Cocoa Tea was one of the few early dancehall stars to carve out a consistent, productive career as the genre evolved over the years. His cool-toned, laid-back vocals were perfect for sweet, smooth lovers rock, and gave him a distinct identity amid his more aggressive peers. Still, he was also capable of toughening up his sound on his cultural protest material, which was often sharply perceptive. Tea was born Calvin Scott on September 3, 1959, in Rocky Point, a small town in Jamaica's Clarendon parish. He sang in his church and school choirs as a youth, and made his first recordings for producer Willie Francis in 1974 at the mere age of 14; one single, "Searching in the Hills," was released under his given name, but went nowhere. He spent the next few years working as a racehorse jockey, then as a fisherman; during the latter occupation, he began to rediscover his musical ambitions, performing with the traveling sound systems that passed through local dancehalls.