Jamaican reggae music is one of the best-known genres of music around the world, uniting people of all countries, all races, and all religions with a sound that is dedicated to searching for the answers to life, to conflict, to humanity, to the world, to love. There are few artists in this music genre today that are creating the epitome of this artistic insight, professing subjects that are so often glazed over by mainstream music. Hailing from Washington D.C. - reggae band SOJA is on the forefront of this revolution, telling the roots story, but from the other side: America. SOJA embodies musicians unlike any other band in any genre of music, to date. The members: Jacob, Bobby, Ken, Ryan, and Patrick have been a team since childhood with lifelong musical goals, which they are still pursing today.
Lead singers Jacob Hemphill (vocals, guitar) and Bob Jefferson (bass) met in first grade in Virginia, shortly after Jacob had returned from living in Africa with his family. The two instantly became best friends, and in middle school found a common love for hip hop and rock music. Throughout middle and high school, they met Patrick O’Shea (keyboards), Ryan Berty (drums), and Ken Brownell (percussion) - who would later form SOJA. During this period, reggae music was becoming an addiction for the budding musicians. Lead singer Jacob shares, “We loved rock and hip hop, but there was something missing in the message. Even with our favorite artists, you would get one song that hit home and touched you, then three that were about nothing. With our favorite artists in the reggae genre, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, they were singing about something beautiful that truly
mattered in every song. We never really got over it.”