Dr Clarke gives in to music
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Cham, Vybz Kartel and others while at Calabar High School, and with legendary reggae music producer Lloyd 'King Jammys' James a relative of his, it would have been unnatural for Nicholas Clarke not to become involved in music.
Even after years of studying medicine to now become a practising medical doctor, there was no way it wasn't going to happen.
For residents of Ocho Rios, especially, it might come as a surprise that the affable Dr Clarke, with his office at Pointe Plaza in the resort town, is the same one who has now launched the Dr Cee label and has recorded the likes of Ninja Man and legendary '70s deejay, Dillinger, among others.
"I grew up around the studios of King Jammys who is a cousin of my mother. Over the years, I've seen them build a lot of rhythms and that has been from the tender age of four years old," Dr Cee told Entertainment Avenue.
"I know Beenie Man from he was just a toddler, also Risto Benji. When Shabba Ranks just came to King Jammys, I met him. Being in the yard of the studio, I've seen all of them come - Super Cat, Ninja Man, Harry Toddler, all of them."
While at Calabar, Clarke was the contact person for artistes whenever the school staged barbecues or other fundraisers.
"The vice-principal would just call me and say, 'Clarke, do what you have to do.' On barbecue days, the place would have more artistes than microphones," Clarke recalled.
"During those days, everybody at Calabar knew that I was the entertainment organiser for the barbecue. I usually go to the different studios - Bobby Digital, King Jammys, Jack Scorpio. Baby Cham was a member of my class from first form to third form; at fourth form, I did the sciences, he did business subjects."
Kartel, the barber
"Vybz Kartel used to trim my hair in high school. His class was next to mine," he added.
"From that time, I usually bring them to King Jammys and we would hang around the studio, especially on a Friday evening."
In addition to the people mentioned previously, Steely and Clevie, one-time studio musicians at Jammys, have had a profound impact on Clarke. He was there when they built many of the hit rhythms that have come from the Waterhouse-based studio.
But those were the good ol' schooldays.
Today, after years of studying at the University of the West Indies, Clarke is a practising physician and surgeon in Ocho Rios.
Now, he plans to get really involved in the music business.
"I always had it in mind to start a label, for many years now," Clarke said. It was King Jammys himself who urged him to finally get involved and who suggested the name for the label, Dr Cee.
Back in the studio
"Last year, I decided to take some time out, a few weeks for my vacation, and that's when I decided to go into the studios again."
Di Lab Records in Exchange, Ocho Rios, is where Clarke has been working from. Collaborating with King Jammys, he has created quite a number of rhythms.
"We have recorded Ninja Man with Bad Man Loving and Trendsetter, and Dillinger with Nuff Gal. There are a lot of other artistes that I plan to put on the rhythm, some of them from Exchange, some of them are patients of mine."
But what can be expected of the Dr Cee label?
The response to the songs on the label will more or less determine its destiny, but given the foundation that Clarke has in the music industry, the label should be a success.
Furthermore, with the desire to expand beyond dancehall and reggae music, the sky might just be the limit for Dr Cee.