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Bravo - from cricketer to DJ and back again (Windies star speaks of his love for the game and for dancehall)

Published:Sunday | November 3, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Beenie Man

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Studio sessions, music videos with top dancehall acts and radio-friendly singles are hardly things you would associate with an international cricketer.

While he is the first to admit that he is probably not dancehall's next cult-like hero, it seems that superstar West Indies one-day cricket captain Dwayne Bravo is a true all-rounder.

The hotshot cricketer and self-professed dancehall fan is playing his shots outside the cricketing ovals around the world, maximising on his immense marketability and chasing his childhood dream of rocking crowds with a microphone as opposed to Kookaburra bats and red or white Duke cricket balls.

Bravo is one of the regional team's biggest names and is a major drawing card in the cash-rich Indian Premier League, where he plays for the Chennai Super Kings.

However, the 30-year-old has been showing his versatility in the recording booth after teaming up with his good friend and dancehall luminary Beenie Man to record and shoot a video for the single Beenie Man and Bravo.

The song seems to be doing fairly well particularly in Bravo's home territory Trinidad and Tobago, where the pair have made several appearances together to promote the effort.

The soca-driven Bad Man Soca followed by a solo soca effort recorded in New York and fourth recording done in the Indian language, Tamil, complete the cricketer's repertoire.

Perhaps thankfully, Bravo is not quite ready to swap his current tools of trade for a career in music, but it's still not easy to see how this unlikely match was made.

Life after cricket

"You never know how things will go, there is life after cricket. I am enjoying my cricket at the moment; it's my life and dream; what I always wanted to do, represent my country and the people of the Caribbean," Bravo told The Sunday Gleaner during a recent team-building exercise in Florida ahead of their tour to India.

"I am lucky enough to do that. Because of cricket I became a household name worldwide, met a lot of people, and one of the persons I have always wanted to meet as a kid growing up was Moses Davies - Beenie Man," he said.

"We became very good friends and we were having a friendly chat and I said to him, 'Well you cannot be my best friend and we don't do this. You are the king of the dancehall, you know I love music. I can't really sing but I would love to do a song with you.

"He said 'No problem with that'. We went into the studio and the song was made," Bravo said, reliving the experience.

It wasn't long before he realised singing in the shower was a lot different from actually recording a song.

"It was very difficult at first, I must say, and I have to give credit to all the artistes because recording a song is not easy; I guess everyone has their own talents," Bravo laughed.

"It was my first time in the studio, first time recording a song. Like most people, most time. I sing in the bathroom, or something like that.

"He (Beenie Man) made me look like a singer though, he was very helpful and made it much easier for me."

Still, some of his teammates aren't too convinced.

Thrill fans

"Yes, my teammates give me a lot of pressure, they give me a hard time. Look, I am not a singer, I was not born to sing. I was born to play cricket, but I have four songs so I can't be that bad," Bravo said in his defence.

You will probably hear a lot worse than the Windies star.

The cricketer is not expecting to leave the sport anytime soon, and while he continues to thrill fans around the world, it's clear what's on his iPod - Beenie Man; though 'The Doctor' is not the only dancehall standout to have impressed the Trinidadian.

"On my iPod there is mainly Beenie Man, but I do have some mixtures. I am a big dancehall fan, so I have some Konshens on there as well," said Bravo, rocking his head, as if replaying a song in his mind.

"He is doing well at the moment."

"He (Konshens) is a man that sings for the ladies, and any artiste that sings for the ladies, I gravitate towards them."

"I can't leave out 'The Teacher', Vybz Kartel, even though he is inside doing his thing, but I have respect for him," Bravo added.

"Aidonia, I am a big fan of him, and he is also into cricket, so a couple of times I buck him up at cricket and we reason and stuff. But number one, two and three is Beenie Man, and the rest come after."

For now, the cricketer is fully focused on his duties against India in a two-Test, three one-day international series. Perhaps in the distant future, Bravo's innings will take him off the square and on to the stage.