BY: DT THE ARTIST
On August 2nd, 2017 the world of music lost a legend in the passing of Iauwata Amha Selassie MD. Born in Guyana on March 15,1952, Keith Paul who would later become known as Iauwata, fell in love with music from a young age. I was told that music ran in Iauwata’s blood. His brothers Derrick, Reggie, and Xola, all play musical instruments, and even Iauwata’s children play or produce music.
This story is personal for me as Iauwata was one of my mentors, who became like a second father. I was first introduced to Iauwata almost ten years ago, through Natty Beats, one of my colleagues and mentors in music. Upon meeting Iauwata for the first time I was able to see that he had such life and vigor. We bonded very quickly over our love of music. While we spent a lot of time working together in the recording studios, we also would go out for regular adventures. Iauwata loved nature, and with that love came a passion for walking. We often went on long walks and spent time laughing and joking. I often got to see his light-hearted side, and we had many running jokes, that other people listening may never understand. One such joke was anytime we were working in the studio, and Iauwata would ask me to help him with something I would say “Pops, you owe me $10 million for this” and we would both laugh and he would reply with something like “That’s ok, you’re gonna be rich from music so you can take care of this old man.” And we would laugh again, and then get the job done.
Iauwata later told me he was now my piano teacher (I didn’t have a choice) and thus for months at 5 am he would knock on my door, and it would be time for piano lessons. Iauwata taught me chords and music theory, which helped my production, as well helped to enhance my vocal skills for harmonies. Yes, I can harmonize with myself. After sessions, Iauwata would often make breakfast, usually Ital food, or we would go to McDonalds and get “Chips” as he called them. I would often bother him and say “Don’t you mean french fries” and he would say “No, Chips, when I lived in England we called it Chips”. After many years of producing music, and going on adventures Iauwata became like a second father to me. And he would often call me three times a week to check up on me. Anytime I would travel and go on tour he would come see me as soon as I got back so that I could tell him my stories of being on the road. And then he would tell me about the time he played in China, or when played for Ike and Tina Turner, and the countless legendary artists that he has played in a band for.
Iauwata was one of the kindest people you could ever meet and was always willing to help someone learn about music, no matter what level they were at. He would always be positive and full of encouragement. I remember he would listen to the songs that I recorded and say “DT the music kicking, you gone clear son”. Iauwata became well-known and legendary around the world for his talent and love of music, and his ability to play any instrument on earth. Because of his love for music, and his uncanny ability to mentor anyone willing, Iauwata leaves behind a legacy of musicians that have either personally worked with him, or were taught by him personally. His latest album “Rally” a double CD brings together his passion for music and Rasta culture. Iauwata leaves a legacy of great students, music, and enough unreleased music to be put out for years.