Wayne Wonder’s No Letting Go – the 2002 hit produced by Steven ‘Lenky’ Marsden on the Diwali riddim – surpassed 100 million streams on Spotify today, (October 9). It’s his first song to hit the milestone.
The story of No Letting Go speaks to Wonder’s pioneering spirit and talents as an artist. When his peers had initially rejected the now iconic Diwali riddim, he recognized the unique opportunity at hand and delivered a tune that showcased his impressive vocals, reflected his feelings for his partner, and simultaneously set the Dancehall ablaze.
“The song was just coming from a personal life experience,” the 51-year-old told DancehallMag in an interveiw last year. “Coming from a special place and special person in my life, so in writing the lyrics, I just switched into that mode.”
“I wrote the song in New York, and told Lenky that I wanted the song to have chord and bridge and when he put it together and we heard it, we knew it was something special.”
Further shedding light on the song’s creation, Wayne explained that its genesis is rooted in a challenge issued by his then-girlfriend, now wife, Jackie. She wanted the singer to do a song about her – not about his typical escapades with other women. It was ‘Challenge accepted!’ for Wonder, who retired to the basement of his Queens, New York home, and got to work.
“It was like magic. It just came out – “Got somebody…” – cause everything ‘bout, I know – “She is a beauty, very special’… ‘you right by my side… night and day…” And in the verse where we say like Keisha and Aneisha, those are real stories,” Wonder, whose real name is Von Wayne Charles, revealed.
No Letting Go ultimately spent eight weeks on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 3, and enjoyed a 31-week run on the US Billboard Hot 100, where it reached No. 11. The song also achieved Top 40 status in multiple countries, including Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany.
It has received Gold certifications in both the United States (2022) and the United Kingdom (2020), signifying sales and streaming of 500,000 and 400,000 units, respectively. “It’s a great feeling,” Wonder told DancehallMag when the song was certified Gold in the US last year. “I always try to do music from a good place. I don’t think about the success to follow, but every artist’s dream is to get stuff like this to show that their hard work has paid off.”
In 2003, the track served as the lead single for Wonder’s 11th studio album, No Holding Back, released under VP Records.
The song was the lead single to Wonder’s 11th studio album under VP Records, titled No Holding Back (2003).
The album, which earned Wayne his only Grammy Award nomination for Best Reggae Album in 2004, included songs such as Bounce Along, Friend Like Me, Glad You Came My Way, Perfect Proposal, Enemies with Supriz, and Saddest Day.
In addition to Lenky, other producers who contributed to the album were Tony “CD” Kelly, Craig “Leftseide” Parks, Mathew “Esco” Thompson, and Donovan Germain.
No Holding Back peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard 200 and No. 40 on the UK Albums chart. It quickly earned a Silver certification in the UK in 2003, after it surpassed 60,000 units sold in the country.
As of March 2023, the album had sold and streamed the equivalent of 471,000 units in the US, Billboard’s sales tracker Luminate told DancehallMag. This included 326,000 copies in pure album sales.