Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Chan Dizzy - The Journey So Far

Hailing from Kingston, Jamaica Kamar Ho-Shing better known as Chan Dizzy is the artist behind some of the biggest tracks circulating the Dancehall scene at the moment. Being the voice behind Dancehall hits ‘Strange Face’ and ‘Hello Badmind,’ I decided to catch up with the Head Concussion recording artist to get an insight into his journey thus far, and what he’s been getting up to recently.

General Gen: Firstly, I am aware that there’s a little story behind the name Chan Dizzy, would you mind sharing that with us?
Chan Dizzy: (Laughs) You know that story there, Jah know! It's about underage drinking. One day some friends and I were drinking a drink called Moet and Chandon right. After getting totally mashed up out of our minds, somewhere a voice in my head said to me "Yo take these two bottles and break them together." When I did that, the only thing that was left was the little part of the bottle that said 'Chan.' From that time my friends just started calling me Chan.

General Gen: Now that we know about the origin of the name, could you tell us a bit about how your career in the music industry actually begun, and how the Chan Dizzy that we know today came about...

Chan Dizzy:
It began after I left high school in 2000. I used to go around to this studio with a friend of mine who's an older artist called Tonto Irie who used to carry me to King Jammy's and all of them places. I was totally in love with that lifestyle from early. The whole music atmosphere and everything! After doing that for a while, I linked up with a friend from high school and we started up our own little production thing. Usually we’d build beats and then go to a studio, book time and record there, so it started from that time. I was also a rapper from that time, and I was doing it for years. Then I was signed to a label called Orange Hill. That’s where I met Russian…

General Gen: That was actually going onto my next question...Before exerting your talents in the Dancehall scene; you were heavily involved in the Rap scene. Why did you decide to make such a major transition?

Chan Dizzy: I kinda stepped away from the rap scene, I love it with all my heart and everything but rapping in Jamaica is very hard. You have a lot of rappers and they do it and they do it well, so respect to them but it's hard to support yourself off of doing Rap music in Jamaica. I was doing it for a few years actually; signed to Orange Hill and even though I was a rapper, I would write Dancehall music for other artists. It was after meeting Russian that he said “Yo, you know seh you too bad fi do rap inna Jamaica. You need to try and do some Dancehall things for yourself you know.” So I decided to try it, and just fell in love with it!

General Gen: Would you agree with me in saying that your collaboration with Russian on the Dancehall hit ‘Strange Face’ was your breakthrough track?

Chan Dizzy: (Laughs) Many people don't believe this but I didn't really expect it to get that kinda love. I didn’t expect it to be the song that would break through like that. I did a song prior to that called 'Guh Hard and Done’ and I thought Guh Hard and Done was going to be the one for me but the people just love Strange Face!
General Gen: Working alongside Russian seems to have played a very significant role in your career so how did Russian and yourself initially link up?
Chan Dizzy: As I said before, I used to be signed to another record label called Orange Hill and Russian was friends with the producer so he'd come by the studio all the time.  So it was in about 2007 that I met him. He’d usually hear my work and like it, and from them times he’d usually build beats and stuff. I loved his beats and everything so out of a mutual respect for each other’s work, we developed a friendship and the rest is history. From there we’ve been parring and doing music and everything.
General Gen: One of your follow on tracks to “Strange Face” entitled “Hello Badmind” definitely followed on nicely capturing people’s attention all over the globe, and getting its deserved airplay. What was the actual inspiration behind that track?

Chan Dizzy: Well I always try to keep my music as real as possible. I don't really go outside of the realms of things I don't know. I’m not gonna try and make up things so anything that I say is either something that happened to me or a friend or somebody I know. That way, we get songs that are relatable to everybody. The Hello Badmind thing now, you know Jamaica is a country where the ‘crab in a barrel’ mentality is still alive and well within some people so whenever you start to progress, people are always doing things to try and bring you down. So I just wanted a song to try and speak for that. Being an artist, I just grabbed my pen and paper and did what I do what I do best.

General Gen: Within your musical journey I’m sure that you have come across a number of so-called strange faces and bad mind people. How do you manage to keep yourself away from these kinds of people?

Chan Dizzy: How I manage, I just keep my circle small and stay real to my real friends. I know that music comes with a lot of things; the fake people and the people who want to hype you up and par with you because they see opportunities. I know that that will come with music but I just try to stay true to my real friends and my real people…Keep my circle small.

General Gen: As a consequence of the substantial amount of support that you have been getting, the demand for you to perform in places all over the World has vastly increased. Where have you been performing lately, and how are you finding the overall travelling and touring experience so far?

Chan Dizzy: Well I recently came back from my first European Tour which was successful! We went to France, Norway, Sweden, Germany and a few other places. It was good, Jah know the reception; it’s a whole heap of love that I got out there. I was really overwhelmed by the response of the crowd in some places that we were in. It’s a lot of love man, I look forward to going there again to perform. The experience so far is like a dream come true! When you see things in magazines and see them on TV and then you actually get to experience it when it’s right there in front of you where you can touch it and see it, it’s a great feeling.

General Gen: With your ability to easily adapt to a number of different sounds, you have already worked with the likes of Chimney Records, TJ Records, Steven McGregor, Russian, and more recently I-Octane so who are you currently working with and on what projects?

Chan Dizzy: You dun know, I like to stick to the home team still so I’m working with the rest of the Head Concussion producers right now. Sensi, Sniggy who we have the Herbalist tune from which is going pretty well. We have a few more tunes from Sensi to be released; we have a single with Russian currently called ‘Do My Ting.’ We have a lot of artists; we have something from Jamie from the YVP label called ‘So Bad’ on the Top Soil riddim. The work never stops, mi always a work!

General Gen: Another big collaboration with Russian was ’21 Gun Salute’ which in fact has a very interesting concept; could you explain the concept of the track to us?

Chan Dizzy: Alright just the name alone made a lot of radio DJ’s fearful before they even listened to the song or understood what it was all about. It’s really not a gun song or a violent song or anything like that, it doesn’t support violence. It’s like using that kind of thing to talk about the net of a relationship. You know like when a soldier dies, to see him off they give him a 21 gun salute, that song was created to paint a picture of that situation. But that song is doing really well too. When I performed that song in Europe, the girls really loved that song.

General Gen: Speaking of collaborations, what artists would you be interested in working with other than those that you’ve already worked with and your Head Concussion Records family?

Chan Dizzy: Other artists right now would be Mavado or Aidonia. Aidonia is my general so I’m looking forward to working with him soon. Just those few right now.

General Gen: In the UK we do have an artist going by the name of Big Man Zest who did his own cover of your track ‘Hello Badmind.’ Have you heard it?

Chan Dizzy: No, I haven’t heard it.

General Gen: Well my next question was actually asking if a collaboration between you two be on the cards but you haven’t heard that and are there any other UK artists that you have in mind in terms of collaborations?

Chan Dizzy: I’d have to hear the song first and then listen to the artist and see what he’s doing. But I’m always open to doing collaborations, there’s no problem from they’re a good artist and we can vibe musically. Oh and Gappy Ranks, I rate Gappy Ranks.

General Gen: Moving on to another artist, what’s going with yourself and Masicka at the moment?

Chan Dizzy: (Laughs) With that situation, nothing is really going on you know; just a little exchange of words but nothing more than that still. You know Dancehall has these little things from time to time so it’s just something like that.

General Gen: With ‘The Lord Is My Witness’ having just been released, how would you sum up this mixtape?

Chan Dizzy: The mixtape, mi nah go lie, I’d give it a 9 out of 10. I think the mixtape was well put together, not exactly the way I wanted it that’s why I haven’t given it a 10 but it’s definitely a 9.

General Gen: On the mixtape you talk of stealing lyrics – “Nowadays fi teef lyrics is so popular....” Who were you referring to or was it just a general comment?

Chan Dizzy: It’s really more of a general comment still.

General Gen: At the moment you seem to be compiling quite a catalog of hits so is there a Chan Dizzy album on the cards after this mixtape?

Chan Dizzy: Me and Russian are thinking like the third quarter of next year so right now we still wanna do a little bit of work and build a strong foundation. We’re just out there spreading the works right now.

General Gen: On a final note, with the future in mind, where do you want to be in the next few years?

Chan Dizzy: In the next few years, I’m supposed to be one of the top three artists. Have a couple of tours under my belt, and also an album or two.

Endorsed by a number of artists from the Dancehall scene and mixed by Willy Chin, this mixtape sees Chan Dizzy exert his talents on riddims from a selection of genres. Not surprisingly, Hip Hop is one of them. Brought to us by Head Concussion Records and Black Chiney, download 'The Lord Is My Witness' here and make your own decision on whether or not you prefer Chan on a Hip Hop beat or in a Dancehall style!

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