An unfortunate mix up led to two Barbadian artistes releasing the same song, written by the same person, albeit two years apart, according to lyricist Jason Shaft Bishop.
Soon after Nikita released Same Way on Monday, it was discovered that Britain-based Deevine had released the song as We De Same on YouTube in 2015.
The revelation created quite a stir on social media as Barbadians tried to figure out what went wrong.
Bishop Wednesday cleared the air, saying in a statement released by his management he simply forgot he had given the song to Deevine.
“Shaft was not aware that the song had been released and there was not much traction with it then. In 2017, De Red Boyz asked Shaft if the song was available. Shaft informed them it was free to use. Unfortunately, he did not have a proper classification system at the time and genuinely forgot that he had sent the song to Deevine two years earlier,” the release said.
The Trinidadian writer’s management made it clear it was Bishop, not Deevine, who owned the publishing rights to the song, although it acknowledged that the British-based singer owned the master rights to her version, while Nikita owns similar rights to the 2017 version.
“Shaft regrets he did not have a system in place then to prevent such and is truly sorry for the stress this may have caused all parties involved.”
Earlier Wednesday, one of the producers of the Nikita version, Mike Hulsmier of De Red Boyz, took to Facebook to defend the artiste, saying she would never have recorded the song had she known it had already been done, although they had done their due diligence.
“We just wanted to be sure because we would hate to do something especially for an artiste like Nikki who is now trying to find her feet, and get things going, then to have a drama like this unfold. Having found nothing we were confident it wasn’t done before and went ahead with it. Nikita was absolutely over the moon with it. We think she did a great job on the track and we were excited about it,” he said, adding that Nikita was “absolutely heartbroken” when she discovered that the song had already been recorded.
Hulsmier pointed an accusing finger at Bishop, saying the writer was the only one at fault.
“I understand everyone is upset at Shaft and rightfully so . . . . I don’t know how he’s going to plan to rectify this, [but] I think he needs to do so,” the music producer said.
Bishop has written a number of winning soca songs in the past for well-known Barbadian artistes, including Hot Sun and Riddim by TC, All Ah We by Peter Ram, and Home Sweet Home by Biggie Irie.
Meanwhile, Nikita told Barbados TODAY Tuesday afternoon she had left the issue in the hands of her attorneys to negotiate a resolution.
“My management, the lawyers, producers, singers, we are all looking to resolve the issue. Just give us a chance to handle the situation without sharing and commenting on thing that they don’t know about. We are trying to do it in a professional manner without blowing it even more out of proportion,” she said.
In a video posted on her Facebook page Wednesday, Nikita gave a more detailed explanation, saying she had “paid for a song that was presented to me as a new song”.
“This is the only reason I started the recording process of the said song,” she said.
In a direct response to those seeking to blame her for not reading the fine prints of her contract, the singer said no contract was signed for the purchase of a song, only when it was released and registered with the copyright agency.
“So those who may have had malicious intent in saying, ‘Nikita should have read the contract, she should know her rights, she should know what she doing, etc’, I know my rights, I know what I’m dong, my head is screwed all the way on.”
She also appealed for an end to attacks on those involved, including Bishop.
“In the future should this happen again, please be a bit more sensitive when it comes to talking about the details of the situation that quite frankly is none of your business,” she said.
Meanwhile, veteran soca artiste Bunji Garlin weighed in on the controversy, saying it should serve as a lesson to young singers.
Bunji Garlin, who together with his wife Fay-Ann Lyons has built a massive soca empire over the years, told Barbados TODAY Nikita must draw strength from the setback.
“There are artistes that go through way worse and still fight again to do the business. They figure it out. I’m not making any excuse for anybody. Every artiste’s journey has pitfalls in it. You have to know how to treat the pitfalls and you have to learn how to make examples of the pitfalls. It really comes down to what the artiste wants to do and how they want to do it,” said Garlin, who was here for the launch of the 1Love concert..
“I would say to any artiste that going through something like this, don’t let this be the catalyst for the end of your thing. Let this be a steppingstone. Find your self. Maybe the person talented and don’t need to have a songwriter. Maybe they have their own skill and haven’t discovered it yet. So you have to encourage them to look within,” he stressed.