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Jimmy Cliff Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (3) | Personal Quotes (29)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 1 April 1948St. Catherine, Jamaica
Birth NameJames Chambers
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jimmy Cliff was born on April 1, 1948 in St. Catherine, Jamaica as James Chambers.

Trivia (3)

Jamaican reggae musician.
Bob Dylan called Cliff's single "Vietnam" the best protest song he had ever heard.
Charted with "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" to #25 on Billboard's Top 40 in 1969.

Personal Quotes (29)

I met Paul Simon and he said to me that he and Bob Dylan sat up for a whole night together listening to my albums one after another. That made me proud.
My records were becoming hits in South Africa, they were songs they were using to fight the Apartheid system. I didn't have clear knowledge of the embargo but if I had I still would have gone because it was what my singing was about. I was not going to Sun City to earn money, I was going to Soweto to sing to the people who had been using my music for freedom. I don't regret it. Before we went on we could feel tension in the air because all races were there, like something is going to erupt tonight but the moment I sang, people felt joy and happiness, because music brings all peoples together.
If I could change one thing about myself... I would try to control my generosity.
People in the Hall of Fame tend to clap their hands and say, 'OK, I've done it all,' but for me, it was a new beginning.
It was one of my dreams as a child, growing up in my little village with my cousins. We used to walk together, and I used to say, when you look at the world map, 'This town is there, that town is there, that river is there.' I used to say, 'One day, I'm going to travel these places.'
Christian values were important at home. Cleanliness. Don't steal. Don't lie. Those were the rules, and they were strictly enforced. Especially the stealing and lying. When you broke the rules, you got a beating. I always broke the rules a lot.
I would love to see no more ghettos, but the things is, there's no diplomacy in the ghetto. They want to tell you something, they tell you straight! An upper class, more educated person - they find a diplomatic way to tell you the thing. I love it when you just come heart to heart. That's the way I knew it coming up, so that's the way I like it.
The music that I represent and helped to create and establish was born in Jamaica.
I grew up twelve miles outside of Montego Bay. In my early teens, I went to Kingston. It was like a different planet for me. In the country, people are kind. In the city, people are hard an' cold, like the concrete and steel.
I'm the kind of person who likes to hang out and observe what's going on in the streets, or in certain places. I used to do that a lot. But having to become an international superstar, I can't do that comfortably! But it's all positive, you know.
The first thing I wanted to be was an actor, even before I wanted to be a singer, before I discovered I could sing.
I visit studios. Just to get the feel, the smell, and see what other people are doing. Not only listening to the radio, but going to studios, greeting musicians and artists, just getting a vibe.
If you go out to Hollywood you'll find a lot of fantastic plastic people there in the business and a lot of people in life generally. They find it so hard to be themselves that they have to be plastic.
I have not become the artist I believe I am. I want to become a stadium act. I'm not done at all.
In hindsight, I see the great value of family and how it moulded my life and kept me together. So now family means everything to me.
I have a career, which is important, but my family is the priority. First family, and then career. It's a delicate balance.
My most important relationships were with my father and grandmother.
I wanted to travel the world - I don't how that idea got in my head, but I really wanted to see the world... towns, cities, countries, I wanted to see them all.
It's important for me to go back into the ghetto, where I'm from. I still get my oxygen from there. I don't live in the ghetto anymore, but every time I go back, I'm still seeing the same things that I lived.
Basically, I'm motivated to write about sociopolitical issues as well as relationships. I think those themes have stayed with me throughout my life.
People might say, 'Jimmy Cliff, you've done a lot, achieved a lot. What more can you want?'
I regret I didn't ever learn how to fly a plane. I had the opportunity when I started to make some money, and I regret I didn't really take the time out and put the effort in and do that.
There are goals that I had set out for myself as an artist. I have accomplished some of them - becoming accepted all over the world - however, other parts of my goals have not been completed.
With acting, you have to become someone else. That's the fun part of it for me - to step outside of yourself and become a character. I guess being Jimmy Cliff is a little bit of a character, too.
I grew up in the church and had always questioned what they were telling me.
When I lived in the U.K., I recorded a lot of ska and rock-steady styles of Jamaican music. But people there weren't accepting it. So I began using a faster reggae beat.
I used to do a little acting in school. It was my first love, and I really thought I would be doing it as a career. I really wanted to complete that part of my ambition.
Someone like Katy Perry - I like her writing because I listen to music as a songwriter. I like a lot of her songs - like, 'Firework' is a song that I think I could write.
I've abused myself a lot over the years. But my voice is still intact - really, it's better.

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