Barbadian music producer Chris Rose is steadily making waves on the international music scene.
The 25-year-old has produced for popular international rappers such as A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Dave East, Don Q, Rob Stone, Barbados’ Island Levvy and Teff Hinkson and more. His repertoire is gradually rising as he begins 2019 having produced on the number 1 album on the Billboard charts – Hoodie SZN by A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. Rose co-produced the track 13 – Bosses and Workers – featuring Don Q and Trap Manny on the album.
The St Lawrence College Music and Digital Media graduate has come a long way from when he was playing the piano in the Combermere School music room. In a chat with Bajan Vibes, Rose revealed he was introduced to rap music when he moved to Ontario, Canada to pursue his studies. It was at the St Lawrence College that this classical musician’s world was expanded.
“Some people in the classes there were listening to rap. Being away from home, being in North America, that is all you really kind of hear so I just started listening to it. Then because other people in class were producing, I just kind of gravitated towards them,” he revealed.
Rose was just making beats and having fun while doing so and opportunity knocked on his door; or rather a friend of a friend of a friend shared his music, liked the vibe, and decided to make a song to it.
“There is always a chance that somebody out there will hear what you have made and it just keeps on going. The more famous or more well-known someone is, the more you have a chance,” he explained.
His record with A Boogie was unexpected. In fact, he didn’t know the track was going to be on the album. As he mentioned how the internet and technology have made life easier for those in the music business, Rose revealed he made the Bosses and Workers beat at home in Barbados and sent it off hoping for the best.
“You could be anywhere and you can work with anyone and you don’t have to be there and that is the amazing thing about it [internet]. I made that beat here in Barbados. I didn’t go to North America, I didn’t play anything in a studio in North America and it is on an album in North America so I feel the internet made it much easier to network,” Rose said.
Although he is somewhat of a ‘late-bloomer’ to the rap genre, Rose indicated that one was always a student to the music industry. He couldn’t be satisfied with his current state.
“I am always willing to learn. I am always open to learning new things. I think once you are always trying to be a student you can’t really look at it like a hindrance because I am pretty sure that people who came in and were making beats before me still feel like there is so much more to learn,” he noted, adding that due to his musical background he is a quick learner and can easily pick up on dissonance in music.
“You always have to craft your own sound,” he stressed.
Also an alumna of Brock University, Rose shared that his parents were initially skeptical of his choice to pursue a career in music as it is seen as one with great investment and little returns.
“At first they didn’t really get it because I guess it was the equivalent of wanting to become a rapper… and then they saw a lot of people were coming up to them saying ‘I heard your son’s sound tag on the radio’. People look at anything music related as a joke except teaching so for them it was to really grasp ‘oh you’re actually doing this and decent at it and there is the joy of making money at it’. My parents come and talk to me about songs that I’ve produced and things they have liked in the songs and how albums are performing.”
With the local rap/hip-hop community small and struggling, Rose suggested that locals shouldn’t despair. He reasoned that across the world a number of small cities were trying to keep the industry alive by working together and promoting their music. He said that by creating opportunities for artistes and promoting their sound, individuals would have their cities land marked internationally.
“People think that Barbados is very swanky and all the other cities are popping but there [are] only a few cities in North America [where there are] these rap scenes and meccas where everybody is like let us work together! Rap isn’t like that all over the world. I think that is where people get messed up and expect it to be something more when we only have 250, 000 people on the island. That is less than a small city in Ontario so you can’t really expect much but rap is becoming more prevalent; it’s like the most popular genre… so now I guess more people’s ears are open for rap. I guess if you do it more people are listening.”
The music producer disclosed that his goal was to become the guy that could produce for any genre whether it was rap, gospel or R&B. He encouraged aspiring producers to be focused, humble and confident.
“Just stay humble and don’t worry about people supporting you… worry about people liking your stuff but don’t worry about people liking you. Don’t worry about trying to please people, just stay humble and try to learn because your humility will take you so far. Nobody likes to work with a know-it-all. So if you are now coming up and you’re annoying or just in everybody’s face nobody is going to mess with you. If you are coming up and trying to put yourself [over] people who have been ahead of you, that is not going to work,” he advised. (KK)