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Wayne Wonder's Unplanned Hit

Wayne Wonder's Unplanned Hit

Wayne Wonder's Unplanned Hit

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"I feel like a new person, I'm more energized, more motivated, knowing I have control of what I sing, what I release"


Wayne Wonder

On a typically beautiful south Florida winter day, I was having a nice chat with Wayne Wonder in his home studio, when he suddenly remembered it was time to pick his son up from nursery school. That actually worked well for me because I'd left the list of questions I wanted to ask him out in my car and was too embarrassed to admit it. So I went outside after he left and thought, whoa, did someone in the parking lot at yoga class hit my car? Bummer. And me with only PIP. I hadn't noticed it before but I tend to be in my own world most of the time. As I was going back inside I saw Wayne's wife Jacqueline on the phone, frowning and looking at me a little strangely. It was Wayne on the phone telling her that in his rush to pick up their son on time he forgot I was parked in their driveway and rammed my lowly little Toyota with his big tall Escalade. Not the ideal conditions for an interview but at least it wasn't some poor struggling artist who didn't have insurance or the money to pay for the repair who'd done it.

While Wayne was gone, Jackie showed me photos of their stunningly beautiful wedding eight years ago (although they've been together for 22). There was Tony "CD" Kelly, still slim and trim, and John John with little baby dreads, all cruising up the Hudson River at the reception. Wayne WonderWhen Wayne returned he played me Flava McGregor's posted online telephone conversations with Chris Chin, quite entertaining if a little bizarre, and I asked him about his involvement with the Before the Dawn Concert for Buju Banton the previous week. I didn’t realize it was Wayne who was Buju’s mentor of sorts, bringing him to the attention of Penthouse Records all those many years ago. We also touched on his upcoming Valentine's Day show with Sanchez at Club Revolution in Fort Lauderdale. Lovers’ rock for a lovers’ holiday, can't get much sweeter than that! The discussion stopped for a quick sing-along from aforementioned son Devon, who has evidently inherited his father's vocal talents and love of performance – is this another reggae dynasty in the making? There was yet another surprise in store for me that day when he told me deejay Surprize is actually his own alter ego. Said Wayne, “Sometimes the creative juices get flowing so strong I can’t do it all myself so I sing and Surprize DJs.” Might as well keep it all in the family, I guess. 

Finally we got a little more serious as I asked him how it felt to be out on his own after years with VP and his response was very similar to the one Sanchez had given to me a few months earlier. "I feel like a new person, I'm more energized, more motivated, knowing I have control of what I sing, what I release. Before, I felt like going to the studio was just a job I had to do, a certain number of tracks I had to deliver to the label." He acknowledged that the artist has to wear a few more hats when he releases independently but Wayne seems to have the networking and independent promotion thing down pat, as evidenced by the #4 debut of his latest EP, 'If I Ever', on iTunes. You can catch the video for the title song, filmed partially in his own backyard, below (at last count there were 10 unofficial versions up on youtube in addition to the official one, totaling over 50,000 hits) until it reaches the major music networks. Then we agreed that ‘if we ever’ do another interview we’ll do it on Skype or by email as we had originally planned.

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