What happens when greatness is gone too soon? Are we even sure that we witnessed greatness at all? When artistic potential is not fully formed or fulfilled we are left feeling cheated and stuck in the belief of what-ifs. That is the story of Garnett Silk. The Reggae singer who burst onto the scene in the early nineties and dominated Reggae music until his untimely death at the age of just 28 in 1994. His music was gripping, spiritual, fun, and artistic. He made you feel spiritual with songs like Zion In a Vision, Splashing Dashing, and Watch Over our Shoulders. He was able to express emotive love and social awareness with same aplomb. His music had lyrical substance and gravitas and we responded to it as though it was a breath of fresh air. It speak volumes that Garnett has left such an amazing legacy of music behind with such a short musical career. Its also even more amazing how many songs he was able to deliver, but that is another story around the frenetic pace of music production on the island of Jamaica.
It is hard to measure Garnett Silk’s impact on Reggae music. He passed away before he could make a true and lasting impact beyond the shores of Jamaica. That of course is not to say that his music may not have been discovered by music fans all over the world. It is however certain that if he had an opportunity to tour and play to massive audiences that his lyrics, musicality, and earnest emotional delivery would have garnered him a larger and lasting fan base, and Reggae music would have been the ultimate beneficiary of it all. I had the privilege of seeing Garnett Silk perform live in concert during my college years and it is still one of my most favorite concert moments. Music in general deals with the untimely death of budding superstars who’s lives and careers ended way too soon. We can think of Curt Cobain who died at age 27, Selena who died at age 23, and Aliyah who died at 22 just to name a few.
We can count the loss of numerous ultra talented musicians across numerous music genres in the dawning years of their lives and careers. Garnett Silk is and was one of Reggae music’s most brightest and potentially most impactful artists. He joins a talented list of gone to soon artists.