5 Minutes With Gramps MorganIn 2009, I covered new grounds for Trini Jungle Juice; "Charleston Carifest" in South Carolina, the "One Love Reggae Fest" in Greensboro (North Carolina) and Atlanta, and to top it off, in November the "BET Soul Train Music Awards". At this red carpet event, the Caribbean was well represented as BET had a category for the Best Reggae Artist. In attendance was Morgan Heritage's singer and songwriter Gramps Morgan, who we just happen to steal away from the red carpet long enough to ask him some questions. And even though we could not get him away long enough for a full interview, Gramps gave us the location to his After Party to meet him after the awards show. By 11pm, we caught up with Gramps, his sister Una and other members of the Gramps Heritage touring crew at the party before conducting our interview with Gramps in his tour bus. 5 Minutes With starts now!

JoyJuice: Why do they call you Gramps?
Gramps: Well, when I was born, I looked like my father's Grandfather ... so from birth they stuck me with Grampa.

JoyJuice: Okay, so the last time I saw you perform was with Morgan Heritage in Atlanta with Beres Hammond. What's new for Gramps?
Gramps: Well coming up is a tour with India Arie. That I am looking forward to! In September we finished a tour with John Legend.
JoyJuice: Are you serious? How was that?
Gramps: Amazing! John Legend is a fantastic performer. He has a great personality as well. It was a great learning experience.
JoyJuice: What was one thing you can take away from John?
Gramps: I think his work ethic and professionalism. He also encouraged me to keep striving to improve.

JoyJuice: I know you opened up for Buju (Banton) as well. How was that?
Gramps: Just great. He as well said he wants me to get better. Working with people like them has really opened up my eyes.

JoyJuice: So I know you are on the road a lot. What do you miss the most when you are away from home?
Gramps: I miss touring with Morgan Heritage, bringing out albums together and spending that family time. We all understand though and still are strong for each other.

JoyJuice: So is Morgan Heritage over?
Gramps: On no man, we are just spreading our wings a bit. It was always a dream to see see how versatile we are. That's all.

JoyJuice: I see you have an album out already - "Two Sides of My Heart"
Gramps: Well it's a form of expression, that's all! You can find more on it and my music on my website at www.grampsmorgan.com

JoyJuice: With all this touring and all the food you must have tried, you have to tell me, what is your favorite?
Gramps: Italian! I love Italian food.
JoyJuice: Have you ever been to Italy?
Gramps: Yes, many times. My favorite place is Florence actually.

JoyJuice: Where is one place you would like to perform that you have not has yet?
Gramps: That's easy ... India and Ethiopia! But I want to do it with the family ... with Morgan Heritage.
JoyJuice: Really. What's the reason?
Gramps: Well we all talked about it but it is an experience for us to enjoy. People love us and I can just imagine the reception.

JoyJuice: Anything in particular you miss with the Morgan Heritage family?
Gramps: Oh yes; praying together, seeing all my siblings and just spending time with them.

JoyJuice: What's the most difficult thing performing as Gramps?
Gramps: You may not believe me but it's staying in shape. Carrying a show solo is exhausting but rewarding.
JoyJuice: I can imagine

JoyJuice: I was also happy to see you on the Red Carpet at the BET Soul Train Awards. What was that like?
Gramps: Well, it wasn't my first one. The 1st one was the International Festival, but I was happy that they recognized Reggae. Seeing Serani, Sean Paul and others was in itself a momentous occasion.

JoyJuice: Who have been some artists that have been influential in your development as an artist?
Gramps: That's easy, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.

JoyJuice: And what about your biggest challenge when on the road?
Gramps: Obviously staying healthy with eating the right foods. Also, praying often.

JoyJuice: And as for the younger Morgan's, any advice?
Gramps: Yes man. Stay hungry for the music and to stay grounded in prayer. It is the best formula for everything we do.

JoyJuice: Gramps, thanks for the time man.... Keep the music coming!
Gramps: Thanks to you as well.

As Always,
JoyJuice .... Out and About!

You can learn more about Gramps Heritage at www.grampsmorgan.com.