Bahamen Featured in Huge Walmart Promotion
By Felicity Ingraham
Sep 11, 2015 - 11:02:37 AM
Bahamen members autograph the front cover of their new album Ride With Me at Superclubs Breezes. Photo by: Tim Clarke
Attention, Walmart shoppers! Get ready to see the new Bahamen album stocked on the shelves, already autographed!
A special promotion headed by Bahamen's Sony label gifts the first 5,000 Walmart customers who purchase the new album"Ride With Me", a copy already autographed by members of Bahamen.
The album release through Walmart is set for September 26th. Two pre-released singles from the album did well from the start. Night and Day, the first song on the album, is featured on the FIFA World Cup album as a Carnival mix, and shares a spot with songs from the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Ricky Martin and The Isley Brothers. The latest single release, Off the Leash, is a hot dance tune that honors 15 years since the release of Bahamen's Grammy Award-winning song Who Let the Dogs Out. The anniversary tune mixes Junkanoo with a steel pan and house beat groove that seems to make even the most reserved listeners start tapping their feet and bobbing their heads.
Producer and vocalist Rik Carey sits opposite Ivan Prosper, Leroy Butler and band leader Isiah Taylor (l-r) as they autograph their special edition albums for Walmart. Photo by: Tim Clarke
Isiah Taylor has been leading Bahamen for decades, through its many stages and changes, and has kept the band current and relevant to listeners of all ages. The quiet, often reserved Taylor plays his bass guitar as he has done since the age of 21, but behind that quiet demeanor is passion and purpose. Taylor says "God alone" gave him the talent and the calling to take the people of his country to the international stage through the thing he loves best - music. Long before he actually picked up an instrument, Taylor says he can remember dreaming of doing exactly what he is doing when he was a child. It's this kind of passion he encourages children to follow.
Ride With Me was produced by Black Shadow Records, a South Florida production house which turned out several hits for artists including Shaggy, Rupee and Kevin Little. Black Shadow's Troyton Rami took pride in working with Bahamen on the project, as his mother is a Bahamian and his father is a Jamaican. Fellow producer and one of Bahamen's lead vocalists Rik Carey said it was a great experience working with Rami, whom he said also learned a lot because of the experience with which Bahamen came.
In an industry which is stifled by lack of governmental support and a small marketplace, Carey says aspiring producers in The Bahamas should never give up the craft. He recalls starting out the same way many young men in school are doing right now - playing around with free software and rap beats, getting his feet wet. For him, those who saw his talent started showing support, which allowed him to continue to hone his craft. Working on jingles and advertisements, as well as working with aspiring artists helped him to gain the experience he needed. He can never forget working with the likes of Bahamian artists Sosa and Tada and gaining valuable experience during his summer stint at The Counsellors. Today, he is multi-talented - not only enjoying the world of producing, but crossing over to an artist doing stage performances and recordings.
(l-r) Jeffrey Chea, Dyson Knight and Anthony "Monks" Flowers take a moment to smile for the camera during a busy day of signing 5,000 album covers. Photo by: Tim Clarke
Neil Symonette and Colyn McDonald were responsible for the tracking on Bahamen's latest album. Dyson Knight and Leroy Butler shared lead vocals with Carey. Ivan Prosper played drums, while Pat Carey held guitar and Jawara Adams played trumpet.
Jeffrey Chea, a long-standing band member, played keys for Ride With Me. For him, one of the greatest highlights of being in Bahamen is winning the Grammy award. He noted that for a musician, winning the Grammy is something money could not buy. He chuckled as he recalled that two band members were not there to run up on stage and share in the glory when Bahamen's name was called. They were actually at McDonald's on a lunch break. The joke continued as he recalled how Taylor bet all of them that they would win the Grammy - all of them had to end up paying him that glorious day.
Anthony "Monks" Flowers joined the group many years ago, when the members were: Taylor; Chea; Fred Ferguson; Mo Grant; Herchell Small and Nehemiah Heild. He joined on the suggestion of Chea, who had played with him in the group "Snapshot" which performed at the "On Stage" event which used to be hosted at The Palace nightclub. His work can also be heard on popular T-Connection tracks. As a percussionist, Monks says his instruments are his "toys", and that allows him to always take joy in performing.
Knight says this latest album was a labor of love for the group. Signing 5,000 autographs may be a lot of work, but its nothing compared to the effort they put in to complete this labor of love, he says. They want to show the Bahamian public that the band "really loves them", he said.
Bahamen has several shows lined up following the Walmart release, and the public can expect to hear of more promotions for the new album in the near future.
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