band believes versatility is
needed to survive in industry
by Kimberley Cummins
Strategy The Band is much more than just a group of talented musicians and singers; its a band with endless possibilities and a strategy to ensure the viability of each member.
Led by vocalist Kirk Brown, the band boasts of a cast of highly praised musicians such as: Marlon Brathwaite on keyboards and vocals, Michael Knight on drum machine and keyboards, bassist Damien Neblett, drummer Dwight Callender and Reyshad Selman on guitar, who produced quality music with an international appeal.
They have backed artists like Soca Queen Alison Hinds and have been the backing band at events such as the Digicel Reggae Festival Bajan Night last year, the Barbados Music Awards also in 2011, the 2012 Bajan Reggae Night, Celebration Time calypso tents Old Hype vs New Hype last Crop-Over season, and the recently held FOROMIC XV Oistins Comes to Ilaro Court event.
Seven years ago, they were first heard performing at the former West Coast club Baku, but soon established themselves as a favourite with performances at the Ship Inn. While the group is still very much together as a unit, they have decided to market themselves differently to guarantee that everyone “eats”.
Browne told Barbados TODAY that his vision for the band was not to market it as a Morgan Heritage type outfit since such a band was not viable in Barbados and “the world does not really check for bands like the Caribbean would” they have decided that anyone with interest to hire the band could book the band as individuals, as a backing band or the band as a whole.
“To survive in the industry and in the world of entertainment one must be versatile and adapt with the times,” he said, adding that they were presently revamping and in 2013 there should be two or three new faces in the band.
“We have expanded to a recording and production studio, a marketing office and now a clothing store. We have accomplished a lot in the seven years and done more than we ever thought we would. The industry is tough but it’s also a great teacher if you pay attention.”
So as well as pushing the individuals and the group they teamed up with other artists and developed new talent through mentorship programmes with schools and young people generally.
In the future they plan to focus heavily on the export of their product with the aim of taking their music beyond the shores of Barbados and implanting it in the hearts of countless people.
In the past months, Strategy has thrilled audiences in Barbados as well as in the United States and the United Kingdom with performances at Sin City, Connecticut, Bajan Soca Splash in New York and Club Taj also in NYC. They received awards for song writing in competitions such as the Barbados National HIV/AIDS Song Competition and in 2009, Kirk Brown and Strategy were both finalists in the Award of Excellence in Entertainment category at the Barbados Tourism Awards.
Over the course of the band’s existence it has entertained live audiences in Jamaica, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Canada and France, among other locations. With the launch of their debut album, Fire and Thunder in July 2011 and collaborations with international and acclaimed artistes, including Young Vinchi, Fat Man Scoop, and Vybz Kartel, they have recorded much success, which continues.