Floyd Lloyd (born Lloyd Seivright in St. Ann, Jamaica on June 3, 1948) is a Jamaican reggae musician and singer who was best known for his 1982 hit “Jah Jah Why?”.
As a teenager Floyd attended Alpha Boys School, a Catholic run musical institution in Kingston. At this time the popular music in Jamaica consisted largely of American standards, New Orleans jazz, and popular hits of the 50s and the early 60s. His education at the school resulted in him writing his own songs and at the age of 15 he performed on Jamaican television. Floyd wrote the hit ‘Be Yourself’ in 1969 which led to a relocation in England where he continued to pursue a career in music. The song resulted in him being invited by the Beatles’ Apple Records to attend an audition, although with the band’s demise his summons was neglected.
By the early 70s Floyd understood the value of retaining the publishing rights of his own works and founded Tropic Entertainment & Recording Enterprises. One of his earliest clients was Justin Hinds who was to discover the benefit of the contract 20 years later as his compositions, ‘Over The River’ and ‘Here I Stand’, were chart hits for Bitty McClean. The EMI Records and Warner Brothers Records organizations were impressed by Floyd’s professional approach to publishing and employed him to resolve authorship and copyright disputes from within the reggae industry. At the time these were issues often neglected by labels and producers dealing with Jamaican artists who had no legal representation. In addition to employment in the peripheral side of the music industry Floyd continued working with artists such as Derrick Morgan, Tommy McCook, Laurel Aitken and Rico Rodriguez.
Also in the 70s Floyd formed the Red Cloud band in London who played a unique musical fusion regarded as rock-reggae. It was around this time that the Mighty Diamonds recorded the classic ‘Sweet Lady’, which was in fact a rewrite of Floyd’s ‘Be Yourself’ and has remained a popular hit on the revival circuit. In 1977, Floyd released two solo songs, ‘Soulful Lover Baby’ and ‘Slow Down’, through Trojan Records. His solo venture followed the demise of the Red Cloud band and he later signed to the EMI/KPM Music Library who were inspired by his exceptionality. For the company he produced reggae songs for their music library that was used in film and television programmes such as EastEnders, Friends and Twentieth Century Fox’s Strange Days. He additionally performed with the ska revival group the Potato 5 and remained with them for several years. (It was while working with the Potato 5 that he coined the phrase ‘Mash It Up’). He then relocated to the Netherlands before settling in New York, USA in 1995 where, with his business partner Brenda Ray, focused on releasing much of his material. A consequence of these releases was a variety of sync licenses to various film and television shows. ‘Compatible Friends’ and ‘Rock Steady Party’ taken from Mango Blues were featured in the HBO production Real Sex and Paramount’s Dead Men On Campus respectively. Floyd has established himself as ska’s keeper of the faith. He maintained the jazz/ska connection when he forged links with the New Orleans Jazz Stars.
Better To Laugh Than To Cry (1982)
Tear It Up: The Ska Album (1997)
Our World (1998)
Mind Over Matter (2004)