Quino says it’s a good time to be a reggae artist.
  • Quino says it’s a good time to be a reggae artist.
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“I’ve been a Chargers fan since I was a little boy,” says Quino McWhinney of Big Mountain. “The Denver Broncos have always symbolized evil in my world.” But maybe not so much anymore: “Leap of Faith,” a new song cowritten and performed by McWhinney, is now the soundtrack of a compilation of Tim Tebow footage created by a Broncos fan. “Once the video was posted on YouTube, it went viral.” It also led Big Mountain to a record deal.

McWhinney cowrote “Leap of Faith” with L.A. duo Jeff Barry and Jed Leiber (son of Jerry Leiber, of Leiber and Stoller fame). “They had started on this, and they knew they wanted it to be a reggae tune.”

Last March McWhinney met with Barry and Leiber in L.A., listened to what they had done so far, and added to it. “I wrote the rap section that comes in after the bridge.” The song got attention on iTunes, and the net result was that it got Big Mountain signed to Leiber’s Night Bird records.

“This week the single will be released on mainland radio. It should be getting some spins,” says McWhinney.

There is no word whether or not Tim Tebow has seen the “Leap of Faith” montage.

Big Mountain started in 1991 and had a hit single soon after with “Touch My Light.” Big success came in 1994 with their reggae version of Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way.” McWhinney and his brother James are the nucleus of Big Mountain and have kept the band alive through hard times.

Now that Big Mountain is big business again, McWhinney thinks this may be his last semester as an ROP instructor. In January, Big Mountain leaves for festival gigs in Australia and New Zealand. After, the band will release another single and record a live album (their first) on February 18 and 19 at the Tribute to the Legends concert in San Diego, the one formerly known as Bob Marley Day. McWhinney says that things are looking up.

“Until a couple of years ago, reggae has had a tough time on radio. This new wave of bands, groups such as Reggae Revolution and Slightly Stoopid, are kicking ass and bringing excitement to the scene.” The phone, he says, has started ringing again. “It’s a good time to be a reggae artist.”

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