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Story of the Song | Holiday started on a rainy day

Published:Friday | April 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
From left: Craig Jackson, Ding Dong, Chevaughn and Chris Martin in 2010.
From left: Chevaughn, Craig Jackson, Ding Dong and Chris Martin are all dressed at the Palms Casino in New Kingston on March 8, 2010.

'Holiday', the 2009 combination by singer Chevaughn and dancer-turned-deejay Ding Dong, celebrating all breaks from the hum-drum of daily routines, could have been Rainy Day. Chevaughn went to the Notice Productions base off Manning's Hill Road, St Andrew, and heard a beat to which they tried a number of hooks. "The melody was set," Chevaughn said. Since that mid-April day was rainy, among the words they tried out was "rainy day". Once they hit on holiday, though, there was no going any further, Chevaughn singing "it's a holiday". The weather was changed, too, to "it's a sunny day".

The vocals could easily have been done by two others, as Chevaughn who, was a part of C-Sharp Band, had just returned to Jamaica from touring, and was reluctant to do a song which could give his bandmate the impression that he was secretly pursuing a solo career. And while a deejay was always on the cards, someone else was first in line. "The intention was to get a particular deejay," Chevaughn told The Sunday Gleaner. "We reached out to him and he was busy."

As the fortunes of creativity would have it, a project was being wrapped up for Ding Dong, and they went to see him. What had been done on Holiday up to that point was played afterwards and, Chevaughn said, Ding Dong asked "a wha dis oonu a hide from me?" True to the time, he quickly came up with the setting of a cool afternoon.

Still, with Chevaughn's concerns in mind, Craig from Voicemail was among the possible options to song Holiday. A meeting Chevaughn had wanted with his C-Sharp colleagues before pressing ahead did not happen, but all was well even though they first heard the song on radio, Chevaughn saying they told him there is no stifling music.

Things happened fast, with recording sessions at Grafton and Tuff Gong - so fast that the song came out without Chevaughn's name at first. That omission was subsequently corrected. Plus, he was "barely in the video". Before that, though, it was Ding Dong who showed the most confidence in the song for, although Notice Productions and Chevaughn considered it a gem, they were making many songs at the time. However, Chevaughn said, it was Ding Dong who insisted that "this is the song".

He was right. Released in May 2009, when the season of advertising north coast parties like ATI came around, Holiday was used extensively. Chevaughn was abroad and only got reports of the impact. In-between those two summer periods, though, Chevaughn got an indication of the song's strength when he and Ding Dong performed it at the 2001 Shaggy and Friends show. "That was when we said we have an audience apart from the young people," he said.

The most recent performance of Holiday for Chevaughn was a double. He did it alone on Friday night of this year's Rebel Salute, then with Ding Doing the following night. And although there are always requests for another song like Holiday, Chevaughn refuses to force the creativity.

"I don't think they can get another Holiday. It is a one-of-a-kind song," he said, noting that it is not for any season in particular but any break.