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reggae artist Dominic Balli has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music. But as he explains in an exclusive interview, music is not a means of success but a catalyst for communicating the Gospel, clearly captured through the themes of his latest reggae-rock record American Dream (red Song Music).
CCM: you’ve tagged your musical style as “Calirockreggae.” Aren’t you a greek-italian from the West Coast? Dominic: I am. But this is America, right? [Laughs] On the outside, I am definitely a Greek-Italian kid, but on the inside there’s a little reggae dude just trying to express himself. Ever since I heard someone sing with a Jamaican accent, I felt like I was home. So when I started writing music, that’s what came out. And as an artist, [reggae] is where I’m best.
CCM: i hint some irony behind the title, American Dream. Dominic: I had bought into the idea that the “American Dream” was my goal in life. Along with the dream came an invisible cancer that began to undermine my passion and purpose for what really mattered—namely my love for God and others. whether we say it or not, most Americans have this underlying goal to make a lot of money, own a nice house and retire with a fat savings account. Success and wealth aren’t bad things. They can be used to accomplish a whole lot of good. But it’s dangerous when those things move from being tools to accomplish good to gods that we live for.
CCM: reggae is often associated with lifestyles not congruous with the Christian church. What is your take on reggae? Dominic: reggae comes natural to me. I believe it’s the style that God gave me to use as a tool to tell the greatest story of all time—the story of God redeeming man back to Himself. It’s true that reggae has roots associated with the rastafarian culture and with smoking a whole lot of marijuana. But because reggae has spiritual roots, it’s expected that I will sing about spiritual things. That’s paved the way for me to build relationships with people and perform in venues rarely possible for an artist that writes with as much biblical conviction as I do.
CCM: Jason Mraz. Ziggy Marley. Natasha Beddingfield. You’ve shared the stage with some big names. How is your faith reflected in these “secular” settings? Dominic: I’m a beggar who has found bread. I just want to show the world where I found the bread. whether eating or drinking, playing or sound checking, living or dying, signing autographs or packing up guitar amps, we should do it all in a way so the beauty of God is being displayed. we don’t live in a culture where people say, “Tell me, and I’ll believe you.” we live in a culture where people say, “Show me, and I’ll believe you.” My life may be the only Bible that some people will ever read.
— Andrew Greer
“American Dream” Official Music Video Inspired by the cover photo for Echo Boom where the Farewell fellas each don a different colored Members Only jacket, the MO had the band stop in for a special visit at the NyC headquarters