2010 is shaping up to be an explosive year for talented new reggae artist Protoje, who is looking to take his career to new heights under the guidance of his cousin Donovan ‘Don Corleon’ Bennett. Since he began working with the topflight record producer last December he has been writing and recording a number of tracks to complete his upcoming album The Seven Year Itch. The first fruit of this wonderful collaboration is a haunting reggae track titled Dread which has been getting heavy radio play both locally and abroad since its release two weeks ago. Dread has been endorsed by the likes of top jocks such ZJ Liquid (ZIP FM), ZJ Elektra (ZIP FM) and DJ Wayne (IRIE FM) among others.

“A Don Corleon production will be very good to build on my current momentum,” said Protoje, whose given name is Oje Ollivierre.

“Dread was the one,” explained Corleon as he recalls listening to a selection of his kin’s tracks one day in his studio. After being told that the tune had been recorded and remixed on three separate occasions without the desired outcome, the prolific hit making producer decided it was time for proper execution. The first verse begins with a reminiscent reference to the recently arrested Buju Banton (“hockey jersey inna heat, Patrick Ewings on the feet / Buju Banton on the beat, uunu ‘member dat! / ’92 December dat!”), a mere coincidence since Protoje wrote the song a long time ago.

Don had been following Protoje’s music for much longer than most in the industry but wanted to give the artiste more time to grow and develop as a vocalist and a songwriter. However after watching Protoje perform at the Seven Year Wish concert last December at Weekenz Don was thoroughly impressed. Protoje who was the headline act for the event which was staged by his record label and management company House Of Diggy, had delivered a very exciting performance that left everyone in the venue in awe. Dread was among the songs he performed and Don was there to witness it up close.

Since then, industry insiders have been implying – indeed expecting – that Protoje is destined for international stardom. This has lead many to wonder why it took Don Corleon so long to collaborate with the artiste given the blood connection.

“Not because he’s my cousin means I was going to just give him a buss in the business. He had to prove himself first,” said Don. “Now his writing is better and his vocals have improved tremendously.” “He is indeed ready for the big break now.”