Vershon- Interview

Our latest interview features the dancehall superstar Vershon, from his fast breakout in 2014, Vershon has maintained his position as one of the top artists in dancehall, keeping his name at the top of the scene with a seemingly never-ending stream of hot records.

Vershon has continued this success in 2019 with releases ‘On and Off Switch’ and ‘Switcher’ which are two of the hottest dancehall singles in dancehall right now. Vershon has cemented his place in dancehall with his relatable music and doesn’t seem to have plans on leaving this position anytime soon.

Check out our exclusive interview with Vershon below.

When did you first get into making music?

Vershon- ” I got into music at a very tender age, when I was 9, I used to sing in Church and was always encouraged by my teachers and community”

When did you first start recording professionally and who were some of the biggest influences at the start of your career?

Vershon- “I started recording professional at age 17, my main influences were Sanchez, Supercat, U Roy, Vybz Kartel and Beenie Man”

Following your first recordings when did you first start to see your music connecting?

Vershon- “Started with ‘Boom’ which was my first official single produced by Birchill Records, and then just kept growing with singles like ‘Ruff Up The World’ and ‘Inna Real Life'”

Did you expect the success that you had early on in your career?

Vershon- “It was expected, I had been doing music a long time, over the years you start to gain a certain attention to your own music”

How do you think starting at such a young age helped you to develop as an artist?

Vershon- “I definitely learnt a lot over the years, I learnt how to mix my own songs, record my own songs and produce my owns songs. It has definitely been a good thing growing up within music and learning all these different areas”

When did you start to see people internationally paying attention to your music?

Vershon- “When I did the song ‘Inna Real Life’ that really got me on to the international scene”

When you recorded ‘Inna Real Life’ did you sense that it was going to be your breakout single?

Vershon- “I mean it’s music you can expect anything, it can go to world or it could just stay in Jamaica”

Obviously in the last 4 years since the release of your breakout single ‘Inna Real Life’ a lot of things have changed within the music industry with new technology changing the ways fans interact with artists, what have been some of the big changes you have noticed?

Vershon- “A lot of change. Image, performance, how we view music. People want to see the artist, they want to see him in his everyday life and see his lifestyle”

What is your thought process when you are creating a single, do you try to make sure the music is coming from a personal and relatable place?

Vershon- “Most of my music is placed on personal stuff, things that I am going through. I want people to really love my songs because they are relatable”

Have there been personal experiences that have inspired your recent singles like ‘Switcher’ and ‘On and Off Switch’?

Vershon- “I have ‘Switcher’ everyday, like everyday. We all have friends that switch up on us”

Looking forward to the rest of 2019 what are your main aims for this year?

Vershon- “Well in music anything is possible. This year I have changed how I view music, I want to be more positive. I am currently working on an EP and an album. The album is strictly reggae, no dancehall, I have been working on it since last year and produced it by myself alongside a live band”

Interview- Razor B

Razor B has been behind some of the biggest dancehall singles internationally over the past few years with certified smash hits in ‘Hot Up’, ‘Up In Deh’ and ‘Bruk Back’, Razor B has seen performances across the globe and success in almost every imaginable dancehall market.

In this interview we wanted to get a glimpse into the man behind the hit records, as we aimed to break down everything from his origins, to his experiences of living in Canada, to the lessons he has learned in his career and we believe we achieved exactly that in this revealing exclusive interview with one of dancehall’s certified international hit makers.

What are your origins in dancehall and when did you first start recording?

Razor B- “I was born in Jamaica and left in my last year of high school when my family migrated to Canada. I first started writing and recording music in 2000 ”

Which artists had the biggest influence on your early career?

Razor B- “My biggest influences were Bob Marley, Buju Banton, Beres Hammond and Michael Jackson”.

Where did the name Razor B originally come from?

Razor B- “I didn’t have a stage name when I started to DJ in Toronto. My best friends were all DJs. My friend gave me the name because everyone used to say my vocals were sharp like a blade”

Being born in Jamaica and later moving to Canada, how did your experiences effect your career and your outlook on music?

Razor B- “I think living in Canada and travelling had a positive effect on my music and ability to write songs that resonate with a multitude of audiences.

When I decided to transition back to Jamaica, it was to focus on music. I had already built several businesses in Canada and felt comfortable both mentally and financially to really take time out and focus creatively.

Canada is a tough market! It was my training ground. When I got to Jamaica I was ready mentally, lyrically, spiritually and physically”

Obviously over the years you have released a series of big hits in dancehall, which single in particular would you say that the biggest effect on your career?

Razor B- “I would say Bruk Back has had the biggest impact on my career. I actually expected Up In Deh and Hot Up to be the bigger records but you can’t predict when music goes”

With these singles also being big hits internationally has there been countries that your music has reached that you didn’t expect it to travel to?

Razor B- “Yes, 2 actually, Chile and Colombia”

What has been the most important lesson that you have learned in your career?

Razor B- “The most important lesson I have learned in music and in life is not to do business with people who have nothing to lose.

And to surround myself with people who are focused and motivated. Positive energy breeds positive outcomes”

Interview- Poye ‘Buka’ Robinson

For those unfamiliar with the producer Poye ‘Buka’ Robinson prepared to be amazed by both his incredibly inspirational story and also the incredible music that he has produced throughout his career.

Poye Robinson is first and foremost an excellent producer who maintains a strong dedication to promoting conscious, positive music not wanting to spread any negativity in the scene. In 2012 Poye totally lost his sight, but has since maintained his dedication to his producing craft. Against all odds Poye continues to succeed with his recent ‘Reggae Bliss’ Riddim being testament to his hard work and dedication to music throughout his career.

Join us as we discuss everything Poye Robinson in our latest as we breakdown his origins, achievements, goals and much more.

When did you first start to get into music, especially producing music?

Poye Robinson- ” I remember being in the studio and I seeing an artiste try to lay down a track, which they were having difficulty doing. I stepped in and helped to write part of the track and kind of guided what the artiste was doing”

So following your initial experiences in music when did you first start to take it seriously and realise this was going to be your career?

Poye Robinson- “When I was younger I used to run track and field, I reached a point when I had to choose music or track because I couldn’t do both of them. Initially I did choose track and field.

After a severe injury in 2008-2009 I had to end my career in track and field and I choose to pursue music again”

Who were some of your big influences when you first started out producing?

Poye Robinson- “The RnB and Hip Hop market has always inspired me, artists like Ginuwine, Usher, Ja Rule, those types of artists influenced me when I was starting out. Most of the songs I wrote were not reggae songs.

Following the lose of your sight in 2012, how, against all the odds, have you managed to continue make incredible music and what are some of the effects that this has had on your career?

Poye Robinson- “To be honest it has effected me negatively and positively. Everyday things are a lot more difficult if I want to do something, I want to go to a show, I can’t do it immediately I have to plan it out and make sure that someone is accompanying me.

On the positive side it has allowed me to get a foot into the industry and work with some of the biggest names. A lot of people have respect for what I have been able to achieve and want to work with me”

What is the creative process behind your producing and has it changed at all since you lost your sight in 2012?

Poye Robinson- “To start I don’t mix the song. I come into the studio with an idea, I want a riddim to sound a particular way, I go to the engineer and describe to them the feeling I want the riddim to have. The engineer then creates the riddim and I give advice on where on want different sounds, I might say I want a guitar here, I just try to get the idea of what I want to achieve across to the engineer.

If I am producing with live musicians I will try to direct them to how I want the riddim to sound, I might say go faster here or slower.

When the artiste comes to voice the riddim I always want them to keep it clean so after the voicing is complete I will listen with the engineer to make sure the voicing sounds right, I might decide to turn up elements, pull the drums back on certain sections and add instrumentation on others”

What was the aim with your latest project the ‘Reggae Bliss’ Riddim?

Poye Robinson- “I put out this riddim to combat the dark, violent music that is big at the moment. I wanted a happy riddim, a real feel good riddim that felt bubbly. So I came up with the idea for the ‘Reggae Bliss’ Riddim. I decided I wanted something to make people feel good, so I specifically picked a list of artistes I wanted on the riddim. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get voicings from all of the artistes on the original list, but the artistes that were added definitely delivered the feeling I wanted the riddim to have”.

When you got these big names in the industry to voice on the riddim, did you make sure that you were in the building whilst they were recording?

Poye Robinson- “I love to be in the studio when an artist is recording on a riddim, only 2 songs on the ‘Reggae Bliss’ Riddim I wasn’t in the studio when they were recorded which were Queen Ifrica and Luciano’s voicings.

Has the riddim received the reception that you had anticipated and hoped for?

Poye Robinson- “75-80%, I love all 10 songs on the riddim, the Queen Ifrica, Junior Kelly, Duane Stephenson, Richie Spice and a little bit the Luciano track are all hot songs right now, I would have hoped that the whole riddim would have been as successful as these track have been individually”.

Looking towards your next project is it going to be something similar to the ‘Reggae Bliss’ Riddim?

Poye Robinson- “Not necessarily a similar project, I always like doing spontaneous projects. I have a riddim coming at the end of April, which is a mix of genres, it’s not entirely reggae, it has an Indian style to it, especially some of the flute aspects”

Interview- Kananga

Last week we had the opportunity of having a conversation with Kananga; to discuss his career, recent releases, inspirations and his aims for 2019. Kananga looks set to continue to push his vibrant sound to a wider audience, burst into the spot light and show the world exactly what ‘The Congo Bongo’ has to offer.

Check out our discussion with Kananga below.

When did you first start your career in music?

Kananga- “I starting recording in 2001-2002, I have always put the work into my music from the beginning and I think that shows in my latest releases”

What artists and music really inspired you when you first started recording music?

Kananga- “Well I sing Reggae music, reggae music is what has really inspired me. It has put the mark on Kananga, the messages it delivers, the message of the youths suffering”

Who were some the artists in particular that inspired you at the beginning of your career?

Kananga- “Nuff inspiration, coming from St Mary local artistes, Cutty Ranks, Josey Wales, whole heap of stars. They have all had a little touch of influence on my career”.

What has been the biggest change for you since the beginning of your career?

Kananga- “The biggest change has been the experience I have gained performing wise”

In terms of the music industry as whole, how have you had to adapt since you started out in music in 2001?

Kananga- “There’s a bigger crowd to view your work, we never has social media before, never had internet access and email, it makes it easier to get your music out into the world”

“It’s been very good to see the change, people hear your songs and are now able to easily put a face to the music”

Where have been some of the places that you have seen support from that perhaps you wouldn’t have expected?

Kananga- “My music go allover, it has taken me to whole heap of places”

Looking forward to the rest of 2019 what are some of your big aims for this year?

Kananga- “Continue on the road, work harder and sharper to get ready to move on to different things”

Do you have any big projects that you are looking to release in 2019?

Kananga- “I am currently working on an album. I don’t want to rush it, it needs to be fully loaded, ready to explode, which will take time to build”

What would you say to people reading this to summarise you as an artist?

Kananga- “Kananga is an artiste that stays true to himself, I want to make music that represents me”

Interview- NeeQah

In our latest interview, we had the pleasure of talking with ‘Ms Melanin’ herself, NeeQah. As we broke down her incredibly powerful single ‘Ms Melanin’, breaking down the message behind the track and her aims to promote body positivity through it’s video and resulting challenge.

When did your interest in pursuing a career in music begin?

NeeQah- “I’ve been interested in music forever. At first I started out dancing. In 2015 I decided that I wanted to do music so I went for it. That decision definitely opened a lot of doors for me”.

When you started out in music who were your main inspirations?

NeeQah- “Diana King is my aunt, so to see her come from Spanish Town with clean and positive music definitely inspired me. Lady Saw and Tanya Stephens are also big inspirations for me, I had a mix of inspirations, so I can go slack and can go positive”

What inspired you to record a single like ‘Ms. Melanin’ that has such a strong and powerful message that is connecting with people across the world?

NeeQah- “I had the idea from January last year, at the time I didn’t know how to bring it across. I knew I had to go for a slow tempo and really let the feel good message of the track come across.

In the summer I decided to voice the single, as soon as I had finished it’s production I decided to drop it.

For me the track spoke to the issues I had dealt with coming from a light skinned family, I was the darkest girl, I love my dark skin and I wanted people to feel the same way about themselves.

How did the remix with Charly Black come about?

NeeQah- “He reached out to me, we are good friends, we spoke and he said he had a dream that he remixed my song, so he invited me to Ochi with my engineer to record the remix”. 

One of the most impactful elements of the release of ‘Ms Melanin’ was definitely the video, what was the process behind the video?

NeeQah- “Early on I decided that I had to shoot a video for this song, I saved an arm and a leg for the video.

The actual shoot was a stressful day, I had scheduled a 1pm start, thinking that the actual video shoot would start at 5pm. The makeup artists arrived late, the females had to get ready. The whole time heading up to Cane River Falls it was raining, I was praying the whole time that it would stop.

As soon as when parked the rain stopped. When we got to the entrance, we had to pay to shoot the video, which I wasn’t expecting. By the time we were at the falls we had 30 minutes before the sun went down. When we started recording I just made sure I was being recorded with the girls in the background”.

What was initial reception to the video like?

NeeQah- “I received the most messages I have ever received, girls were messaging me saying that ‘Ms Melanin’ had given them confidence, even mother’s with their daughters were messaging me saying that they had made ‘Ms Melanin’ part of their morning routine”

One of the most impactful parts of the video for ‘Ms Melanin’ is the ending in the white room with the women in the video talking about their own personal experiences of colourism. What was the original concept behind this part of the video and was it something that you went into the video having already thought of?

NeeQah- “It was a big focus of the video, I made sure that no one had makeup on. I just wanted them to share their own experiences, I told them to say whatever they wanted to say. I didn’t know any of them personally, I just wanted everyone to showcase their own experiences”

Following the release of the video you also promoted the ‘Ms Melanin’ challenge, what was the idea behind the challenge?

NeeQah- “My main idea with the challenge is to preach confidence. Send me across a video without makeup without filter, just be you.

Have you been surprised by some of the people that have supported ‘Ms Melanin’?

NeeQah- “Honesty I have. A lot of female artistes that haven’t supported me previously have supported ‘Ms Melanin’

What impact do you hope ‘Ms Melanin’ has in Jamaica?

NeeQah- “I really feel like Jamaicans are the biggest racist people to themselves. Bleaching is popular, people will say things like you are “black like tar”.

I wanted to make the movement behind ‘Ms Melanin’ irresistible something that everyone would look at and give positive feedback”

Following the release of ‘Ms Melanin’, what are your aims for 2019?

NeeQah- “My big aim is to make material that isn’t easily consumed, meaning music that lasts for generations to come.

I did an EP last year on the more raunchy side, which now I don’t think I should’ve ever done. For a while I had writers block, I didn’t know what type of music I wanted to pursue, I didn’t want to do videos, so I decided to record “for the moment” music.