Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Kabaka Pyramid’s model mom

Published:Sunday | May 10, 2020 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small - Staff Reporter
Contributed Kabaka Pyramid’s mom, Marcia Salmon, cannot help being ... a mom.
Kabaka Pyramid and his mom, Marcia Salmon. Contributed
Kabaka Pyramid’s mom, Marcia Salmon, admiring a poster of him. Contributed
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Each summer, Marcia Salmon would spend much time studying her son’s itinerary as he embarked on one of his tours to countries around the world. This year, Marcia does not have to deal with that bittersweet experience of watching her son, Kabaka Pyramid, go off for months at a time. However, the model mom will have to contend with the reality of not knowing when next they will see each other in person.

With concerts everywhere cancelled or postponed until 2021, she has had to shift focus entirely from poring over the ­reggae star’s movements to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on life as we know it. As one would expect from an attentive mother, her focus didn’t shift to herself.

Being quarantined in her South Florida home (with Kabaka in Jamaica), furloughed from her data analyst job in the cruise ship industry, Marcia is taking advantage of the new demand for face masks. However, for this new supplier, the effort is not for profit.

“[The pandemic] opened up a brand-new opportunity to utilise my business and sewing skills to build and operate an online store to support an orphanage in Africa,” she told The Sunday Gleaner. Part proceeds of all sales go toward the support of Orphans Unlimited in Mozambique.

If COVID-19 had not become the overwhelming pandemic it is right now, Marcia would have been cheering Kabaka on during his multiple tour stops, offering feedback and eagerly awaiting the ­opportunity to feed him.

“Watching him prepare for a tour is an exciting learning experience for me, especially going shopping and watching him pack his suitcases so neatly. The best part, though, is to provide ‘Mom’s Airport Taxi Service’ and to have his favourite meatless veggie soup ready when he returns,” she gushed.

Cooking and chauffeuring are familiar tasks to Marcia, who shared happy memories of guiding extracurricular activities. “It was my pleasure to be the ‘soccer, basketball, swimming, church choir mom’ who scheduled her teaching and administrative duties at UTech (the University of Technology, Jamaica) around their development,” she shared.

She explained her balanced approach to raising Kabaka and his siblings. “I was a principled facilitator who wanted education to be paramount but with lots of flexibility built in for them to excel in all other areas. It seemed like my SUV was always full of boys as I attended and supported their events, took them fishing … . Drum sets and musical instruments were among the toys they got for Christmas and birthdays. I cannot recall me stifling the creativity of my kids at any point. I was shocked that they are so talented and wanted to express it in their own way,” she added.

Find out just how close ‘Mama Kabaka’ and her son are below:

1. How involved are you in his career? Does he come to you for any advice?

Oh, yes! It seems like I’m the most involved mom among the young artistes. I’m available to listen to him mixing in studio, hear the first draft of some songs to give him feedback on which version I prefer, and be a sounding board for the different experiences he shares and what his plans are.

2. When did you notice Kabaka’s affinity for music? Does it run in the family?

As a child, I can’t remember actually hearing him singing aloud, but as an adult, he would remind me of some songs he learned as we were driving around. In the late ‘90s, it was clear that his affinity for music was growing. He would spend hours creating beats after he turned my den into a music room.

The interesting thing is how it must have been in the genes for him to write such strong lyrics. I distinctly remember that one of my pastimes was to write additional verses to gospel songs that I loved as a young teen.

3. Do you have a favourite Kabaka Pyramid song?

Yes, it is Reggae Music. I heard it here at home from the very first beats were being made and just wanted to dance! It’s amazing to listen to the end product and relive that ‘70s rhythm. Dreams to Reality is fast becoming another favourite; looking forward to being present at a live performance to enjoy the tribute to me in that song.

kimberley.small@gleanerjm.com