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Carnival 2014

Trini shines on Sizzla album

By Leiselle Maraj Tuesday, January 28 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Reggae collaboration: Trinidadian Vychalle Singh, right, with Sizzla whose Grammy nominated reggae album the Messiah he helped produced....
Reggae collaboration: Trinidadian Vychalle Singh, right, with Sizzla whose Grammy nominated reggae album the Messiah he helped produced....

It’s not often a Trinidadian is nominated for a Grammy award but when it happened to Vychalle Singh of 868 Music, rather than shout it from the rooftops, he felt humbled and continued working on his craft.

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held last Sunday and winners were chosen for the 86 awards given out this year for several different genres of music from around the world. Among the nominees announced last December was Jamaican artiste, Sizzla (Miguel Collins) for his 70th album release, The Messiah in the category Best Reggae Album. Multiple producers worked on the album, including Singh, who has known and worked with the artiste for several years.

Speaking with Newsday yesterday, Singh said he has been producing music for over a decade. He currently does work out of Studio Express, Rust Street, Port-of-Spain. The 29-year-old had his start in the field working as a DJ on the night shift at the now defunct 98.9FM while he was preparing for his CXC examination.

“My dad had a DJ console in the house and I was always playing music on it. After exams, I was really interested in music and Jason Williams encouraged me to get deeper into the field than just playing music so I took his advice,” he said.

Singh studied for two years at the Institute of Audio Research in New York and obtained a degree before coming back to Trinidad and Tobago to begin producing. Within a year’s time, he worked with some of the big names in soca including Bunji Garlin (Ian Alvarez), MX Prime (then Maximus Dan, real name Edghill Thomas), Shurwayne Winchester, Mr Slaughter (then Dawg E Slaughter, real name Derek Pereira) and Nadia Batson to name a few.

Around this time, he experienced his first encounter with Sizzla. “We were introduced and he asked me if I made beats and I said yes. After he heard some of them, he was in shock and told me I had real talent,” he said. Three months later, he got a call from the artiste who had returned to Jamaica.

“He calls me on the phone and told me he just finished an album and he wanted me to fly to Jamaica to mix it. I thought it was a joke but he was quite serious and that is the first album I did with him,” Singh said. Since then to now, he has been working with Sizzla, touring with him and engineering and producing some of his work.

Although the eventual Grammy went to Ziggy Marley, Singh said it was an excellent experience being nominated for the award. “I do not feel different about myself. People around me feel different, my mum and sister made big deal but to me it shows hard work really pays off. We didn’t win but it felt like it. It is the most prestigious award in music so to come from Trinidad and to be mentioned is the greatest,” he said.

To the winner, Ziggy, Singh said there were no hard feelings as they all support each other’s music. “The mission is not competition and I wish him all the best. I hope we meet again next year in the same way and maybe that time, we will be the victorious ones,” he said.

Singh said he is constantly working on music with Sizzla and The Messiah came about when the artiste decided he wanted to put together some of his songs to make an album.

“What I did for that album is not any more or less than what I usually put into my music. I put my all and my heart into all of my music.” At present, Singh is working on Sizzla’s follow up album Rub a Dub Style whichwould be available in stores in late July.

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