Most artists dream of a career that spans over a decade boasting international accolades, chart-topping hits, and underground classics. Barbadian-born/ Brooklyn-raised Rayvon has garnered this success and more while affectionately being dubbed the “Ambassador of hip-hop reggae.” Known for his work with multi-platinum selling vocalist Shaggy, Rayvon has shared the stage with monolithic icons such as The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson. Dubbed the reggae Usher by the late great James Brown., his pop-infused Caribbean flavor has paved the way for the next generation of Barbadian recording artists such as Rihanna, Shontelle, and Jaicko. In this interview exclusively @Cali.FM Rayvon talks about his decades long success in the industry, his label and latest project releases.:
What was the tipping point in your career- when did you realize that you were destined to be ?
I was around 14 years old when I recorded my 1st record and it got played on the radio. It wasn’t a big radio station but being heard on the radio station was a big deal for me. It was being done during school hours and it was a great opportunity, but I don’t advise the kids to cut school.
How have you managed to stay relevant musically for decades now? How do you get creative?
I stay relevant by changing with the times whether it’s the business or the music sounds. In the music part of it or music production. And I stay creative by keeping my music very relatable.
I read you were dubbed the Reggae Usher by the late great James Brown, what an honor! Do you embrace that comparison? How did you meet James Brown and how did that make you feel coming from a legend?
I met James Brown in Antwerp Belgium, we were on the same tour for a month. And in the middle of the tour that’s when he said that and I took it as a great compliment because Usher was on the top of the charts at that time. And coming from the King Of Soul it was such an honor.
You’ve been signed to major record labels in the past, compare and contrast being with a major versus being your own label?
The lessons that I’ve had learned from the big labels as me being an artist coming up from the roads as we speak now having my label definitely gave me insight on how to deal with artists. Because I’m an artist and I know how I would want to be treated as an artist. And would know how to deal with artists.
Being the CEO of my own label is way more hands-on. Because more hands-on and I have more of the decision making. For example when and how a song is released.
Speaking of labels- You have your own now called Get That Cheddar Entertainment Inc (GTC Ent). Tell us your vision for it and about the latest projects released?
The business for the label is to keep bringing great music to the music level worldwide with great productions and great artists. My first release was my self titled album “Rayvon” in 2012. Now with a new distribution with Tuff Gong International, I released my first single “Trouble Again” “K Queens Jam Down Top Ranking”, “Now That We Found Love” and I See You with myself and Sugar Bear. With more releases soon to come.
What are you working on now?
Currently pushing a few singles and collaborations. Singles like “Trouble Again” Sugarcane & Now That We Found Love, and, I See You with myself and Sugar Bear. I See You is getting major buzz in the mainstream market place the video is currently being played on BET SOUL, Yo MTV, Tempo Networks in the Caribbean’s.
You’ve played to enormous crowds and venues all over the world, tell us what that’s been like good and bad?
The biggest crowd I ever performed for was 750,000 at a music festival in Poland, It was so much energy and it was all good. When I come and perform I give 150% and the crowd always gives it back. So it’s all good.
You’ve been on Gold, Diamond and Platinum records, what is the goal line like for you at this point? What’s next?
Just to keep going I always say the sky is the limit. I’m going to ride the music train until the wheels fall off.
How has the Covid19 Pandemic impacted you and what you do?
The COVID 19 Pandemic has had a major impact on my music career from doing shows, concerts, festivals etc. and traveling on tours around the world. My live performances that I do I saw my shows and tours canceled overnight for the foreseeable future. I have turned to streaming online musical performances from my home, social media where I can upload, stream, and sell my music.
Do you find yourself utilizing social media more?
I definitely have had to utilize the internet during the Corona times to stay in tune with the fans and to bring entertainment where I can virtually.
What platform are you most active on?
My Instagram@1ray von
Anything else you want our readers to know?
One Love to all the fans Stay Safe and thanks for the love and support. They can stay in tune with all my social media :
Rayvon is known for his work with multi-platinum selling vocalist Shaggy. The two began collaborating on a string of tunes in the ’90s which culminated in the Sting Int’l produced the regional hit “Big Up.” Rayvon says, “We both got our break with that record. It put us in the reggae/dancehall spotlight. I had a smooth-edged style of singing and he had that rough DJ style. The chemistry was amazing.” Rayvon was also featured covering The Melodians’ classic “Rivers of Babylon” on the B-side of Shaggy’s 1993 hit “Oh Carolina” The following year Rayvon’s solo star began to brighten with the release of his hip-hop reggae classic “No Guns, No Murder” (produced by Funkmaster Flex) on the venerable VP Records. The track hit a trifecta on Billboard, ranking in simultaneously on the Hot 100, Rap Singles, and R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs charts. VP issued the follow up “Pretty (Before I go To Bed),” which quickly impacted the Billboard’s Rap Singles chart. Rayvon’s career trajectory accelerated in 1995 when he recorded the island-tinged duet “In The Summertime” from Shaggy’s platinum, Grammy award-winning album Boombastic. The song was a cover of Mungo Jerry’s 1970 hit and following in its original success Shaggy’s version with the help of Rayvon reached №3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and №5 in the UK while also featured in various major motion pictures and television series.
( Biographical content Courtesy of Theresa Kemp E.M.M.P.Inc and Rayvon)