Sat | Jan 20, 2018

A Teacher’s Reflection on I-Octane

Published:Saturday | May 7, 2016 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell -Livingston
I-Octane and his former teacher, Yvette Gillispie Lewis.

Singjay I-Octane, recently concluded his school tour at his alma mater Garvey Maceo High School.

The minute you entered the grounds you realised that this one was 'special' as his team was greeted by a big welcome with 'then and now' photos of the artiste.

It was also to renew his relationship with one of his favourite teachers, Yvette Gillispie Lewis.

She took time out to chat with The Gleaner on the student she taught business studies for two years.

"I am impressed, I didn't really know he had it (deejaying) in him. He was always so quiet and shy," she reminisced.

According to Lewis, she was strict when it came on to high performance in her class and like the rest of the students, Byiome Muir from 2002 - 2004 came under just as much pressure to maintain the high standards.

She recalled I-Octane throughout the time she interacted with him, being "very respectable, peaceful and continued to be on the shy side."

There were times when she would miss him in class and asked about him, she was always told he was "someplace around", but it was years later she discovered that the 'someplace' was his writing spot where he would often pen lyrics.

"After he left school I didn't hear anything about him. Of course I sometimes heard the name 'I-Octane' but never associated it with Muir," she said.

Everything fell into place when she ran into one of her past students in May Pen who quizzed her on the artiste's music.

She told him she was not familiar with who he was, to which she was told Byiome Muir and I-Octane were one and the same person.

"I then started to make the effort to listen to his music and I realised the quality of his songs really reflected the student I remembered," she said.

Soon after her discovery, I-Octane visited the school and she took the opportunity to extract a promise from him.

"I told him to ensure I can listen to his music, he promised, and up to today I can relate to what he sings. His sound is so unique and I think that it is commendable that he could do that on many scales and show our present students that they can excel, they just have to remain focused," she said beaming with pride.

For the singer - who hugs his past teacher with affection - returning to Garvey Maceo is something special for him.

"It feels good to be taking a positive message to young minds. And to do it at my old school, that gives me a feeling that is out of this world," he said.