Sweet-singing Biggie Irie’s new song, Sweet Gal, is already becoming a hit. The former Sweet Soca King recently released his first track for 2020, which was written by Bajan International singer/songwriter Shontelle Layne, produced by De Red Boyz Studio and mixed by Andrew Denny.
Biggie told Bajan Vibes that the tune was part of a riddim he first heard while in the studio last year.
“Last year around March, I was at De Red Boyz Studio and Mikey was working on the popular riddim which was released in Jamaica in the early 90s. He said they were re-working and adding a sweet soca vibe to it. I told him when he was finished to send it to me because I wanted to write something on it.
“I had spoken to Shontelle Layne the previous year, 2018, and told her I’d like her to write a song for me after hearing Tiney Winey which she wrote for Joaquin. I can’t remember now if I had sent the riddim to her or if Mikey sent it.”
The entertainer and former lead singer with Exodus and Splash Band said the production of the song went smoothly, notwithstanding his minor health challenge due to surgery.
“I was still in recovery from my hip replacement surgery around May but I was able to walk with a cane and drive so I passed through the studio as I always do almost every day. Mikey said Shontelle wrote three songs on it, and Sweet Gal was the one she wrote for me. I told him ‘lemme hear it nuh’.”
Biggie said he instantly fell in love with what he heard. “After the first line, I was sold. So he emailed the demo and the lyrics to me and said, “We’re recording next week so learn it,” which I did. We recorded my vocals and the next day they brought in Rochie Griffith to sing backing vocals. I believe Sweet Gal was the first song recorded on it out of the five.”
The song, which took about an hour to record, has been well received.
“I’m extremely happy, not only for Sweet Gal, but for the other songs on the riddim because they all are doing great, here and internationally. The feedback and reception have been amazing and I’m very happy about the rotation it has been getting here at home and in other territories, especially in Jamaica where the original riddim was born,” the singer said.
Due to the COVID-19 guidelines which have affected the number of live shows, Biggie has been pushing the song online. “Mainly on social media by doing live interviews online and blasting it to DJs worldwide. DJs are requesting dubplates for it, so that’s a good way to earn some cash now, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The versatile singer is planning to release another song in August. “I’m releasing a Reggae Lovers Rock song in August, produced by De Red Boyz and written by Auriel Byron from Trinidad. She wrote Country for me in 2018 and Encore and Magic last year. Music is very important. Music is the healing of the soul and brings people together, so I believe the world needs good music now more than ever.”
Biggie is the only Bajan who has won the International Groovy Soca Monarch. He did so with Nah Going Home in Trinidad in 2007. The entertainer who usually sings out of De First Citizens/Digicel Big Show tent during Crop Over said he wasn’t planning on competing, even if there was a festival this year.
“I decided last year that I was not competing because of the single party monarch competition. Well, after seeing how the world was coping with COVID-19, I expected Crop Over to be cancelled or postponed, so I wasn’t surprised. Crop Over 2021 will be epic, though.”
The performer who has toured extensively with Splash Band, explained that the COVID-19 pandemic made all of his gigs both here and abroad impossible. “Well, it’s been rough because I was working six nights a week at hotels and bars across the island. COVID-19 cat-spraddled that. I was also supposed to travel to the UK for two performances in June, but because of the pandemic, they were postponed until next year. So hopefully, I’ll go in 2021.
Biggie’s usual weekly spot, Blakey’s, opened back to the public and live performances started the night of Father’s Day. “It has been going well every Sunday since then, so hopefully it keeps that way.”
But even in the midst of the uncertain pandemic times, Biggie admits that he has picked up some valuable lessons and a few new interests as well.
“I’ve been taught quite a few lessons. I have learnt to cook and be disciplined, try to save as much as you can, and cherish your loved ones. Build up your immune system by taking your vitamins, and try to eat as healthy as you possibly can. Exercise, be thankful and most of all, pray,” the artiste said. (IMC)