Words by Nneka Samuel
Fresh off the heels of his new single, “Shock Mi,” New York born and bred singjay X-amount, aka Gus Knight III, has opened for hit acts like Lady Saw and Baby Cham. Armed with unshakeable enthusiasm and tremendous sense of self, the now Kingston-based artist, whose sound is a juicy blend of reggae, dancehall and lover’s rock, is proving he’s a star on the rise. X-amount took the time to sit down with POTENT to talk about everything from the meaning behind his name to the importance of family. Read on to hear from the man himself.
POTENT: When did you start making music?
X-a: In some ways I feel it was before my inception as I always consider music to be a part of me. However, I remember my first experience in a recording studio at the age of 11.
(X-amount credits the incomparable Bob Marley, as well as Bounty Killer and Garrett Silk as musical influences).
POTENT: How do you differentiate yourself from other artists in the reggae and dancehall genres?
X-a: The message within my music. My lyrical approach. Although it is almost inevitable to touch upon lyrical content that has already been discussed, before I sit down to make a song… I listen to my heart for the words and melody that presents my message in such a way untold.
POTENT: Are you currently based in Kingston? When did you move there and what sparked the impetus?
X-a: Yes. Several years ago. Being close to immediate family is very important to me.
POTENT: What’s next up for you? Any tours or new music in the works?
X-a: My current single “Shock Mi” produced by Yard Style Entertainment on the “Sweet Escape Riddim” is creating a hot buzz on the Internet and radio right now. The video was recently shot in Kingston and we are in the process of preparing to distribute for all major music television networks. I also have a VP Records release “Lifetime Survivor” produced by WeedyG Soundfource on the “Struggle Riddim” compilation. You can also expect to see me on many more riddim compilations in the upcoming future. Our management team is currently in the process of securing stage performances in the UK, Jamaica and abroad.
POTENT: What do you want your fans, or those who have yet to hear your music, to know most about you?
X-a: X-amount caah count! I am a people person. A real life individual. My foundation and grooming from a musical career standpoint is solid. I am disciplined and focused. My work ethic and musical portfolio reaches beyond a one-hit-wonder. I am here to stay. I love what I do!
POTENT: What makes you and your music POTENT?
X-a: My grandmother of Arawak descent once told me, “We are a peculiar people.” This conversation has lead me to strongly embrace my heritage, my roots and, my musical talent. Although I am uniquely different varying with style and rhythm, at the core of my musical foundation you will find heart and soul, built to withstand the test and trials of the musical journey.
Watch the video for X-amount’s latest single, “Shock Mi,” below.