Saturday, September 20, 2008
Bermuda born dance hall and reggae sensation Collin Harper aka Collie Buddz is taking the dance hall and reggae charts by storm with his monster hits 'Mamacita' ,Blind to you' and Come Around'. His out sold all reggae artist with his self titled album for the first 12 weeks of it's release and was #1 on the billboard top reggae albums. George Otieno had an Exclusive moment with him.
You were born in New Orleans, but you moved to Bermuda as a child. How was growing up in Bermuda, seeing how much of your life was spent there?
Reggae music was always a big apart of my growing up in Bermuda. Anywhere we went as kids we had a session tape or strictly the best album or raga.
Does your background have any dance hall or reggae influence?
Reggae music was the only music I listened too my whole life. It was until recently that I started listening to hip hop but more so only to stay current and update with US industry. And the connection that dancehall, reggae and hip have is amazing.
Most reggae and dancehall musicians have entered the hip-hop and R&B market in America and are making serious collaboration tunes with America's big names. Whom have you worked with?
Many of the big hip hop stars including G-Unit, Paul Wall, Young Buck, Tony Yayo, Bone Thugs, Yung berg, Busta Rhymes, Lil Flip and it has been good experience. The fusion of the music is excellent and the result is new flavor.
And you also worked with Beyonce –where you did the remix of her track, "Ring the Alarm." How did that come about and what do you think of her?
That came about through SONY. I had just been signed and they had a sort of reggae remix to the song so they asked me to sing something on it and I did it. I think Beyonce is the biggest artist in the world right now...she has a great voice and is amazing on stage! She is also very talented and beautiful.
How was it like working with the others?
Wicked man, I must say. Funny thing, I was never in the studio with any of the artists I have collaborations with. But it's a great feeling to have huge artistes like Busta Rhymes and G-unit on the same track with me.
Why did you turn down a deal with Interscope records and instead signed with SONY BMG?
I first met with Interscope before Sony...they never got back to me. Then when Sony wanted to sign me interscope wanted to get in touch. By that time it was too late because I had already built up a relationship with Sony.
Most of your latest songs in your 2007 self titled album say "Come Around','Blind to you', "Mamacita"and "Tomorrow's Another Day" are all straight hits but your album since it's release never did well in terms of sale. What went wrong?
Actually I'm very happy with the way it has sold...I out sold every reggae artist for the first 12 weeks and it was #1 on the billboard top reggae albums. Reggae music never really sells too well so my numbers are actually very impressive for a Reggae album. I think a little more help from Sony could have taken the album further but shit happens.
Do you have a mamacita? Why not?
I got many mamacitas.
In the song 'defend you own', what message are driving home?
That you can't let anybody take what's rightfully yours...nowadays you have to fight to keep whatchu have because there are people that will come snatch it from you. So you have to protect what's yours.
What inspired your 'Collie Buddz' album?
My life's experiences and friends and family
What's your favorite tune on this album and why?
Mamacita because all the girls go crazy whenever that song plays..or while I'm singing that song on stage.
Your style is not the original type of dancehall people are used to. You term it ragga soca. What is it?
I think its pretty close but there is a Bermudian influence. We don't have our own type of music here in Bermuda but I try and mix some of our terms and slang and incorporate it into my songs.
How did the Beenieman/Bounty Killer lyrical wars influence you?
I used to listen a lot of sound clashes. KillamonJaro was my sound back then! And Beenie and Bounty influenced the clashes so much. Session tapes were the best way to stay up to date on new tune back then. But Jaro supported Beenie man and sounds like King Addis supported bounty so when the two sounds met it made it a very interesting clash! Both Bounty and Beenie are incredible artists that have stayed relevant throughout the evolution of dance hall. I got a lot of inspiration from them.
From your website you recall days when you used to trek to Florida for a degree in audio engineering, a path that brought up Bermudian studio. How was your university life like?
The school I attended in Florida was called 'Full Sail'. It was a really great opportunity to learn more about the music from the engineering stand point. They taught me everything from how to Solder Mic cables to Audio post production and ADR (audio dialogue replacement) for movies! I enjoyed University life because I was learning about something that I was very interested in. The best move that I made in my life was to attend university.
Reggae is about conscious messages. Some of your songs can pass out to be controversial. But what controversial message have you ever passed across?
I think the only controversial songs that I do are about Ganja. That's all...maybe 'Wild Out' is a little too explicit for some people but dancehall music has always been that way. It's for fun and controversy and explicit is what defines dancehall music.
What do you hate about politics and what are you trying to do about it?
I don't like the lies...a lot of politicians promise you one thing and then go do another. I just sing music...not much I can really do but keep a positive message in my songs.
Have you ever faced racism in the reggae and dance hall since you're amongst the few white musicians in a genre dominated by blacks?
Yes, I have but not very often and it's not extreme. Being white singing in predominantly black genre of music you tend to get it from time to time. But that's expected and I don't watch it closely. But one thing you shouldn't forget is that there's so much love in our music style.
BRICK N LACE-JAMAICAN DANCEHALL QUEENS Nyanda and Nailah Thourbourne are Jamaican singing sisters who've relocated to America with their dancehall tunes. The single and sexy Jamaican babes Exclusively spoke to George Madiangi about controversies, men and their dreams.
When did you relocate to America and where are you based?
We have a place in Miami but we're in jamaica most of the time at our parent's house. We moved to Miami five years ago.
How was your up bringing in Jamaica like?
It was a simpler life but fun we relied on music as our main source of entertainment. We grew up in a musical family both dad and mom sings and plays the piano and guitar. Of course we enjoyed the natural beauty of our country.
Do you have a ghetto like background?
We grew up in a modest town house in Kingston not in the ghetto but definitely not in the suburbs like some of our friends. All four of us girls (sisters) slept in one room bunk beds became useful.
Your music style is more of dancehall.
This album love is wicked definitely has a lot of reggae/dancehall influence... We call our sound "sexy roots" a fusion of R&B and Jamaican rhythms its a different flavor.
How many copies has your album sold?
We have no update on the numbers.What does the title (Love is wicked mean) mean? it's how u can have the best and worse times with someone....sometimes the same person who breaks your heart is the only person who can heal it....wicked in the literal sense and in the good way. Review columnists have always argued that your album has three good songs while the rest are fillers.
What do you think?
Oh please! We've received very album reviews from several critics in major publications internationally. In fact finding singles has been more difficult because the songs are all good in our opinion. We are so proud of the album in its entirety. We feel it's a solid body of work and our fans feel the same way.
What prompted you to work on this album?
Its always been our dream to make an album...even writing was like 'wow this is actually happening! Life has inspired this album and through traveling and having conversations and healthy debatesabout different things. Most Jamaican musicians get their musical inspirations from the late reggae legend Bob Marley.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Our mom is from new york and our dad is from Jamaica and they both had albums they used to play in our home....the influences have been too wide to name them all .Some of our favorites are Lauryn Hill.Diana King,SWV,TLC. In songs like 'Never Never' you tend to diss men.
Do you have bitter past experiences with the opposite sex?
We're not dissing men...men are dissing women when they throw money at them in the club we wanted address some of these misconceptions like women are actually impressed by this type of behavior.
Hip-hop and R&B are slowly penetrating Jamaica, a land considered a reggae stronghold.Do you think it will out do reggae in terms of massiveness and reception?
Reggae will continue to be the primary music coming out of Jamaica although more diverse artists have been emerging. Sean Kingston and Junior Reid are names associated with hip-hop. What do you think of the two? Junior Reid is a foundation artist a great talent....Sean Kingston is bringing his flavor to the gamewhich is kind of refreshing.
Which big names in America's music industry have you worked with?
Lauryn Hill,Dallas Austin, Tricky stewart.Akon .
Do you have a recording deal?
Yes we do. We are signed to Geffen /universal records and are on Akon's Konvict label as well. We see you with less clothes while performing on stage. Yes, we are bringing sexy and showing our other sweet side.
Your stage presence while performing in Uganda and Tanzania was put to question by entertainment writers and bloggers most recently with many claiming that you don't live up to the expectations and hype and give under par performances.
Those are wrong impressions from people who expect extra-ordinary things just because we are from America.Our fans enjoy us live and we enjoy them....performances always seem short when you cant get enough of it...:)
It's hard to believe that both of you are single when you're sexy and exquisite. How much truth is in there?
It's true that we're indeed single but on the other hand we prefer to keep our private life private...love is important you can't sing about something you know nothing about.
Do you dream of finding the right men to love?
Every other single, straight girl dreams of that. According to you,the right man should be….. Sincere, kind, confident in their own skin, good sense of humor and good looks doesn't hurt but it's more about a certain" je ne sais quoi". Undeniable chemistry...
What do you think of Akon?
Crazy sexy cool....very humble talented, fun we love him.
Talking about loving him, there was this rumor that one of you is dating Akon. Is it true?
That's totally untrue and negative.... How is working under Akon? We work with him not under him...hello! Even though it never feels like work...the vibe is so good he's not egotistical and is like a close friend.
Critics and entertainment writers have pointed out at him being rough. What do you think of him?
Off course not with us...he's actually very respectful of people. He has a very positive energy people like being around him. Lets talk politics.. Obama for President.
Why not Mccain?
Nyanda: Obama represents the new generation and he just rocks.
Nailah: I think he's wicked and he got the policies America needs.
Let's talk about alcohol and ganja. How much do you take?
That's a crazy question but anyway we sometimes drink. We love wine with dinner.....but we don't smoke which people find weird since we're from Jamaica, a land known for ganja .
Both of you are sexy and come across as bodies. How often do you work out?
Regularly, I must say. We need that energy for our performances. Mostly we run around the block.
How do you manage to keep sexy and glamorous while on and off stage?
We're so not glamorous on stage ...we get all sweaty when we get into the music....we like fashion like most women do. It's good to dress it up sometimes but for the better part we're simple girl's jeans and a tank top is what we're most comfortable in.
What success have both of you achieved in music?
We've been topping the charts all over the world....we're enjoying the journey. What do you do for fun? Watch a lot of movies, go to the beach and chillwith friends and family. Finally, how old are you? We are in our 20s….