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Morgan Heritage producer eyes the life of an artiste

Published:Sunday | November 6, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

The musical director and keyboard player for Morgan Heritage, producer and singer André 'Drezion' Bailey is exploring the arena of the artiste.

The former Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts (EMC) student explained that music had been a passion of his since growing up and that he listened to a wide variety of older artistes.

"By listening to those guys, it inspired me to become a musician," he said.

Bailey later attended EMC, where he did a degree in jazz, pop and classical music between 2004 and 2007. He said he was supposed to do another two years at the school and was also offered a scholarship to an overseas-based university, but he declined both for an opportunity to tour with Morgan Heritage.

In addition to Morgan Heritage, Drezion also did work with producer Gussie Clarke and made rhythms like 'Playlist' and 'Consuming Fire'. He also did a lot of work with Father Romie and Vybz Kartel. Later, he formed his Tenament Yard record label.

Now, he is the musical director for Morgan Heritage and their solo projects, as well as their keyboard player.

Early interest

With things going well, Bailey said he has made a decision to become an artiste.

"When I was younger, I listened to Bob Marley and Sizzla. Mi start fool around with it and realised that I was good at doing it. But I was more interested in the rhythmic section. From you can play an instrument, singing comes naturally after that because you know keys," Bailey told The Sunday Gleaner, noting that he played drums, guitar and bass guitar before moving on to the keyboard.

Already, he has released a song called My Boo and he is now promoting another track called It Hard Fi Di Poor on his own 'Stampeed' rhythm. Although other songs on the rhythm are scheduled to be released early next year, Mojo Morgan's Changing Of The Guard on the same rhythm has already been released.

While they are somewhat different, Bailey said being a musician and producer helps him as an artiste.

"It helps me a lot because of the knowledge I have in playing and performing music and the skill of reading music, it help me to compose music fast 'cause I know what I want. That's really helps a lot," Bailey told The Sunday Gleaner.

Although he enjoys being an artiste, the musician says he still plans to work with Morgan Heritage. For Bailey, being an artiste will be something temporary.

Opening the door

"It's not really to stay out there as an artiste but to open the door so that other artistes can come from Tenament Yard. I will always be on the producing side," he said.

Meanwhile, after the 'Stampeed' rhythm is fully released, Bailey said a medley video will also be done. This will be followed by Tenament Yard Inna Di Garrison, which is a "compilation of different artistes on different beats." He said the compilation will have genres like jazz, classical, hip-hop and R&B.

"I came up with the idea to fuse reggae music with all genres to make it more universal. It will be great because the world has never seen anything like this before. It's just a mix of everything so people will appreciate it," he said.

Early next year, Bailey said he will also be doing a promotional tour of Europe and Kenya, alongside Teflon. And before taking on duties for members of Morgan Heritage at shows in St Kitts and Guyana later this year, he will be their opening act.