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Interview: Busy Signal

Interview: Busy Signal

Interview: Busy Signal

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Dancehall star Busy Signal talks to Davina Morris about avoiding beefs and keeping his daughter away from artists.

The release of Busy Signal’s 2005 hit Step Out– along with the album of the same name that soon followed– marked the emergence of a young deejay who seemed set to make his mark in the business.
Since then, the Jamaican artist who rose to prominence as part of Bounty Killer’s music powerhouse, Alliance, has been busy honing his skills in the studio and on stage. And now he’s back with his sophomore album, Loaded. The lead single Tic Toc has received airplay in all the right places, and Busy Signal is hoping for success.
So what do we need to know about the man behind the music? How does the deejay born Reanno Gordon describe himself?

“Me… I’m all about simplicity to survive,” he says casually. “The music is bigger than me and that’s what carries me through. I’m not into the flossing and the hype and the bling bling. I’m not that kinda yout’. I never think that I’m bigger than the business.”

That level-headed mentality is what kept him out of the dancehall drama that was Bounty Killer vs. Beenie Man. A while back, (like you really need reminding), the deejay pair became embroiled in a lyrical (and lengthy) warfare, which was sparked when Beenie Man began dating– and eventually married– Bounty’s ex, D’Angel.

“I stayed out of all of that by staying focused,” says Busy Signal. “Bounty Killer and Beenie Man did the lyrical warfare and so did Biggie and Tupac. I don’t wanna do that. I listen to the Bounty Killer tunes that suit me, and I listen to the Beenie Man tracks that suit me. They’re both great artists.”

Won’t Bounty Killer take issue with a product of his Alliance crew having good things to say about Beenie Man?

“No man. Bounty Killer likes some Beenie Man songs and Beenie man likes some Bounty Killer songs. At the end of the day, I’m straight Alliance. I’ll be Alliance until my casket closes.”
“But at the same time, you have to give credit where it’s due. Beenie Man is a great performer. Bounty Killer doesn’t deejay the type of tunes that Beenie Man would deejay. They’re just two different artists.”

Keen to make his own name, Busy Signal hopes that the future of dancehall will include greater positive exposure for the genre– and less of a fight from the powers that be in Jamaica.

“Dancehall is probably doing better internationally than it is locally, because at home, we get a lot of resistance where the music is concerned.”
“There are so many curfews back home that mean that dances have to finish early and Jamaica isn’t used to that. But internationally, the music is doing well. It just needs more exposure and more promotion and less of the negative hype.”

He continues: “I could hold a charity event in Jamaica that provides books for the kids and all that kind of thing, and you’ll never hear about that. But if I box a yout’ or shoot somebody, you’ll never hear then end of that. People are trying to kill dancehall by hyping up the negative and hiding the positive. But people will never be able to kill the music. The music is bigger than that.”

Music aside, Busy Signal is also a devoted father. And he’s determined to steer his four-year-old daughter in the right direction.

“Sometimes when I speak to her on the phone, she’ll say, ‘Daddy, I just saw you on the TV!’ I’ll be like, ‘Did you have any homework?’”
“I don’t mind if she wants to get into music, but I don’t want her to grow up being around artists otherwise she’ll be a groupie. I don’t want my daughter to be no groupie.”
“So I don’t bring her to the studio with me or have her around artists. At her tender age, I can’t have her talking about, ‘I know Mavado and Bounty Killer.’ Me nuh want that!”

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