A report by Leighton Levy for Jamaica's Star.
With a new EP due out in early 2017 and other new music on the way, Oneil Peart says he wants fans to get to know him as he pursues a solo career away from No-Maddz.
"I think I'm music. If the fans want to know who I am, listen to the single Romance. That's all me. Listen to Better Mus' Come. That's how I write and the type of music I do," he said.
"That's Oneil Peart, a soul singer. I won't reinvent the wheel, but I can tell you I am new breed of lead singer from Jamaica. I sing and play well. My fans from Rising Stars have asked for this, so I want to give it to them."
For the past 16 years, Peart has been a member of No-Maddz, a Jamaican art collective and reggae group that was founded in 2000.
During those years, the group, comprised of Kingston College old boys Sheldon Shepherd, Christopher Downer, Everaldo 'Evie' Creary, Christopher 'Birdheye' Gordon, and Peart, achieved much success.
Now, Peart says, each member wants to pursue some personal ambitions.
"I don't think I left the group. I think that the group wants a break as different members would like to pursue other things, which is happening currently," he said.
"I just happen to be the musical element of the group, so I have no other choice but to keep doing music. We haven't really sat down said, 'hey let's break this up'. It's more of, 'hey, I want to start doing this,' which is understandable. I carry No-Maddz within me. So I'm always a No-Madd."
That being said, Peart, a 2007 Digicel Rising Stars contestant, is forging ahead with his solo ambitions.
"Right now, the group featured me on its newest single, Unite Us, an initiative that sparked from in the US geared at helping non-profit charities. A new EP is set to come out soon. I'd say spring. Unite Us is one of the first singles. Promises is the next," he said, adding that there are great accompanying videos to come.