recorded debut in 2000 with the SOJA EP. Their debut album, Peace in a Time of War, followed in 2002 while its dub version, Dub in a Time of War, appeared in 2004. Get Wiser arrived in 2006 and was premiered back home with the album being played live in total, a concert that was captured on that year's DVD release Get Wiser Live. Their 2009 release, Born in Babylon, featured a guest appearance from German reggae singer Gentleman along with members of Rebelution. Live in Hawaii arrived that same year, and they signed with the ATO label for the 2012 effort Strength to Survive, which topped Billboard's Reggae Albums chart. Two years later, ATO released Amid the Noise and Haste, an album with Damian Marley, Michael Franti, and Collie Buddz as guests.

SOJA (Soldiers Of Jah Army) is an American pop reggae band based in Arlington, Virginia. Formed in 1997, their music is currently produced under ATO Records. The eight-member band has released a number of singles, albums, and DVDs, including SOJA – Live in Hawaii. Their third full-length album Born in Babylon peaked at #11 on the Top Heatseekers chart, while their 2012 album Strength to Survive topped the Billboard Reggae Album Chart. The band continues to tour and record new music.

Before the band was founded the members had performed together on and off for some years. Frontman Jacob Hemphill (vocals, guitar) and Bob Jefferson (bass) met in first grade shortly after Hemphill had returned with his family from living in Africa, where Jacob's father was the IMF resident representative in Monrovia, Liberia.He and Jefferson then met Ryan Berty (drums), Patrick O'Shea (keyboards), and Ken Brownell (percussion) in middle and high school.

 

Reggae

I Don't Wanna Wait
I've Got Time
Losing My Mind
Strong For Them
You Don't Know Me

Members of this Group


Goldenboy

EuroGirl


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