Collie Buddz Interview
|Label:||Harper Digital LLC|
|Next Project:||Collie Buddz|
|Twitter:||Collie Buddz on Twitter|
|Website:||Collie Buddz's Website|
The Caribbean has long been a destination for people from the U.S. but lately American airwaves have taken on a distinctly island vibe. The latest artist to land on U.S. soil hails from Bermuda, a country smaller than New York City but with a rich musical history. Collie Buddz addictive single Come Around has caught fire and spread around the world, catching the ear of major artists like Beyonce along the way. Fresh off the release of his debut album, the aptly titled Collie Buddz, the pride of Bermuda spoke with DJBooth’s Nathan about his recent success, the misperceptions of reggae artists, and gives out some language lessons.
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Collie Buddz Interview Transcription
DJBooth: What’s up everyone, this is Nathan from DJBooth.net and today we’ve got some island flavor on the show, please welcome Collie Buddz.
Collie Buddz: Ya know, what’s up Nathan?
DJBooth: How you doin man?
Buddz: Everything nice, feelin good.
DJBooth: You’re self-titled album Collie Buddz just dropped, what would it take for this album to be a success?
Buddz: For me it’s already a successful album. Just to have it on the shelves is enough for me.
DJBooth: Your single Come Around blew up, it’s around the world right now, did you see the success coming at all?
Buddz: No, I never saw it coming. I wrote that tune just for Bermuda and I never knew it was going to pop off worldwide. It’s a great feeling. That tune is going all over the world. It’s busting up in Europe, Japan, Australia, here in the U.S. and in the Caribbean. It’s an amazing feelin’ comin’ from such a small island.
DJBooth: What is it about that song you think people connect to and feel?
Buddz: I think there’s a lot of herb smokers.
DJBooth: No doubt, even if they can’t admit it in public.
Buddz: It’s the beat too, big ups to Crown and Kah So Real who produced the record, there’s actually a sample from a Harris tune called “The Last War.” It’s the bass line, it’s a feel good record, even if you don’t smoke weed. It’s a nice vibe.
DJBooth: It seems like it’s a perfect record for a hot summer.
Buddz: For real!
DJBooth: You were born in New Orleans and then grew up in Bermuda. I think people see Bermuda only as a tourist destination, what’s it like to really live there?
Buddz: It’s pretty much no different than any other Caribbean island. We’re really small; there are only 21 square miles and 60,000 people so it’s a tight knit community. Everybody pretty much knows everybody else. It’s beautiful; beautiful beaches, beautiful people. I grew up pretty much in paradise.
DJBooth: Is there a side to Bermuda that people wouldn’t get to see just visiting it or looking at it on commercials?
Buddz: Definitely. There’s parts that you wouldn’t want to go after dark, but that’s like anywhere. I mean tourists see one side of the island but they don’t see the next. That’s the same anywhere.
DJBooth: You got a lot of different styles on the album from soca to reggae to dancehall, how important is it to you to have that kind of musical versatility?
Buddz: It’s fun. I went to school in Florida and they taught Pro Tools and the whole engineering side of things. When I’m in the studio I like to put on two hats at once, the producer hat and the artist hat. When I hear a rhythm I picture a voice on it, it might not be mine, but I picture the whole tune before I even start on it. I like to keep it versatile and keep it interesting. When people buy your record you can’t have the same style all the time, it gets played out. I like to keep the people guessing like ‘what’s he gonna do next?’ That’s basically what I was tryin to do.
DJBooth: Are you like Jay-Z where you have the whole track in your head before you write anything down, or does it take you a little while to work it out?
Buddz: I heard Jay-Z don’t write his lyrics down, I’m basically the same way. Rarely do I ever write the lyrics down. I go over it again and again in my head until I got it down. Sometimes it’s because I ain’t got the paper…
DJBooth: I’m sure you got some papers.
Buddz: (laughs) It’s a good exercise mentally because when I’m on stage I’m never gonna mess up the lyrics because they’re all in my head off the jump. When I sing it again in the booth I don’t have to look at a piece of paper.
DJBooth: One of the tracks that caught my ear is “Defend Your Own,” can you talk about what that song’s about?
Buddz: First of all, it’s produced by Steve McGregor, who’s Freddie McGregor’s son. He’s a really talented youth, he’s only 17 and he’s already produced some of the biggest hits in dancehall and reggae for the past couple years. As soon as I heard the rhythm I said I have to run this. The song [is] about not letting anybody come steal your food. You work hard for what you have and nobody can take that from you. I’m biggin up all the crews in Bermuda. The last verse I’m shouting out every crew from east to west on the island cause I had to give them respect cause that’s where I come from.
DJBooth: There seems to be a real unity and respect vibe on the record.
Buddz: Definitely man.
DJBooth: I think people in the U.S. are inevitably going to compare you to artists like Shaggy and Sean Paul, how are you different than those guys?
Buddz: It don’t take much to separate us, you listen to the music and you’ll figure it out. People compare me to certain artists to feel familiar but there’s no comparison. I don’t sound anything like Sean Paul. I don’t sound anything like Shaggy. I’m not from Jamaica. People out there, I just tell ‘em to judge for themselves. If after you listen to the CD you still compare me to Sean Paul than something’s definitely wrong with you.
DJBooth: I hear people make that comparison but after listening to a track like “Defend Your Own” there’s no way one of these guys would have put something like that out.
Buddz: It’s people who just don’t know that much about reggae music. They compare me to Shaggy and Sean Paul because they don’t listen to reggae music on a regular basis and those are the only two artists they can compare me with.
DJBooth: Is that a challenge for you now that your music is getting played in the U.S.? Trying to break through what people know about reggae?
Buddz: It’s funny because my main concern coming into this thing was building a foundation for the reggae community, people who know reggae. It’s a huge plus that people who don’t listen to reggae and don’t know me are tunin’ in and I appreciate it, but it’s the people that know reggae that are my main concern. My whole goal coming into this thing was to be a respected artist in the reggae community. That was my goal from jump and I’m almost there I think. I got a little more to prove, actually a lot more to prove, but I’m on my way. The people that don’t normally listen to reggae who go out and buy the album I really appreciate that, respect for real.
DJBooth: In regard to people’s perceptions, on the real, people think you’re black and then when they see your video they realize you’re white. Is that a challenge too and something you encounter in the reggae community and abroad?
Buddz: For the people who don’t know reggae music they see I’m white and then suddenly it’s a joke thing. The people who say he don’t know nothing about reggae because he’s white and grew up in Bermuda are ludicrous. It’s something that will never go away and something that I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life as an artist. I’m just going to do what I love to do and that’s it.
DJBooth: Do you feel like you have to come harder and be more authentic to prove to people that you’re real and not a joke?
Buddz: I think I do have to prove myself more than another artist would have to, and I think I’ve done it with this debut album. I definitely need to come harder than other artists.
DJBooth: Just to switch it up a little bit, I really like listening to the record but I’ll be honest, I can’t understand what you’re sayin half the time. Can you do me a favor and teach me and everyone out there how to speak like we’re from Bermuda. How would I say ‘what’s up’ to somebody in Bermuda?
Buddz: You say whan.
Buddz: It’s basically like ‘what’s happenin’ but you say it ‘whan.’
DJBooth: Whan. I don’t think I can pull it off man, I’m from Boston.
Buddz: And in Jamaica you say wa whan, that’s like ‘what’s happening.’
DJBooth: Take us to school a little bit, what are some other phrases you say in Bermuda?
Buddz: If you’re drunk you’re hot, if you’re drunk you’re wide, if you’re drunk you’re wassi, if you’re drunk you’re feelin nice. Bermudans like to drink if you can’t tell. But you have to go there and experience it for yourself, there’s not much I can teach you. It’s funny how close the cultures are, we get a lot of influence from the States. A lot of words in Bermuda come from the States.
DJBooth: I think the language of Bermuda and the islands fits so well in hip-hop because it’s a little wild, it’s all over the place so it sounds good on a hip-hop record especially.
DJBooth: I appreciate you takin’ the time, is there a website or a Myspace page people can hit you up at?
DJBooth: And maybe people will buy a ticket to Bermuda and come see you live over there.
Buddz: That’s what’s up. I’m not there too much because I’m touring the States but when I back it’s on. For the people who haven’t gone you gotta go, its paradise.
DJBooth: It’s good to see you reppin’ Bermuda and good luck with the album and the tour.
Buddz: Thanks man, I appreciate it.