With a series of reggae-pop hits in the mid-’90s, Bitty McLean’s smooth and classic vocal approach helped offset the gangster ragga approach then prevalent in reggae and dancehall. Born in 1972, McLean was drawn to classic reggae at an early age, and by his teens he was performing in front of Birmingham’s biggest sound systems. After enrolling in a sound and engineering class at a local college, McLean began working with U.K. roots reggae legends UB40, first as an engineer and eventually as a producer and occasional singer with the band. Behind the scenes he kept working on his own recordings, which paid off in 1994 when he placed three songs in the U.K. charts, including covers of the Shirelles’ “Dedicated to the One I Love” and Fats Domino’s “It Keeps Rainin’.” In 2004 he released the intriguing On Bond Street KGN. JA., which featured McLean singing his own melodies and lyrics over classic rocksteady backing tracks recorded by Tommy McCook at Duke Reid’s legendary Treasure Isle studio some 30 years earlier.
Collaborations with The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra, (Fu-Man-Chu) Ansel Collins (Cornerstone) and veteran DJ Josey Wales (Running Over) have added to the catalogue of hit records. 2014 saw Sly and Robbie, The Taxi Gang and Bitty McLean embark on tours of Australia, Canada and the U.S to rave reviews. The Riddim Twins distinctive sound along with Bitty’s trademark voice, reaffirmed and solidified Bitty McLean as one of Reggae’s premier vocalists.