Sat | Jan 23, 2021

Young Grammy producer keeps winning

Published:Friday | December 4, 2020 | 12:08 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
 Shane Hoosong (centre)  with recording artistes Ding Dong (left) and Shaggy.
Shane Hoosong (centre) with recording artistes Ding Dong (left) and Shaggy.
The producer and writer says he has spent much of lockdown in the studio.
The producer and writer says he has spent much of lockdown in the studio.
Grammy Award-winning producer Shane Hoosong.
Grammy Award-winning producer Shane Hoosong.

When 44/876, the collaborative album from Shaggy and Sting, won the reggae Grammy in 2018, Shane Hoosong experienced, for the first time, the pleasure of adding three magic words to his name – ‘Grammy Award-winning’. For the young producer, it was thrilling to step up from being Grammy-nominated, which in itself is quite an achievement, into this elite circle. “We won! That was my first nomination and we won,” he said, still excited.

Two years later, with Maxi Priest’s nomination in the Best Reggae category for the album It All Comes Back to Love, Hoosong is reliving what it means to part of a project that has been deemed worthy by the Recording Academy. With his second nomination, Hoosong is not any less enthused, but he manages to remain sober. “I was surprised,” he told The Gleaner calmly. “You just put music out there and hope for the best.”

It was a project on which he and Grammy-winning producer Dwayne Shippy did quite a bit of the production work, and interestingly, it was Shippy who introduced Hoosong to Shaggy in 2015, when he issued an invitation to drop by the studio in New York. The moment Shaggy listened to Hoosong’s music and production, it took off from there. It All Comes Back to Love was special on many levels, not least of all the fact that Hoosong was given the opportunity to work with two titans in the music business at the same time.

“It was pretty awesome and surreal, in a sense, to be working with both Shaggy and Maxi Priest together. Shaggy had the idea for the project and presented it to BMG. He and Maxi did most of the songwriting, and they also voiced collabs,” he said.

admiration society

Multi-talented in the true sense of the word, Hoosong is a producer, writer, musician and deejay; and he also hits the road with Shaggy. “I’m in the band as well, the electronics guys,” he said. He speaks glowingly of Shaggy being an inspiration, and it seems to be a mutual admiration society. “I’m definitely motivated by Shaggy’s strong work ethics. He’s an example of working hard and smart, and still works as if he just got into the music game,” he shared with The Gleaner about the diamond-selling artiste. In an interview with FrontView Magazine, Shaggy was equally complimentary. “Shane’s got a way of putting the right feel and flavour into the production, so that the song hits you right in the chest,” he said.

Little wonder then that Shaggy drew for him for the production of Hot Shot 2020, a reproduction of the classics. And Hoosong is gratified. “Shaggy had a vision and he told me what he was looking for. These are songs that I grew up with, and for me to reimagine them for this generation, it was an honour,” he said. Quizzed if there was any trepidation as he navigated the project, he admitted that initially there was. “But Shaggy trusted me with it. He wanted an essence of the original with a nowadays feel, and when we listened back after all the production work, we were all satisfied,” Hoosong said.

The producer, who emphasises that he is all into music and gets his passion from his father, who he specifically wanted to hail as “my rock and the hardest-working dude I know,” spent much of the lockdown in the studio. “We did most of the Christmas album after we came back from tour. We all took our COVID test and we were all negative. So, we were locked away working on Shaggy’s Christmas in the Islands,” he shared.

Hoosong, who was born in the United States, spent most of his childhood in Jamaica, between Clarendon and Trelawny, and grew up in a musical house with a brother who had a studio. “I became that kid in the neighbourhood who made the beats music,” he recalled. His music is a mix of a wide range of genres, incorporating elements from reggae, dancehall, trap, hip hop, pop, R&B and drum and bass.

The Grammy Award-winning producer is breaking new ground as an innovator in the pop-influenced dancehall and reggae fusion scene and has produced rhythms and songs for artistes such as Estelle, Anthony Hamilton, Vybz Kartel, Popcaan, Spice, Masicka and Romain Virgo. He has production credits on Banana, the viral hit song by Conkorah, featuring Shaggy, which enjoyed six billion TikTok streams and four million on Spotify, and also produced the highly successful Traffic and Dismay ‘riddims’.