Reggae musician Gentleman in an interview before the concert in Bergen, Rügen

mountains. Friday on Rügen will be very bassy. Gentleman, whose real name is Tilmann Otto, is on tour and plays his one and only concert at MV in Waldbühne in Bergen. The most successful German reggae musician takes with him a large bag of reggae and dancehall music.

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The 48-year-old grew up in Cologne and lives there too, but spends a lot of time in Jamaica, the musical country of origin of his music. We talked to an exceptional musician in an interview for OZ.

Tilmann, the concert promoter, announced that you are in a good mood. Nice. Is there any specific reason?

I’m at a festival in Sweden right now. And I am very happy that you can now play in front of people again. I missed it so much. Even the journey itself. I am lucky to have a job where I can see so many different places, so many cultures and a lot of music. It makes me very grateful now. We don’t know what the coming year will look like, so you need to enjoy each day.

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You have a close relationship with Jamaica, both musically and personally. When was the last time you were there?

I think it was 2019 but I will be back soon. I have a family there and a lot of friends and acquaintances there, I produced most of my albums there. Jamaica is a big part of my life. Nevertheless, I also feel like a Rhineland and a European.

As Nadrenczyk, were you welcomed there with open arms? Jamaica is a completely different world and can it be quite difficult?

I think a certain naivety really helped me. I went there for the first time when I was 18. I spent a lot of time there and fell in love with the country, especially with the people and the music.

Of course, I also had my doubts. As a young man from Cologne, I make music there. Is? And am I allowed to do this at all? But if I hadn’t gotten love and motivation from Jamaica, I wouldn’t have gone further. I believe you should master your craft and do it with real respect, interest and love, then people will accept you. If you only go to the superficial level and maybe just for fun, people of course will notice it. Then the limit was exceeded.

Lord on the forest scene

Gentleman is a guest at Waldbühne on Friday. The concert by the reggae icon starts at 8:00 PM, admission from 6:00 PM. Tickets for 45 euros at the Waldbühnen shop in Bergen (Tilzower Weg 32a on Rügen Mobile) or at the box office (50 euros). Tickets are also available online at Reservix, eventim and eventbrite. After the concert, there will be an after-show party in La Grange at Gingster Chaussee 6, where DJ Benno Dub and Jugglerz will be playing.

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When did you know you were respected in Jamaica too?

The shaping moment was when I heard my song on the radio in Jamaica in 1999. It gave me the motivation to continue, to realize that what I am doing is good. Of course, direct feedback is also important, at concerts I got a lot of love from the audience. But not always. There were also shows the audience couldn’t relate to and we’re talking about events where people throw plastic bottles if they don’t like it. I didn’t get the bottle now, but I found myself criticized like the others. I had the feeling that I had arrived.

Reggae star Gentleman is coming to the island of Rügen in August

Jamaican musicians speak a lot of Patois with their own language. What is Patois?

Jamaican Patois is a direct, emotional and rebellious language that has always impressed me. You cannot choose a common word, but can enter it: “Nyam (pronounced njamm) some food” means, for example, to eat that fits well.

I didn’t learn Patois like a foreign language. It’s just a thing that involves spending a lot of time there and getting involved in life in Jamaica. I know people who moved to Cologne and after a few years have an accent. I don’t judge it. Maybe I will say subah instead of great if I move to Saxony.

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Are you singing in German for the first time on Blauehour (2020)? How did this happen?

This is a wish that has been with me for years. At concerts in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, I noticed that a lot of people didn’t really understand the lyrics. Works a lot with vibration, vibration and music. This is ok too, but I missed one case where people understand the text the moment I sing.

For “Sing meine Song” 2017 I made a cover of Marc Forster “I drink to you my friend”. Feedback came back overwhelming me. However, the harder it is to learn German is hard work. But confirmation came when I sang the first songs live. That’s when I realized: I’m going straight to my heart.

Are you sticking to the German lyrics now?

The new album “Mad World” is international again, I want to go on tour with it. The first singles “Over the Hills” and “Things will be Greater” are out, the album will be out in November.

Your life is all about music. Have you ever had a “normal” job?

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no! I actually wanted to get my high school diploma but then quit and started training as a paramedic at a massage school. Then came the civil service, and then the time with friends began. Actually, since 1998 I have been traveling the world with my music.

Reggae star Gentleman is coming to the island of Rügen in August

Reggae star Gentleman is coming to the island of Rügen in August

But you’re also a dad, how does it work with so many tours?

My seven-year-old daughter has been going to school since last year, which gives life a completely different rhythm. So far my family has been on tour with me, but now it’s only possible during the holidays.

But I also like to hang out: when I’m at home, I often take things to school and make school sandwiches. Overall, not being able to be at home is a problem for everyone on the road, and this applies not only to me, but also to the bus driver and the team.

But in the end, I think it all comes down to spending time with the kids. I’ve always been able to do it well. I have a very close and good relationship with my children. I: I’m not just on tour, I have a studio with me in Cologne.

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There is even the song “Vacuum Cleaner” on the Blue Hour album. Do you also run a household?

No, but I love to vacuum, I consider it a kind of meditation. You have an immediate sense of achievement. And the sound when you suck out cookie crumbs … beautiful! The “Vacuum Cleaner” song metaphor was more like picking up all the dirt around and getting rid of it.

You say your daughter is seven years old. What kind of music is he listening to? Is it to your taste?

I have two children. The older one is now 21 years old and also listens to dancehall and hip-hop. The seven-year-old listens to more Katy Perry and pop stuff. It also works in the car, but I get along well with it now. I listen to a lot of old stuff myself, Bob Marley, Dennis Brown and Jacob Miller or Motown. But in general I listen to less music than I used to, sometimes I look for silence, I look at the trees for an hour. I think I’ve calmed down.

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It sounds like a break.

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No, but you just change over the course of your life, and I try to be calm instead of bitterness as I get older. I don’t have to have every debate anymore, but I try to stay in my world and in a positive climate. And it’s easier for me if I don’t check social media channels, but I don’t care either. I managed to do it quite well, especially in nature. For example, in Majorca we like to be there. Of course, I still enjoy being around people. But not all the time.

Is there a risk of bitterness? Pain in the world?

Apparently we humans don’t really learn from our mistakes, ignorance is deeply ingrained in us. How do we deal with other people? It hurts to see it. I, too, no longer believe in a perfect world and that mankind will come to terms with it. But I believe it will be “ok”. A force that keeps everything together and in balance, whether you call it God or something else. It is also good for all bad development. And love is the motivation and power that can change everything.

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