From the trenches of downtown Kingston to the beaches of the Caribbean and crowded streets of Tokyo, United States and the United Kingdom; walking through popular European food markets, tasting escargot in Paris and braving the trip across the swinging bridges in Ghana, Steve ‘Urchin’ Wilson has been to more than 120 countries, thousands of cities, as his personal collection of photographs prove.
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Some of these memories captured not only serves as a constant reminder to the journeyman of the entertainment industry, of moments stamped in the past (and his passport) but are comforting as part of a larger story that includes his evolution, Steve Urchin told The Sunday Gleaner .
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“For some time, a book has been rattling around in my head. And along with the pictures, there are significant quotes that have been distilled from conversations over the years; some that amused or guided me, or were meant to first guide me but they amused me, and [I] wanted to find a way to share them.”
Some of the quotes, he added, “came from drinking cheers. Apparently, they’d go out back then and make toasts every time they would have a drink. One of those that stood out to me, ‘Oh water, water, water, water is the best drink, water is the best drink in the world, but who am I to deserve the best drink? Bartender, give me a Scotch and soda,’ which was of my father’s father and I thought it was cool, and funny when I never necessarily thought of my grandfather as that type of person, so it was nice for me to see him in this new light presented through quotes.”
The 50-year-old music industry executive dons many hats, as artiste manager to multi-platinum Grammy Award winner Sean Paul, presiding over the logistics of bookings, tours, recording and promotion, as well as contributing to the careers of some of Jamaica’s prolific singers and songwriters, including Farenizzi (formerly Farenheit) and Jovi Rockwell, having acted as a former GeeJam Studio manager, nightclub promoter and cultural ambassador. He is also a father to two daughters and one son. Now, Steve Urchin has taken a few of his passions: travel, photographs and family, and combined them with quotes from the strong men, particularly his grandfathers, Verner Wilson and Louis Hitchins, as well as his father, Donald George Wilson, and also some of his own to create a unique book that inspires its readers to “look down to feel up” (as the introduction reads), adding another feather to his hat as a published author.
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COVID-INSPIRED PROJECT He is currently in the middle of promoting his latest venture – described as a coffee table book – titled Look Down: Sh*t You May Have Missed! , a concept, along with the images and quotes, he says, is relevant in the current pandemic.
“I found myself with a lot more time at home this year; looking through my phone and realising how many images I have taken over a period of time, that were sort of the lower perspective is the way I put it, stuff at your feet. People spend a lot of time looking in front of them and not necessarily looking down, which I have always thought, there are things you are bound to miss especially in some of these crazy cities across the world. So yeah, it is safe to say it was a COVID-inspired project,” Steve Urchin said of this venture, which was made a reality with the help of his publisher, Kendra Arch of Quote Studios
Another standout quote, this time from his father: “Son, try to live your life in such a way to make your name light enough for your children to carry but heavy enough to always tip the scales in their favour,” also motivated him from concept to completion
“I am thankful for my dad who turned 85 years old this year, he is a big inspiration for me, and getting this book out was like a tribute and also a birthday present to him
“Of course, there are uncountable pictures of the landmarks that people have seen a million times so I thought this might be a great way to present a different perspective of things I have seen in my travels, but I also wanted to site the quotes so my own children could look at them in the years coming and kind of appreciate the lineage they come from and the complicated men who were their grandfathers, great-grandfather and father,” he expressed
What sets this book apart from most other coffee table books is that it documents small pieces of Urchin’s travels but demonstrates a great outlook on life. The content evokes a sense of peace and personal growth among a world we often view for what it is, which is sometimes harsh, cold and mysterious. The photographs show a close-up of a world people will experience, he said, “when they check out the road less travelled – the unbeaten path – those little corners, nooks and crannies that are actually interesting areas to look at”
“I want persons to look at the pictures, read the quotes and be in awe that there is a lot more to the world than they have noticed. People travel and don’t see things or maybe only see the regular things; people really do miss a lot of sh*t if they don’t look down, especially in older cities, like the manhole covers, from the little details to the art that’s on the ground,” he continued
SPIRITUAL BEING The in-depth conversation with Steve Urchin led to the discovery that the music executive-turned-author is more spiritual than people may believe, and one who forms philosophies from things as simple as his shadow on a pavement. He said, “I am a spiritual person. I grew up religious, but transitioned into being more about spirituality. I think God is a thing that doesn’t have limitations and should not be limited by any of our human concepts and perspectives, and he is who I give thanks for my creativity, next to my parents and family, who are the people who helped shaped this book.”
The coffee table book marks the first in a series of different books. He added, “I want to continue in quotes because I find that this era, the generations coming up digest things in smaller bites, but I do have plans to publish a meatier book, which will be my next foray. It feels absolutely fantastic this book becoming a reality, and I now understand the obsession that the people who I have worked with have with creating. I have been sort of jealous of their creative process, but seeing something you create come to life and people appreciating it for what it is, is an incredible feeling.”