Tue | Sep 22, 2020

Richie Stephens, OMI find the right balance with ‘Don’t Stop’

Published:Thursday | May 14, 2020 | 12:20 AM

Two generations make a seamless connection as singers Richie Stephens and OMI team up for a song, the title of which is an indication that Stephens, in particular, isn’t thinking of quitting any time soon. The feel-good track, Don’t Stop, was released on Monday along with a music video that oozes energy. It sees them throwing down some energetic dance moves with skimpily attired girls, but it is definitely not the usual run-of-the-mill visuals that are populated by a horde of video vixens.

Stephens, whose career is over three decades in the making, is only too appreciative of the balance when doing a collab with a younger act, and he is confident that Don’t Stop is the right mix. “OMI wanted to do a collab with me for a while now, and although I have tracks working on, I didn’t send him anything. But when DJ Frodo, the producer from Poland, sent me this track, it felt right. So although I had already recorded on it, I told them to hold off the production and sent it to OMI. He sent back a bag of fire emojis, and within a day or so, he was at my studio, voicing his part. I sent it back to the producers, and they were impressed and said that they wanted to do a music video right away,” he told The Gleaner.

Stephens urged them to come to Jamaica to shoot it, and they agreed. And as luck would have it, they were able to fly in from Poland, assemble a Jamaican video crew, shoot the video, and fly out just before the coronavirus changed the course of the world. “The song and video are lively and energetic and millennial friendly, as they say,” Stephens said even as he laughed at the idea of a “big ole man like me” appealing to millennials. “But I am just being myself. I am not in any competition, and I’m not trying to be young. If the energy is still there, I have to use it,” he said simply.

The Live Your Life singer admitted to The Gleaner, however, that he experienced a little trepidation when his no-nonsense, medical student daughter called him from Canada this week and asked him quietly to tell her about that song and video. “Well, I told her that I decided to do the collab with OMI and that he is the guy who did Cheerleader and that he is the only Jamaican artiste to have nearly one billion views on YouTube, and he says that I inspired him. I gave her some history because I didn’t know what she was thinking, seeing me in the video with all those girls. When she said, ‘Daddy, this is a brilliant piece of work’, mi heart go boop. I told her thank you,” he related while laughing.

He noted that music mogul Clifton ‘Specialist’ Dillon, who manages OMI’s career, is 100 per cent behind the song, and that, too, gives him a vibe, as Specialist was Stephens’ first manager and one from whom he learnt a lot about the business.

Since its release on Monday, Don’t Stop has reportedly been making many persons pause and take a listen. Stephens is upbeat about the updates from DJ Frodo, who informed him that the song is number one and two at two of the urban pop radio stations in Poland. “At the station that we are at two, we were beaten out of the top spot by the Justin Bieber and Arianna Grande collab, Stuck With You. So we are talking about the song going up against a 20-song chart compiled of music from around the world. That’s a good look,” Stephens said.

And already weaving their way in the mix are dancers who Stephens met in Poland when he did his memorable performance alongside Gentleman in front of 750,000 at the Woodstock Festival. “The dancers have called to say that they are ready to come on stage with me to do the song whenever I have a concert in Poland,” he shared. And that is destined to happen when the world opens up.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com