Taking the term "multi-talented" to new heights, Mista Vybe is not just your average musician. Hailing from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, this Versatile Young Black Entertainer (thus the acronym Vybe) certainly lives up to that title: effortlessly switching between sweet-voiced R&B singing, Hip Hop rapping, "chatting" in Dancehall Reggae fashion, "freestyling" lyrics spontaneously, dazzling with energetic live stage performances and even singing his own background vocals, in addition to writing all his own material and producing and arranging as well in some cases. He has already written (for himself and other artists) and performed numerous local and regional hits, topped the Pop charts in the all French-speaking Caribbean islands, scored a major underground hit in France, recorded with legendary 90's "super-producer" Teddy Riley among other industry "big names", and is a well-known solo star in his homeland.
Born Patrick Gordon in the capital city of Port-of-Spain on the island of Trinidad, Mista Vybe grew up as an only child in the quiet, middle-class district of Trincity. He started studying piano and classical voice at age six and went on to add the trumpet, steel drum and percussion to his repertoire in a few short years. In high school he played with his school's marching band, was a featured soloist with classical, folk and church choirs, sang and acted in various youth concerts, free-styled with classmates in his own Rap group and even fronted a Pop cover band.
He learned much of his studio skills as a teenager, honing his chops by working on countless demos at the state of the art, multi-million dollar Caribbean Sound Basin studio complex in Trinidad with his writing/production partner at the time: local producer/programmer Sheldon "Shel-Shok" Benjamin. There, the duo was privileged to sit in on recording sessions for past and present industry giants like Raphael Saadiq, Guy, Hip-Hop producer Ali Shaheed Mohammed (of A Tribe Called Quest fame) and Bad Boy Entertainment's notorious Hit Men production team, including Stevie J and infamous music mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.
Mista Vybe got his first "big break" as the lead vocalist of the now defunct group Blak Mayl. The feldging boy band was signed to the French arm of the major label EMI in 1994 after dazzling executives with their raucous live performances and unique sound at that year's MIDEM conference in Cannes, France. Their unreleased debut album featured tracks penned almost entirely by Mista Vybe and even included a song written and produced by legendary hit-maker Teddy Riley, on which Mista Vybe had the honour of singing lead. In addition, several of the album's cuts featured backing vocals by Riley's Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum group BlackStreet.
Unfortunately, like countless acts before them, Blak Mayl's major label release never came, due to circumstances beyond their control. Undaunted, Mista Vybe kept working as a solo artist, writer, arranger, producer and background vocalist. He quickly gained particular notoriety for writing and co-producing hits for local artists like Andy Stephenson (better known as the "Soca Michael Jackson") and Soca band Surface.
By this time, he had also accumulated extensive performing experience, opening at concerts for international acts like Kris Kross, Super Cat, Bushman, Buju Banton and Beres Hammond. In 1999 and 2000, he fronted popular Soca band Atlantik, which played at some of the biggest shows during Trinidad's Carnival celebrations, often performing for audiences over 40,000 strong.
His stint with Atlantik also brought him together with fellow lead vocalist Keishea Stewart, with whom he recorded the hit "Frenchman Jam" on the band's critically acclaimed "Harder Than Steel" album in 2000. Written and produced by Mista Vybe, the genre-bending Zouk/R&B/Soca smash and went on to become one of the most popular songs of that year's Carnival, earning Mista Vybe and Keishea a much-coveted spot in the finals of the International Soca Monarch competition.
Undoubtedly, one of his solo career's high points was the smash single "Joe Le Taxi". Originally taken to Number One on the French Pop charts by Vanessa Paradis back in the 1980's, the song found new life as a charming Pop/Hip-Hop/Reggae duet, featuring Mista Vybe chanting in his unique Dancehall-influenced styles alongside Trinidadian teen singing star (and longtime family friend), Sharlene Boodram. Released by the Martinique-based Don's Music label, the single became a major smash, reigning at Number One in Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guyana (among other countries) for the entire summer of 1997.
At performances in these islands, Mista Vybe and Sharlene were constantly mobbed by thousands of zealous fans, and often had to perform the song two or three times in a row before their adoring audience would allow them to leave the stage.
After dominating the French-speaking Caribbean, "Joe Le Taxi" went on to become an underground hit in Paris, France, eventually drawing attention from several major record labels, including the French arms of Sony and Virgin Records.
Since then Mista Vybe has gone on to contribute as a solo artist and writer/producer/vocalist to countless local hits in the last few years.
His 2005 Carnival smash "Up" (off the compilation album "Kasey Phillips: Born To Do It") is still blazing at local Urban radio stations eons later, thanks to a spicy remix that combines the song's rapid-fire Soca energy with an edgy Hip-Hop groove, courtesy of production prodigy (and longtime collaborator) Kasey Phillips.
He co-wrote International Soca Queen and International Groovy Soca Monarch Michelle Sylvester's 2005 Carnival and Crossover smash "Garden Of Love" (on the popular Teardrops Riddim) and also had a hand in the writing of the party scorcher "Sleeping In My Bed" which helped her claim the aforementioned titles.
Mista Vybe's 2006 single, "Always On My Mind", featuring his close friend and fellow Big Artist Crew member Michelle Sylvester took radio and dancehalls in Trinidad by storm and seems poised to become an international Crossover smash. Produced by the multi-talented Michelle "Miche" Williams for the Brooklyn-based Catalyst Productions camp, "Always On My Mind" is one of the first singles off the star-studded upcoming Catalyst Entertainment compilation album, "Soca Rizin'". Vybe and Michelle are currently putting together a music video for the single as well, working alongside local director Nigel Thompson of Black Ice Productions (director/editor of Ms. Alysha's chart-topping "Party", and the soon-to-be-released video for "Scandalous" by Machel Montano & Xtatik).
In addition, his solo Soca single, "Ting 4 D Road", was a favourite in the 2006 Road March race and Mista Vybe performed at all the country's biggest shows, not to mention numerous international dates following Trinidad And Tobago's Carnival celebrations in February, including Grenada, Antigua, Barbados, Toronto and all over the U.S.
He went on to cop the Caribbean Soca Monarch title in St. Lucia on July 16th, 2006, beating out top competitors from every other Caribbean island to earn that honor.
In 2007 he released the popular uptempo solo single "Mash It Up Again" as well as a Zouk-tinged duet with longtime friend and Big Artiste Crew member Nadia Batson called "Start D Race". In addition he also released the Reggaeton-influenced groove, "Would You Mind?" , which is yet another of his singles that industry pundits seem convinced will be an international Crossover smash.
For 2008, Mista Vybe is again poised to be a major force on the Soca scene, and has already relased three scorching singles.
The first release, "Life", is an uptempo conscious song that shows the spiritual and historical aspect of Carnival celebratiuons in Trinidad, urging fans to "Jump up and celebrate your life".
The second single "Chica" - featuring fellow Big Artiste Crew member Nadia Batson and official Big Artiste Crew DJ Iko - is one the songs on the super-popular Response Riddim recently released in Trinidad.
Finally, "Wave It Away", his much talked-about collaboration with Kes The Band, follows in the lyrical footsteps of "Life", encouraging listeners to stay positive and "Wave (their) troubles away". Fans and industry heads are already touting this as one of the foremost tracks for 2008.
Judging by the seemingly limitless barrage of blazing tracks he has under his belt (with word that much more are soon to come) it seems like the time for this "Vybe" is right now.
What's Caribbean's newest answer to the question: "Who's the next big thing"?
FOUR letters... ONE unforgettable sound: V.Y.B.E.
|Copyright and Disclaimer Notice: Music is provided for entertainment purposes only. All rights to the materials are protected by copyright law. TriniJungleJuice.com shall not be liable for any errors in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. By accessing the TriniJungleJuice.com site, a user agrees not to redistribute the material found therein without obtaining the appropriate copyright owner's authorization. Please do not link directly to any media file located on the web-server without permission from webmaster.|