Better known in local entertainment circles as Diggz da producer, Denzil Bovell is focused on making a substantial contribution to the development of the Barbadian music industry, especially by making sure that young artistes have the support to produce a top quality product.
Bovell sat down with Bajan Vibes recently and recounted his journey into the music industry from a very young age. “I was always around music, my parents played a lot of music. When I was like seven or eight, I learnt to play the piano and I also played in a marching band where I learnt to play trumpet.”
However, producing music was always Diggz’s passion. At the age of ten, he and a best friend started making music together on a programme called ‘Reason’. It was then that he made up his mind that producing music was he wanted to pursue as a career, despite initial resistance from his parents.
“ . . . My parents did not believe that it was an acceptable job because, in the Caribbean, everyone just believes that that you have to be doctor or something along those lines but music and arts wasn’t one of the those ‘valid’ types of work.”
As a result, Diggz’s first major challenge was convincing his parents to allow him to study in his desired field.
“I went to the Polytechnic at first to do electrical engineering. I didn’t really want to do it but that is what they were pushing me to do. That is the time when they were reluctant,” Diggz said.
“After a couple months, I dropped out. When my parents realized that it was my passion and what I really wanted to do, they stood behind me 150% and pushed me to be the best at what I was doing. It was like a complete 180-degree turn.”
Soon after that, it was off to Atlanta, Georgia where Diggz did a one-year course in audio engineering. Following that, he went on to England to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Audio Producing which he finished last December.
“I had two options: to move to the US or England to pursue (opportunities) in their big music market or come back to Barbados and up the standard for hip hop and R&B,” he said. He settled for the latter.
Diggz is now a man with many tools in his arsenal as he also mixes and masters. “I am confident in what I do and I know the quality is good,” he said. “A lot of people just went on YouTube but I actually studied it..”
“Every day I try to learn something new whether it be mixing or producing (or) researching new mixing techniques. I know how to mix but producing is just something I love to do. . . . I have years of experience,” he explained.
Since choosing to return to Barbados, Diggz has been working tirelessly with a number of young talented people to fulfill his pledge to himself. “As soon as I got back, I started working with some talented artistes. They just needed the push to step forward and a push into making better music,” he said.
Diggz is currently employed by Noise Boy Studio. He joined them in January, shortly after his return from England, as the lead recording music engineer. “I don’t want people to think of the typical Barbados song in terms of low quality. I want to up the standard of music in Barbados,” the proud son of the soil said.
Diggz said that one of the biggest challenges young Barbadian artistes face is getting exposure especially for hip hop and R&B because that is not the type of music the Caribbean is known for .
He cited the example of an artiste releasing a rap song. “You get your fan base, the faithful few that would listen, but apart from that, there isn’t much radio play. Nobody wants to play Bajan hip hop unless you personally know the DJ,” he told Bajan Vibes.
“Another dynamic is if anybody is doing hip hop in Barbados, unless they are super popular, people will say “Oh, he is trying to be American” which makes it very difficult for newcomers to break through,” he vented.
Part of Diggz’s mission is to change the mindset of the general public through making them more aware and accepting of locally-made music . “We have a lot of people who are really talented. I want to work with as many talented Barbadians as possible so that we can show people that we don’t have to go outside to listen to quality music,” he said.
Diggz’s ambition is to become the main producer for local hip hop artistes in very much the same way that the Red Boys are in the genre of soca.