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'Our music can survive another 40 years'

Published:Wednesday | April 1, 2015 | 7:32 PMSadeke Brooks
Clive Hunt
Clive Hunt

For decades, music producer Clive Hunt has been arranging songs behind the scenes, but lately, he has come forward as a VP Records-signed producer, working with numerous big names in reggae music.

Recently, Hunt has come to the fore working on albums for the likes of Etana, Jah Cure, Maxi Priest, Beres Hammond and Queen Ifrica, as well as the Destiny movie soundtrack that featured Christopher Martin, Karian Sang, Busy Signal and Etana. Hunt says he is currently working on a Dennis Brown cover album with Maxi Priest, Queen Ifrica, Richie Spice, Ikaya and Dennis Brown's daughter, Marla Brown.

He explained that he is currently signed to VP Records so productions for the record label now take up the majority of his time.

"They have enough work for me that I can work daily. So 90 per cent of the work I mentioned, I was asked to do," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

He, however, noted that he was not restricted by his contract, and as such, is still able to work with acts not signed to VP Records.

"I am very open when it comes to who I work with. If I hear a talent come in I can work with them as long as they have a good attitude," Hunt said. "It is a real pleasure to work with young people and the ones who have talent."

While he is pleased to work with various acts, Hunt also praised his team, stressing that he could not do the work without them.

a lot to offer

However, Hunt - a musician, arranger, composer and producer for more than 40 years - says he believes he still has a lot to offer to the reggae genre.

"Edna (Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts) trains persons but they are not reggae musicians. They don't have any roots teachers," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

"My job is to try to educate the younger players about these things, because I believe our music can survive another 40 years. I don't see why we should let it die. Reggae has been beneficial to Jamaica just as much as, or even more, than the sand and the sun," he says.

better days

But these are much better days for the musician who was once a cocaine addict. In 1980, Hunt's drug nightmare began. He was eventually deported from the United States on drug-related charges in 1987, after making the country his home since the 1970s. After a very long and difficult time, Hunt checked himself into rehab at Patricia House (Richmond Fellowship Jamaica Drug Rehab Centre) in St Andrew in 1991.

While the road has not always been easy for the producer, who studied at the Royal Military School of Music in England, he says he still has a lot more to do in music.

"Since '91 when I left the rehab, I have had five major publishers want to write a book about me. I didn't think I had done enough, but now I think I have done enough," he said, pointing to the fact that his journalist daughter currently has notes that will be part of his book when the time is right.

Going forward, Hunt says the plan is to open his music studio that is being built in Bog Walk, St Catherine. He says the spot was once occupied by his father's Nyahbinghi Church that blew down during Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

"It is in the mountains of Bog Walk. It is like an ecotourism type of vibe. I am building cabins and there is a river down the road and lots of trees. The whole community loves it and I intend to staff it with people from the community," Hunt told The Sunday Gleaner.