Prince Blanco (Mark Matthews) is an award winning singer and musician based in Toronto Canada. Born and raised in the UK, he grew up heavily influenced by classic Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae music along with late '70s punk rock and the ska-fuelled 2-Tone sound.
Eventually relocating across the Atlantic, he became involved in the vibrant Canadian ska and reggae scenes, touring throughout the '90s as a drummer and vocalist with The Skanksters, releasing the acclaimed album ‘Dub Cookery’ (Simmerdown USA) in 1997. The group eventually morphed into the dub-conscious Boogiewall Soundsystem collective in 2001 where Blanco was featured heavily on their album ‘Super My Own Band’ (OhmGrown/Universal). From 2001 to 2004 he was a singer and percussionist with Carib-Funk big band, The Liquidaires, releasing three albums 'Amore', 'Lookin' Up' and 'Meeting Place' (MojoBrand/Independent) and gaining a loyal fan base resulting from a successful three-year residency at a popular Toronto pub.
His first solo offering ‘Prince Blanco & The Rocksteady All-Stars’ (MojoBrand), a collection of foundation reggae classics, was released in September 2006 followed by ‘Rebel Discotheque’ (MojoBrand) in May 2008 which featured the top five satellite reggae radio hit 'Good Times In The Dancehall'. 2008 also saw the release of 'Don't Pressurize Me' (7 Arts) Blanco's first single collaboration with producer Dubmatix and in 2009, 'Tuff Dub' (7 Arts) with Citizen Sound (aka Aram Scaram). Blanco is also a featured artist on Citizen Sound's 2010 debut release including co-writing and playing guitar and bass on the summer hit 'Reggae Is Her Name' featuring Blessed.
Prince Blanco was recently awarded a 2010 JUNO (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy Award) for Reggae Recording of the Year along with Dubmatix for their single 'Gonna Be Alright' (7 Arts).
Prince Blanco is the executive producer of 'Shatter The Hotel: A Dub Inspired Tribute To Joe Strummer' compilation album released to coincide with the 30th anniversary of The Clash's 'London Calling' in December 2009. Proceeds from the sale of the album benefit the UK based charity Strummerville: The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music. Blanco along with the Shatter The Hotel project are featured in Don Lett's new documentary 'Strummerville' which premiered at SXSW in 2010. He continues to work closely with the Strummerville charity and a second Shatter The Hotel collection may be in the works for 2011.