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Chris Gayle: Want Indian artistes to explore Jamaican culture

Updated on: 11 September,2023 07:11 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sonia Lulla |

Set to take his album to the Grammys, Chris Gayle says he’d want desi artistes to create art in his homeland, like he does in our country

Chris Gayle: Want Indian artistes to explore Jamaican culture

Chris Gayle

Barely a few years into his music career, Chris Gayle is eyeing the big title. The cricketer-musician is set to take his latest album, Tropical House—Cruises to Jamaica, to the 2024 Grammy Awards, where it may compete in the World Music and Raggae categories. The album features Gayle’s Gimme your love, with singer Shav A. In this interview, Gayle discusses his newly established career, and finding collaborators in Indian artistes.

Edited excerpts of the interview.

Can you take us through the initial moments you spent during the pandemic contemplating taking up music professionally? 
Like you stated, it started as a joke shared with my friend about a collaboration. In Jamaica, people are very sceptical. They don’t tolerate foolishness. So, if you do something, and they don’t like it, they will let you know what they think. They are straight-up and frank. Imagine my surprise then when the feedback on my song was good. It was only after I met one of my engineers, with whom I recorded another song, that I thought seriously about it. We started to head to the studios and record songs. And then, I grew tired of going to [other people’s] studios. So, I decided to invest in myself, and launched my record label, Triple Century Records. I built a studio at my house. Subsequently, things started to flow pretty [easily]. I collaborated with Emiway [Bantai], [for] Jamaica to India, which has over 70 million views. That opened more doors for me in the music industry. My latest single released two weeks ago. So, music has become a business. I’m going to get into producing [music]. I want to record new artistes.

What did you struggle with when you ventured into this industry? 
I should highlight that I grew up with music. My brother was into production and I was behind the scenes, when it came to making music. But I never saw myself doing it [professionally]. 

What do you think is similar between Jamaican and Indian music, given that you’ve collaborated with so many Indian artistes?
[It needs to] have a local [approach]. When I say that, I mean, it must be approached from an Indian’s perspective. Here, rap music is [popular]. And we know how big the Bollywood market is too. So, for me, the chance to collaborate with artistes from India was fantastic. Similarly, I want to get Indian artistes into Jamaica. I would love to have some of them visit the Caribbean and see our culture, just like I’ve been to India so many times. Every year, I’m in India. So I’d love for them to come and see our side of the world and meet some of the entertainers there. 

Can you tell us about Tropical House—Cruises to Jamaica, and how important the Grammy win is to you? 
The win would be great. I have two songs featured on the album, including Choco Loco remix, and Gimme Your Love. We have many big artistes arriving [at the Grammys], so, we know it’s a big [gala]. Working on this [album] has been an experience for me. I’m delighted. I never thought this would actually happen—that I’d reach so far in this journey, and so quickly. 

Looking back at your journey, which part of the music-making process have you most enjoyed? 
I like to rap. I find that I don’t have a smooth voice. My delivery has force. But, most of my top songs are the ones in which I have sung. Yet, I enjoy rapping, which is quicker and more up-tempo.

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