Zebra was born Garfield Vassell, son of the singer Dennis Walks in St. Catherine, Linstead, Jamaica 25 years ago and grew up in the areas of Spanish Town, Central Village, Hanover and Montego Bay. He said his inspiration came from listening to his father's music.
When asked about his DJing style being compared to that of Tiger his answer was "In the jungle there is not one animal and my sound is my sound, and Tiger's sound is Tiger's sound 'cause that's what everybody's saying right now. Whenever time they hear Zebra they remember Tiger."
He began DJing back in 1990, performing on Strike Force sound system and his break was with the number one hit "Wey Yuh Run Fa" in 1991.
He said if he hadn't been successful in the music he would have worked for himself probably as a farmer or a comedian. A lot of his spare time is spent reading and he gets his inspiration from things he has read about in books.
Zebra writes all his own lyrics and he also gets many of his ideas for lyrics from being around people, talking and laughing with them. He said he doesn't target a certain market but that "The kids are always my fans they're always around me (asking) "Zebra sing one song for me."
As with many dancehall artists Zebra has worked with many sound systems including Turbo Crown, Dan Reuben, Strike Force, City Rock, Stone Love, Metro Media, Adonai, Black Scorpio, Gemini, Bodyguard and Exodus Nuclear.
Zebra stole the show at Sting '98 with his catchy lyrics and comical antics. The show he said was one of the greatest he had ever performed at was Action held at the Prison Oval in Spanish Town when he performed on the same stage with veterans Brigadier Jerry, Charlie Chaplin, Mumma Nancy and Supercat.
He enjoys travelling, but doesn't have any favourite destination. He just enjoys experiencing different lifestyles.
Zebra has worked with many producers like Prince Jazzbo on the Ujama label, Black Scorpio, King Jammys, Steely & Cleevie, The Mixing Lab, Q45 and Shines. He has many successful hits with these producers with his most well known being "Wey Yuh Run Fa," "Picture Fi Frame" and "Rupert."
When asked about the 'Winner' album that was released in 1999 Zebra said "That album, Prince Jazzbo made that album. I didn't know nothing about that album. All of those works Jazzbo patched them up and build an album out of me. So when I hear I have an album released I was shock 'cause I couldn't release an album like that. It would have been a better album with attitude on it. Those tunes were when I was just making my name."
Zebra departed company with his manager Q45 in a storm of controversy with each of them blaming the other for the split. His cousin, Devon Wheatley, has now taken up Zebra's management.
Zebra obviously enjoys the vibes he receives while performing, grabbing any opportunity to showcase his lyrics. One of the things he doesn't like about dancehall is when people have a disagreement and when they meet up in a dance or stage show, the people openly war and prematurely end the event and this has a negative effect on the music.
The critics said that Zebra was a gimmick and he proved them wrong in 1999. The question is can he continue this trend into 2000?
Zebra's booking agent details are as follows:
220 Marcus Garvey Drive
Tel: (809) 923 93804
(809) 923 58145
Fax: (809) 757 7627