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Putting the Bubble in music

Natanga Smith

Putting the Bubble in music

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Kevin Marshall has a good memory.
He can remember how he got his monikerDJ Bubbles. He can remember his first touchof the turntable. He can remember his first gig and he can remember his first big break givento him by Edwin Yearwood.
DJ Bubbles is the man behind Studio B and this year he has producing rights on 13 of the biggest tracks out this soca season which just ended: Carnival Addiction (Leadpipe), P.O.L.E (Edwin), Wanna Jam (KES), Finger (Bobo), Ducking (Fadda Fox), among others.
“I love what I do . . . . It doesn’t seem like work,” he told EASY magazine at a recently held meet and greet for South Central Entertainment, where he is part of the roster of people in the entertainment industry that the label manages.
With 15 years under his belt and nine years producing, DJ Bubbles is a household namein terms of his radio stint, he is also well known on the party circuit and has Machel Montanoon speed dial in his phone.
With his dad, now deceased, as an organist and his mum singing in the church choir, Kevin was always around music. In fact, his dad sent him to piano lessons where he gained a Grade 2.
Getting attached to an old stereo system in his house, he recollects breaking many needles practising scratching and throwing on records quickly one after the other.
Attending church and school fairs, Kevin hada plan: “I would stand right next to the deejay and when he did a bathroom break I would take over. I told him I would hold on for him,” he said laughing, recalling that the deejay was always sceptical.
Kevin then got more chances when his sister Gaynelle was hired by Starcom to be anon-air host and Admiral Nelson was her instructor.
“Admiral used to live near to us and when he came by the houseI used to strategically be outside with my headphones on and my little sound system dabbling with. One day I invited myself to his house and just sat and observed him at his home studio. That day is when my full foundation and understanding of music started.”
Building a relationship, Kevin tagged along on a gig with Admiral to an outside broadcastat Oistins one day and was introduced as the playing DJfor the event. Caught by surprise, Kevin said it was either swimor sink.
He swam.
Fast forward to meeting Peter Coppin and Stan. They formedthe Monstapiece Crew. Sometime after, both Kevin and Stan leftthe group.
“I started to develop myself.We got invited to more and more gigs and started playing in Trinidad every weekend.”
While an audition at Hott FMfor the duo didn’t pan out,he got called back to doa solo gig.
“I was working at Scotiabankfor the past six years. It beganto get depressing for me because when I played on weekends I was on a high and then I had to goto a mundane job on Mondays.”
Kevin said he wrote up his resignation and took it in.
Armed with an associate degree in mass communication and years of experience, he created his own fan base on air.
With dad and mum retired, he said he had to step up to the plate and started doing commercials and jingles with his sister Gaynelle doing most of thelegwork.
His dad allowed him to convert an empty room in the house intoa work station.
“That is where Studio B was formed . . . . Out of that roomI have worked with Machel Montano, who booked it fora week and I must say it was an experience watching him record. That man is a perfectionist. I have seen him spend two and a half hours singing just a chorus.I have picked up a lot of stuffand applied it to my own production elements.”
Kevin said he has received valuable assistance but saidhis first big break camefrom Edwin.
“He was in the studio chilling and I was playing a beat on the laptop. He said suddenly:‘I want that beat’. I searchedhigh and low for a CD to burn it on and couldn’t find one. It was really late at night and I said:‘I can’t miss this chance’.Edwin wrote the song same time in the studio, went into the booth, recorded it and said he was going to Canada and finish it by time he came back the Sunday. That gave me three days.
“I called Chris Allman and had Gaynelle do background vocals. That right there gave me automatic credibility that if Edwin trusts me, an unknown amongthe big names on productionon a song, then maybe I have something,” he said.
Doors then started to openand things began to get sweeter.
Kevin produced Soca InMi Body for Alison Hinds, and what started as a humming from Answar came the song Nothing Sweeter. Farmer Nappy, Nard, Timmy and more started to grace the studio all wanting Studio Bon their production credit.
Kevin called it surreal:“It has happened pretty quickly. From me playing other people’s music in the industry, to dreaming to wanting to produce for them,to now producing for themand for international artistes,and for these international artistes now calling me.
“Studio B is doing a lot better. With help from my partnerDarien Bailey (keyboardist for Machel), I am getting calls from VP Records and international studios that want to do workwith me,” he said, nodding his head in disbelief.
“My dream of being regionalhas now gone past that. Who knows where I will be in the next five years.”
The interview couldn’t be concluded without the question being asked of how he gotthe name DJ Bubbles.
As a student of The Lodge School, he said he was walkingon the grounds to class and heard games teacher and well known entertainer Mac Fingall shouting “Bubbles”. Kevin said he kept walking, but said the name-calling was getting persistent and he realisedhe was the lone student outside. “I asked him if he meant me and he said:‘Yes, you’.
‘You are always bubbly and happy.’ The name stuck after that,” he said laughing.