Eddy Grant Biography
Very few individuals in the entertainment industry have achieved the immense level of success as Eddy Grant has. Not only is Eddy an established and honored composer, musician, producer and entertainer, he is a well respected and astute businessman and entrepreneur who has achieved the cultural icon status. Along the way Eddy has made numerous hit records, sold millions of albums and downloads, and invented and defined a new genre of Caribbean music and culture known as RINGBANG.
Since Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys through Living On The Frontline, Eddy Grant has been recognized as a vociferous promoter, through socio-political commentary, of the culture and achievements of contemporary black people. Eddys meticulous method of recording is to a great degree responsible for his reputation - he has played every single instrument, sung every vocal part and produced every track on all of his solo albums - a time consuming and little known fact, which only a man of his committed vision could so painstakingly ensue.
Born in Guyana in 1948, Eddy was exposed during his childhood to the distinctive local fusion of African, Indian and other musics. As a pre-teen, his musician father moved the family to Kentish Town, North London. In the stark, post -war late fifties /early sixties suburban environment, he was exposed to the rock and roll of Chuck Berry and the nascent pop music scene. This early combination of ethnic and commercial pop influences culminated in Eddy founding the Equals, probably the finest and certainly the first multi-racial pop/rock outfit to achieve international acclaim. The Equals topped the chart with their classic Baby Come Back, and with Eddy as songwriter, lead guitarist and producer, they went on to achieve three more major top ten hits in the following eighteen months.
At twenty-three the pressures of his hectic recording and touring schedules took its toll. Though a teetotaler and a staunch vegetarian, Grant suffered a severe heart attack which forced him to undertake a major re-evaluation of his future. He canceled all future touring activities and left the Equals. During the ensuing period of introspection, Eddy opened his own recording studio in order to record at his own pace and to help cultivate the careers of other artists he had discovered. Subsequently, during the 70s, he continued the process of experimentation, hed started in the late 60s, to merge the influences of early Pop, Rock and Soul with the Calypso music of the Caribbean countries and the African rhythms of his childhood, to form a unique hybrid - the influential sound he called Kaisoul and someone else called Sokah finally ending up being dubbed Soca by a member of the Trinidadian media.
Grant recorded what is generally recognized by the cognoscenti as the very first Soca record, the anthemic Hello Africa in 1972 and this remains a classic in many parts of the world inhabited by Calypso and Soca aficionados. However Grant is quoted as saying that although his experiment started some years before, to his mind everything was really crystallized in the recording of Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys which was first released and became a hit in 1970.
Over the years and with the constant debate of who did what with regard to the conceptualization of Soca, it was put to Grant by some of his associates in Trinidad, that if indeed he was THE ONE surely he could do it again. Grant immediately set about creating this time what he calls the new Caribbean youth culture RINGBANG. Now after only a very short time in existence RINGBANG has been embraced by all the young (and even some of the old) artists of the region... he even started a magazine called RINGBANG, the first totally Caribbean magazine representing all Caribbean music and lifestyle.
Over the years he has successfully fostered leading Caribbean artists, and thanks in no small part to Eddy Grants patronage, Caribbean music now enjoys an expanding popularity in all corners of the world.
Grants enthusiasm and devotion to his musical heritage continues. He recently acquired the record and song catalogues of Calypso legends: Mighty Sparrow, the Roaring Lion and Lord Kitchener, among many others, in order to personally preserve, and to introduce to a wider audience, this historic and important musical heritage. This passionate interest in African rhythm and calypso-oriented music and his individualistic style has put a lasting influence on a range of other artists, many of whom have covered his songs.
Commercially the first half of the 1980s was enormously successfully for Eddy Grant; in less than four years he enjoyed eight major international hit singles, including the USA No. 1 Electric Avenue, I Dont Wanna Dance and Romancing The Stone (the title track of the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner romantic comedy box office hit). By that time he had established his own label, ICE RECORDS (actually started operating in 1974) with which he astutely avoided the pitfalls of many long since formed, failed and forgotten independent labels, by tapping into the distribution muscle of the major companies (viz. Phonogram, Virgin, RCA, and EMI) without ever losing control of either his music or his destiny.
When the mid-eighties pressure of his solo success again threatened to compromise his newly defined game plan Eddy moved his family back to the Caribbean, not to his birthplace of Guyana, but as a compromise with commercial reality, to the island of Barbados, where communications with the outside world were more highly developed at that time.
Here, he again built a commercial studio complex known as Blue Wave, whose clients have included Mick Jagger, Sting and Elvis Costello and where the Rolling Stones prepared for their gargantuan Steel Wheels and Voodoo Lounge tours. His excursions from this temporary sanctuary have been mainly for live performances at such events as the Sport Aid stadium show, ground breaking concerts in the former Yugoslavia, Hungary, Cuba and South America, and the Farewell to the GLC concert which he headlined at the Thames Embankment.
However, his studio is at the center of his drive to record, promote and market Calypso, Soca, and Ringbang music. ICE RECORDS has become in a few short years the premier international Calypso, Soca and Ringbang label. The company is aggressive and does continuous marketing research to determine what will make these genres, the last unexploited English-speaking music in the world, the mega-hits that they surely deserve to be. In 1995 Gabbys Dr. Cassandra, Viking Tundahs Ringa Ringa Ringbang and Roaring Lions Papa Chunks were the most popular records on the Caribbean party circuit. As Eddy says, in my heart, I know that Ringbang has the same potential as Reggae to achieve great popularity.... but there has never been any proper commitment to marketing these great artists and their music. We are not Sony, and the artists on board realize it will take time, it is an upliftment process. Without a doubt, this music has finally found someone prepared to put his money, time, talent and perhaps most importantly, love, right where his mouth is.
Eddy Grant's individual discography is extensive and time-honored. He has composed, performed and produced over two dozen studio albums. Grants most recent album, Reparation, was originally released in 2005 as a website exclusive on www.eddygrant.com and www.icerecords.com. As of April 2006, the album is being distributed to brick-and-mortar (and internet) record stores throughout the world.
Reparation was written, arranged and performed by Eddy Grant. The album was recorded and mixed to completion at his Blue Wave Record Studios in St. Philip, Barbados, West Indies. Reparation contains thirteen brilliant tunes ranging In styles from Ringbang to Pop to Rock to Gospel. All instruments are played by Eddy (except for the gospel piano of Andre Daniel on Jesus Got A Face). Eddy also sings lead and backing vocals on all tracks (except (Gotta Be) Positive, Ringbang Man, Long Night, and Love Weself where he is accompanied on backing vocals by Indra Rudder; the backing vocals on Jesus Got A Face are supplied by The Cavite Choral Choir).
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