“My heart makes music magic,” says Lee “Scratch” Perry. “My heart makes magic music. Me heart write it. They call it reggae. Reggae is magic.”
Master of dub. Reggae renegade. Pioneer producer. An alchemist of sound. A mystical messiah and magician of music. He’s The Upsetter. He guided Bob Marley and the Wailers from rock steady to reggae. He developed drum-and-bass early dubbed beats, laying the groundwork of electronic and Hip-Hop, and, at 83, still manages to craft lyrical tales and recite his words as pure poetry.
Back home in Negril, Jamaica, where he spends most of the year with his wife Mireille—the other half is spent in Zurich, Switzerland—Perry is feeling peppy this evening. He’s feeling the music tonight, and breaks into song mid-way through thoughts. Offering interview intermissions, Perry pulls out various renditions of the 1976 Hot Chocolate soul hit “You Sexy Thing” replacing the chorus’ “miracles” for other marvels in his mind—drums, bass, dentists, and reindeer—crooning his own scratchy versions of “I believe in miracles.”