5 Questions With … ‘Bulby’ York
As the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) turns Reggae Month celebrations on to itself for its highly anticipated Honour Awards on February 25, at the Little Theatre, The Gleaner sought out some honourees to put in this spotlight – to take a bow, a trophy and to receive public acknowledgement for their immeasurable contribution to the development of reggae music as a globally relevant phenomenon.
One such honouree is prolific producer and audio engineer, Collin ‘Bulby’ York.
Usually hidden away in studios or sulking in the shadows of ultra VIP lounges around the world, Bulby has shed some shyness to share exactly what has earned him the local industry honour.
“I started working as an engineer since 1989, so I’ve recorded and mixed thousands of songs,” he told The Gleaner. Bulby went on to highlight some of the local and international acts who have enjoyed the benefit of his own aural talent and sonic skills.
Among Bulby’s past clients are Shabba Ranks ( Xtra-Naked, As Raw As Ever, Caan Dun), Super Cat ( Don Dadda, The Struggle Continues, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly), Beres Hammond ( Can’t Stop A Man, A Moment In Time, Music Is Life, Love Has No Boundaries, In Control, Love From A Distance, Sweetness, One Love, One Life, Never Ending), and Sean Paul ( Dutty Rock). Internationally, Bulby has worked with A-list entertainers like Rihanna ( No, No, No), Sinead O’Conner ( Throw Down Your Arms), Madonna ( Give It To Me), and Britney Spears ( Piece Of Me). Buju Banton, Black Uhuru, Beenie Man, Grace Jones, Shaggy, and Micheal Franti are just a few others listed in Bulby’s repertoire.
In this week’s 5 Questions With … feature, get to know a bit more about Bulby York, and the work of an audio engineer:
1. Engineers are not often celebrated, perhaps because the public don’t know what they do. Can you give us a basic explanation for the audio engineer’s role and importance?
An audio engineer role is very diverse. An audio engineer is the foundation of a production or song. We’re there from the demo to the final touches. We set up the bands for recording. We mic the drums, set up keys, set up DI boxes for guitars and bass. And we record the vocals of the artiste. Sometimes we’re actually producing the artiste, because some of the producers aren’t around. And the sound quality of a song is totally dependent on the engineer, either in recording or mixing.
2. You are being honoured for extraordinary impact on reggae at the JaRIA Honour Awards. What does that recognition mean to you? Is it a long time coming?
Being recognised by JaRIA is huge, knowing that my peers appreciate all the works I’ve put in over the years and I wanna keep pushing the envelope.
3. How does ‘dancehall’ fit into Reggae Month?
Dancehall has had a huge impact on the music fraternity and on the culture so dancehall should definitely be celebrated in Reggae Month.
4. Some observers have noted an increase in young, prominent women entertainers. Have you observed the same?
There are a lot of prominent female artistes bussing on scene that I’m cheering for … Lila Ike, Naomi Cowan, Sevana, Marcy Chyn and Deanna.
5. What’s in store for Bulby York in 2020?
This year, I’m working on my third album with a lot of diversity. It’s gonna entail instrumental, dub, Afrobeat, dancehall, reggae and soul jazz.