The music video for Tarrus Riley’s 2006 hit She’s Royal crossed 100 million views on YouTube on Wednesday (July 19).
The visuals, which featured Riley serenading his Caribbean Queen, were directed by Rupert Campbell and Richard Delapenha.
The song was produced by legendary saxophonist Dean Fraser for Riley’s Parables album on VP Records.
“[She’s Royal] came about as a self-esteem booster. At the time, I knew some girls who needed a confidence boost. I wanted women to feel confident about themselves,” Tarrus had told the Jamaica Observer.
In another interview, he disclosed that the song was a “reality song.”
“I wrote the song just to let women feel nice,” he told unitedreggae.com. “Because… we must talk ‘bout slavery [and] a lot of conditioning from slavery still resonates today and the women still lack self-esteem. They need some music to make them feel good so I thought ‘Let me sing a song to big up the girls and say she’s a queen and she’s royal.”
The singer also revealed that his identity as a Rastafarian factored into the song’s creation: “As a Rasta you have to look to yourself as kings and princes, and because a prince must have a princess and a king have a queen… this is a song that makes the woman feel nice. Because if a woman feels nice, the youth feel nice.”
The song almost had a different name – a story Riley shared with the Sunday Gleaner. While waiting out hurricane Emily back in 2005 at a friend’s house, the singer, who also bears the nickname ‘Singy Singy’, shared an early version of the song’s chorus with his friend, and revealed his initial name for the song – She’s Got It’
“She’s got what?” the friend asked him. According to Riley, the question drove him to consider what he actually wanted to say.
She’s Royal is Riley’s most streamed song on Spotify, currently at 33 million plays. It is followed by Superman, at 20 million plays, and Lighter with Shenseea, at 17 million plays.
Powerful, his collab with Major Lazer and Ellie Goulding, has over 280 million plays on Spotify.
“We want the woman queen up and look up. We want them be positive,” he responded. That’s when it hit him. “Alright, ‘She’s Royal’.”
The song was tweaked to reflect the sentiments of the newfound title, and Riley ultimately moved forward with the version music lovers have come to know and love today.