Longevity and consistency are two of the hardest things to achieve in a music industry that is increasingly demanding and impulsive by the moment. For one, Imperial Alley Cat, he has stood the test of time, adjusting to music’s unpredictable atmosphere.
Albert Richards long desired to decorate the music industry with his concepts and lyrical dexterity ever since his childhood. During his childhood days, Richards would often practice his craft during break time at school and would roam through various inner cities across Kingston and study legendary sound systems such as Stone Love and Swatch Intl. as Dancehall pioneers such as Shabba, Ninja Man and Super Cat would perform.
Watching Dancehall legends and understanding the standard expected in the industry motivated Imperial Alley Cat to ply his trade in music full-time; performing at various concerts and club venues across Europe and North America and going to music school, where he learned to perform the guitar as well as the ins and outs of studio production. He also caught the eye of veteran producer and Penthouse Records CEO, Donovan Germain after recording the song, Suspense on the classic Saddest Day Riddim; opening doors to links with the likes of Shocking Vibes, Dave Kelly’s Mad House Records, Beenie Man, Wayne Wonder and Buju Banton, who helped him to hone his vocal skills, amongst other elements.
From there, this ‘Cat’ was on the proverbial prowl, dropping three hit albums: Imperial Level, Dancehall Knowledge: Vol. 1 and Dancehall Knowledge: Vol. 2. Singles such as Why, Elevate My People, Miss Virtuous (feat. Ikaya), Finally, Rough Society and Days Like These have not only showed Alley Cat’s ability to get fans to enjoy themselves listening to his music, but also gather important social and emotional messages that allow them to connect with his lyrics.
Additionally, Imperial Alley Cat’s understanding of the production world has allowed him to produce and create rhythms for the likes of Mavado, Queen Ifrica, Tony Rebel, Lutan Fyah, Harry Toddler, Fiona and Luciano as well as German Reggae sensation, Gentleman. Imperial performed alongside some of Dancehall’s biggest names such as Sean Paul, Shaggy, Sizzla and Beenie Man.
His work ethic remains as strong as ever, recording more singles, including his new single, Idling, which begs for opportunities for young people to keep them off the streets and out of trouble.
A career spanning three different decades, Imperial has endured the obstacles and stayed relevant through his thought-provoking concepts and intelligence of the game. His commitment is unquestioned and considering the mix of these qualities with his various talents, this artist aspires to continue providing good music and encouraging people to strive for better, as he does professionally and personally each day.
Who is Alley Cat aka Imperial, and where are you from?
Alley Cat aka Imperial is a Humble, observing, well focus, discipline and hardworking individual who always thrive for the best in whatever I do. I am originally from the Western side of Kingston, Jamaica.
How did you discover your musical talent?
I discovered my musical talent when I was 13 after realizing I could spit and write rhymes easily, also in school my classmates would always cheer me on when I was singing a song during lunch breaks.
Who has been your greatest inspirations musically and why?
My greatest inspirations comes from many great artist who execute with a nice melody, good sounding vocals with a message that teaches and uplifts the people in a positive way.
What do you feel you offer the music industry that we don’t already have in other performers?
In the music industry where Jamaican music is concerned you have Reggae and Dancehall artists. What I offer is both sides perfectly which many artist can’t. I can do a great reggae track like a Bob Marley and a Dancehall track like a Beenie Man. This give you more street credibility and respect from the fans. They know you are very versatile to do both genres very well. That is what I can offer which many Jamaican artist can’t.
Have you encountered any problems in getting to this point in your career?
Well, you have a lot of politics, favoritism, envy and grudges in the business which I have faced coming up as a artist to where I’m at today. My belief is to stay focused and surround myself with people who are serious about the business. People who see my potential and are willing to help take it to the next level, not trying to pull you back.
What do you want people get from your music?
I want people all over the world to be inspired by my music in a positive way. I hope the music I am doing will educate people to love and respect each other.
When can we expect some new music from you?
I currently have three singles out now with a strong buzz, 1-Idling, 2-Days Like These and 3-Real Ghetto Story. I am working on my fourth studio album which will be out soon.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Just getting signed to a LA based label and performing at some of the biggest Reggae festivals in Europe.
If you could collaborate with one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Bob Marley because his music is everlasting and he is a great inspiration to people all over the world.
One track of yours that you think defines you and why?
The track that defines me is not out yet, but I’m always advocating for unity among my people and I have a few tracks which represent those values so I can’t pinpoint any particular track.
Interviewed By: Just Jay