Pato – One LOVE
by Greg Barraza
“Tell me what must I say what more can I do
to get this message over to you.
Every man every woman boy and girl
it’s up to us to save this world.” – Pato Banton
I sat down with Pato Banton, infamous reggae singer and knew it would be an interview like nothing I’ve done before. Born Patrick Murray, Pato Banton continues to be a true progressive with his music and his spirituality. As a youth, Patrick stayed up entertaining and was given the nickname Patoo, which comes from the Jamaican Patois and means “wise owl”; he received the nickname of “Banton”, which means “heavyweight DJ” from a DJ in Birmingham. By 16, Pato had already made a name for himself in Birmingham and would work regularly as an artist. By 19, Pato joined Crucial Music, a local reggae roots band; and his career took off from there. He began working with The Beat, an internationally successful ska band also from Birmingham. From there, his illustrious recording career exploded. His resume includes over sixteen albums, from 1985s Mad Professor to 2012s Words of Christ—a 7 CD box set. His success as a reggae artist speaks for itself: Baby Come Back hit #1 in the UK in 1994, and he has had multiple top 100 hits in the UK and US, including the much sampled and played Don’t Sniff Coke. If being a successful reggae artist was not enough, his album Life is a Miracle was nominated for a Grammy Award as Best Reggae Album. In addition to his successful reggae career, he appeared with reggae heavyweights like UB40 on the Baggariddim album, Paul Shaffer from the David Letterman Show, David Hinds from Steel Pulse, and Sting.
Other than being a reggae artist, Pato’s life reveals the person who makes the man. Pato was extremely involved in the community with his projects Muzik Links and the School of Musical Arts and Technology (SMAAT); both programs were designed to help at-risk youth who were involved in crime and gang activities. As a result of his commitment to the community, Pato was awarded with the BBC’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Black Music Award for Lifetime Achievement. To further honor his commitment to music and community, Pato was inducted into the Reggae Hall of Fame alongside UB40 and Steel Pulse in 2002. Despite all the achievements, Pato “constantly searches for the truth.” That search for truth led him to the Urantia Book. That is not to say that Pato was not a spiritual person prior to the Urantia Book, but the Urantia Book changed his life because he feels he has found the truth he seeks within the book. His spirituality reveals itself with each answer. And Pato does not hold back from answering any question posed to him.
I mentioned to Pato before the interview that this will not be like any other interview. His music and tour can be discussed, but I came to interview him to find the man behind the music. I was going to ask him some serious and personal questions because I wanted his fans and non-fans to get a glimpse inside the mind and heart of a reggae legend.
[ATOD Magazine Editor, Dawn Garcia: Thank you to my incredible Columnist, Greg Barraza for this in-depth and truly enlightening interview with one of my favorite reggae artists, Pato Banton. The world cannot survive without love and the message he sends to anyone willing to listen is one of precisely that. Pato – you are magnificent and the music, the message, the devotion – well, as a fan, I am incredibly grateful.]
Pato will be touring through December. Check out his tour dates at patobanton.com or you can Facebook him at facebook.com/patobanton. His merchandise will be available shortly through thestylecouncil.com.
You can purchase Pato Banton’s Music here: