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100% Bajan pride

RACHELLE AGARD, [email protected]

100%  Bajan pride

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MANY MAY HAVE SEEN and heard the host of local artistes who collaborated on Tridents All De Way, the song that has been dubbed the anthem of the Tridents Pride of Barbados cricket team.

But who are the brains behind the entire production?

Let us introduce you to Julian “JJ” Poulter and Brian Marshall, who have been in the music business for more than a decade. They began as songwriters and co-founders of the local band Kite in 1999, and began composing for others in 2005.

Their work has been featured on popular television sitcoms such as Degrassi, Beverly Hills 91210, Lincoln Heights and Ghost Whisperer to name a few.

Taking time out of their busy schedule to chat about their latest production, the musical duo sat down with the EASY magazine at Pavilion Studios in Hastings, Christ Church, where the magic was created.

“We’ve been doing this for a while now and recently we started consulting with brands to help them find their song, particularly those who didn’t know how they were supposed to sound. Some people call it jingles, but we like to think of it as mini songs and finding a song that fit a company and their identity,” said Marshall.

“The reason why we got placements on TV is because we’re very good at eliciting emotion from our music, and that’s what a lot of the time companies are looking for. They want to have a piece of music associated with their brand that produces the correct emotion and that’s what we do; we compose to produce a particular emotion associated with a particular brand, or with a particular scene,” chimed in Poulter. 

That unique ability which they use collectively to produce their masterpieces, propelled them to send in a demo of what is now the theme song for the Barbados Tridents.

“I think that’s what got us on radar when the job for the song for the Barbados Tridents came up. We did not know who else was pitching on it. We did the best we could, realising that it was the quality of our idea that was judged.

“A lot of people do not associate us with soca music, but we have done many soca jingles which people in Barbados may be familiar with, but they don’t realise it’s us and that’s how we want it because it’s about the brand rather than the faces behind the music,” he added.

Adding that West Indians are very passionate about cricket, Marshall pointed out that they wanted to capture some of that emotion in the song.

“The music needed to reflect that part of the Caribbean psyche as it relates to cricket. In England it is called Caribbean cricket, and they love it. It is a compliment that people could both be deadly serious about the game, but also really enjoy it as a huge party,” he said laughing.

And the owners of Shoestring Studios both agreed that it was “a lot of pressure” completing the demo and sending it to Vijay Mallya, millionaire Indian franchise owner of the team.

“We submitted a demo and hoped for the best. It took us about 20 minutes to write the entire song, and then we heard that the owner had it as his ring tone. It resonated with him so we refined it and found the right artistes to complement the song,” said Marshall.

Finding the right artiste to sing the parts of the song was also another task for the duo.

“We wanted it to be inclusive . . . both male and female and the parts needed to reflect that as well. As composers you learn very quickly that with particular melodies and ranges you can visualise who would do a great job singing this part or that part, so we shortlisted our singers . . .,” said Poulter.

They also believed that that particular composition would not have been complete without the inclusion of the voice of legendary cricket commentator Tony Cozier.

“It was something very special that we hoped would materialise and that we would be able to do. We wanted in some very small way to show appreciation for the person who was widely known as the conscience of West Indies cricket and respected globally. It is very sad that he passed, but we thought it would be our way of a small tribute to the cricketing legend,” said Poulter.

Singing the praises of the team of local artistes, they both agreed that they all “came out and delivered”. 

“The time frame was very short when we were given the green light. Despite being busy at this time of year, all the artistes made themselves available without exception.

“There was a part we knew would be right for Buggy and he isn’t due back in the island until August, but we got it done. RPB was a great help, offering advice on the song as was Adrian Clarke, who was practically our quality control guy. And we got it done because no one brought egos; they all came together and worked as a team,” said Poulter.

Asked how they generally strike a balance when it comes to work and life outside of their studio, Poulter said it was still somewhat of a challenge.

“There were a ridiculous number of nights Brian worked until 4:30 a.m., editing and getting the job done and ensuring that the ball wasn’t dropped and completing the task within deadlines,” said Poulter.

“It’s a very time consuming job. And especially when you love it, the spaces when you should be on or off get very blurred. It’s an honour and privilege to do what we do . . . . I always felt that I have never worked a day in my life because I love it so much. As far as the balance thing goes it requires a lot of sacrifice, and you need to have people around you who understand that it is more of a lifestyle than just a job,” explained Marshall.

Poulter wholeheartedly agreed with his business partner of over ten years.

“When it gets really hard, I ask myself, ‘Would you rather be doing anything else, putting the effort into some other line of work?’ And the answer is no. That’s when I know I am doing the right thing. If you’re willing to work that hard and get satisfaction from it, then it must be what you ought to be doing,” he said.

As for the song, they believe it will take the cricket world by storm.

“We know the song still has a long way to go. The video and the song are now being introduced to everybody and people are now beginning to catch onto it. But I think when you know you’ve done your best, you can sleep at night, and I can safely say that Brian and I did our best,” said Poulter, while Marshall quietly shook his head in agreement.