It has been a little over a month since Busy Signal has been released from a Federal Prison in the United States. We are here at ‘Big Yard Recording Studio’ as he rehearses for Sting 2012, considered ‘the greatest one night show on earth’. That he is one of the headline acts and a significant part of the show’s promotional activities is indicative of his popularity and huge fan base. Sting 2012 was his first performance in Jamaica in four years and his first performance since returning to home soil. It was also be his only performance over the festive season.
Approaching the end of a gruelling rehearsal, the musicians gather around his manager, Shane Brown’s laptop to watch Busy’s newest video, ‘Bout It’ which was released a few days ago. We take a seat in the rehearsal room and our talk begins.
When we saw you last at your press conference we asked you how many songs were written while you were incarcerated and you indicated that you don’t write songs, but each time that you have a song in mind, you would head for the studio and record it. Have you recorded any of the songs related to that time in your life?
Yea man I recorded a lot of songs explaining the whole situation about my incarceration.
How many songs have you recorded since you have been back home?
Me nuh count them, I just do work. I don’t work off numbers I just work off the vibes at the time. We just take one song at a time and make sure we do something substantial.
I don’t work off numbers I just work off the vibes at the time
You are going to be performing on Sting, the biggest dancehall shows for the Christmas season. How have you been preparing physically and mentally for this?
Well you know it’s just a rehearsal in terms of performance and my appearance and in terms of my whole presence. In terms of doing songs that is not the hard part. The hard part is already gone; God has already set the hard part. I just see light blue skies. Busy Signal see now even when the rain falling and storm a come me just see blue skies.
What are you looking forward to most in terms of your upcoming performance?
Just the whole freedom, the whole aura of me out in the world again right now and cherishing life and the moment. Me long to hear the girls them screaming in my ears temple, these are some of the special thing I look forward to. Me long to hear the youth them a buss blank (showing their appreciation) and enjoying themselves musically where there is no altercation. It’s almost a decade where I have done those shows (Sting) as I really don’t need to, but I need those fans at the end of the day and I am in Jamaica so it’s only right that I do a show in Jamaica. I could have been to different places, in Africa, Europe,Belize. Those people have been calling me.
Busy, you have a very solid management team and support structure, including KD Knight, one of Jamaica’s top lawyers who supported you on your recent case. Your manager Shane Brown is a young and experienced engineer who has worked as an engineer for Shaggy for ten years and has toured extensively with Morgan’s Heritage as an engineer. Your Publicist and personal manager, Pansy Dixon pays close attention to detail on how the brand Busy Signal is portrayed. Carlton Brown one of our top local designers and Robert Livingston, Shaggy’s former manager and Donovan Germain have stayed close to your career. Is there anything that you would like to add about the team that has guided you over the years?
Busy SignalAll I would add is more prayer, more love, more shows, more songs, more work, and more guidance. I got an extended part of the team in terms of younger artiste that I am working with. I would like exposure for them for it to reach the world where people can hear them, the wider part of the world because Jamaica is just a little dot on the map. The World is big and me and my team try to reach into the world some people just think about Jamaica but I try to do music that will take me places globally. I think I have one of the best management team and artiste around me. Musically we not doing nothing wrong but we still need the promotion, exposure and a vast amount of following there are a lot of corporate people who believe in the brand. The real clean youth who still represent for dancehall. We know how dirty dancehall can get and at the same time we walk a line that people can see it as militancy and see it as a discipline upbringing in terms of the lyrical content and how me step and how me flex.
Are their any plans to re-launch or do a tour to promote your last album ‘Reggae Music Again’?
Definitely. Big plans. I am going to do my own Europe and world tour, hopefully we get back our US visa so we can do tours there also,as people have been longing for that for years. I have not done any songs off that album touring wise or performance yet. That album don’t even get to work yet. And we come back and hear all kind of good things happening about the album. I never get discourage and I never get weary, nobody in the world can derail me from how I do music.
What does you schedule look like for next year and what can your fans expect?
The schedule for next year we need some extra book to do the bookings and that is a blessing. We got like thirty seven shows confirmed for Europe alone. Europe loves me and I have to represent for Europe.
The good things you do never get highlighted
During your recent court case one of the things that impressed the judge is your positive track record before this incident and your community involvement with children and the local prison system. Is there any specific charity that you plan to adopt or any specific community?
A lot of things that came up in federal court don’t get highlight in Jamaica, but they were highlighted in America. Me know that it is not Man bless man, a God bless Man. God a God and me just glad a God. Sometimes you do good and nobody see that s….. The good things you do never get highlighted. The politicians are the ones that need to highlight those things as we are doing things that the government should be doing. When I take up my money and give to a school it’s the government that should be doing that. Me nuh own nuh school it’s the government that own school. I would love to own a school or day care, me love kids and always want to know that they are alright.
I support that Shaggy Foundation and what he has been doing for kids at the hospital (Bustamante Children Hospital). I personally go there and I have seen these things but they never highlight these things. But Busy Signal incident was all over the Star (local tabloid newspaper) and the media. If God never work it out this way maybe some parts of the world would have Busy as one of the biggest criminals that link with certain names. Reggae music is Jamaica’s oil so politicians should think about that. We have to cherish it and highlight it. This is no self-praise but Busy Signal should be an ambassador for reggae music and dancehall music but me alone cannot change it but I can do my part. We need help from Politicians not my management team. My management voice is lower than mine and I have been talking for so long, ‘Bounty Killa’ voice louder than mine and it still has not changed anything, Bob Marley represent for both parties and it still has not help but we need it. We have music and politicians have power. It takes the people with power to change things and they have a more powerful say. We stretch out our hands more than politicians. We physically give, politicians verbally give.
This question has nothing to do with the events that transpired over the last six months. Throughout your life if there is one thing that you could change or do differently what would that’s be?
Me is not one of the party going, I stick to my team and try not to go out of bounds. I would spend more time with my kids and my brothers and sister as they don’t live here. I do what the public really don’t expect from a dancehall artiste. I like to do the unexpected. You suppose to a clash lyrically, you supposed to be getting into fights physically, you suppose to a disrespect police and getting arrested if you check the history of dancehall but I am the total opposite. But these things don’t get highlighted. All I want to say is God a God and me glad a God.
By Steve James