Published on May 6th, 2020 | by MuzikScribe0
Catching Up With Edley Shine Formerly Of Born Jamericans
Now let’s hop right into your latest single / video “Babylon Breeze” — Tell me about this particular composition? How did it come to fruition?
The song came together a couple years back when Roe Summerz, a producers from Jamaica, was working at Shinealous Studios. He had been producing for a lot of the hottest artists in Jamaica, and left a folder of beats on my studio computer. One night I was going through the beats and heard this soulful boom-bap beat for “Babylon Breeze.” I immediately saved it to a folder called Chu Fi Voice. Couple weeks later, I loaded the Riddim in Pro Tools and 30 minutes later I had the foundation for what is now the single. I sent it to Roe, who was back in JA, and he did the arrangements and added a young singer by the name of Kyd to do the harmonies. I love (how) it came together, and I knew it would resonate with my core fan-base.
“Babylon Breeze” comes courtesy of your exceedingly overdue, still untitled / forthcoming debut solo collection — First things first, why such a lengthy delay between projects?
See my process for making music is very personal to me; meaning my songs are my children and I want the best for them. When my group disbanded in ’98 and I was left to be forgotten, I know that feeling of having all doors closed. No producer would voice me or give me Riddims, and I was released from the label. I spent years trying to gain back some footing in the industry to no avail. So, I develop the mindset of self-reliance and not being co-dependent on anyone or any situation. I needed a way to fund and fuel my passion of making music. I wanted to be able to shoot my own videos and market myself independently of any corporate structure. I’ve built studios and lost them to floods, and been through every emotion you can think of to make the music you hear. Now that I am on the other side of that journey, I’m finally prepared to present a product of my own making…of course there is a team of people who helped along the way, but I am the driving force of what you hear anytime you see product from me, and it takes time and a lot of patience.
And, what all exactly can be expected from your eagerly awaited premiere solo outing?
Really and truly, my only point to this project is to have a body of work that showcases my talent. People tend to typecast you when you have been in a group. The industry picks its favorites, and what they deem more marketable. But I see a lot of marketable acts in music that can’t sell water to a whale, so it’s all based on talent. Along with that comes hard work, staying in people’s face and having consistent quality.
How then does this new solo entry either differ and / or compare to previous Edley Shine works?
Anyone that knows me or follows what I have done over the years can never question my penmanship and quality products. I’m just not the popular guy in the high school as an individual yet. But that’s not my goal; this music and its diverse approach will show the blueprint of what people loved from me back in the day. It’s just me finally taking my credit.
All of that being said, what all had / have you been up to, both personally and professionally speaking, over the course of the past twenty plus years?
I work in IT and it has sustained me and family since the music industry turned its back on me. If you are a DJ then you are familiar with ReFix Kingz, which consists of producer DJ JButtah from Virginia; together we have done Dancehall remixes for a lot of Top 40 radio hits, and carved out a huge fan-base amongst the DJ’s worldwide. I continue to write and voice songs in my home studio, and have been active on the Cali Roots scene…so look out for that work to be released in the future.
Switching gears here, how has not only the industry itself, but even more-so you as an individual, either changed and / or evolved since your whole inception into music?
I think it’s made things a lot easier with technology to make the music and release music. But the digital space has allowed the corporations to still steer the narrative with these streaming services and playlists. It’s still a cat and mouse game of popularity, numbers and gimmicks, that drives the most popular artists you see today.
Longevity, what do you attribute yours to?
You really have to believe in yourself and be self-motivated. Right now, everyone is an artist and swears they have the best music, but do you have the best marketing, the best attitude when dealing with people or the best intention, when making your art. If you doing it solely just to make money and get out of a life crunch, quit, you will be disappointed; you’re just food for the beast.
What do you want people to get from your music?
Of course, I want to feel like they are listening to good music. The music is my life and where I am mentally, I am no longer the teenager running around the world trying to tell them how great Reggae, Hip-Hop and Dancehall is. I am now a grown family man facing my mortality and yearning for the world to acknowledge that I am not the one trick pony group member, but a multifaceted songwriter and businessman who has and continues to contribute to our style of song making.
Is there a hidden meaning / message in any of your music?
I would not say it is hidden, but I will say the takeaway from my music is that music encompasses many things and many cultures…so be who you are, don’t hide behind the veil of corporate marketing just to make a buck; stay true to yourself and make art.
As a songwriter, where do you actually draw inspiration from?
My life is my inspiration. And the culture of Jamaican Reggae / Dancehall, American Hip-Hop Soul and the stories of their creators inspires me everyday. I would also add my family inspires me to keep going and never let anyone cow down your will to make art. Please explain your overall creative process… It comes from many places; movies, I could be out having a convo and hear someone say something and it will spark a theme for a song. I am a student and fan of music. I used to love to read album credits and see all the information, and then put that in my music as well. I used to write a lot, but now I just vibe my lyrics and go with what feels good to me. If you listen to my early works, I was baring up those Riddims; now I’m giving more style, melodies and putting the medicine in the candy.
Do you have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs; my grandmother used to be a food vendor in the streets of Kingston and came to own one of the first major Caribbean restaurants in the DMV. My father owned one of the premiere record shops in Maryland back in the days; he helped bust Dancehall on the East Coast. My dream is to have my own studio and label independently, and give artists an easy outlet to record, film videos and market their music to the influencers of the industry; not just post it on Instagram and Facebook.
What has been your greatest career achievement(s), at least thus far anyway?
Creating my own solo work on my own. And recording with Stevie Wonder tops the list.
What’s an average day like for you?
Live, breath and work on music 24/7. I also have a day job in IT and a family, so my days are 30 hours most times.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
I am very active on social media. I respond and reply to fans, and on my Facebook you can catch my ‘Dear Artist’ rants. I speak my mind on Facebook and love verbal jousting, ’cause everyone’s an intellectual and critic.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? Why?
Favorite part (is) creating something and people identifying with (it,) “Oh, it’s a good song!” I keep hearing, “‘Babylon Breeze’ is so catchy I find myself singing it around the house.” That’s what artists do it for; that energy. Least favorite for music, it can be disheartening at times; people love to tear you down, and it’s up to you to stay focused ’cause you’re only one song away from being their favorite.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Do music for the passion and art. If you think it will save your life and that’s the driving force, only 1% out of 100% make it to any level of stardom. Have a plan and stick to it.
Ultimately, what caused Born Jamericans to disband? And, any chance of a reunion either on stage and / or wax?
It’s a combination of industry politricks, growing apart and the nature of every group; they will ultimately disband. We have done a few reunion shows; the last one was headlining the biggest outdoor festival in Bogota, Colombia, Hip Hop al Parque. The show can be found online. Not sure what the future holds as far as group endeavors, but you will see a lot of Edley Shine #DABIGVOICE moving forward.
And, lastly, what’s next for Da Big Voice?
More music, more collabs and just continuing to add to my musical legacy.
Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?
Pretty much covers it.
Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Just want to big up all supports of this Jamerican multi-culture movement, and those that have supported me all these years. Much love & respect #DABIGVOICE
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