Energised by the success of the single, “Tipsy” in Trinidad and across the region, Bajan bard, Rupert “Rupee” Clarke is gearing up to take soca to the world yet again with mainstream support from the Ultra Music Label.
Producer and co-writer of the infectious single, Troyton Rami of Black Shadow Music told the Express via telephone interview that “Tipsy” will soon be re-released on mainstream platforms across the US and will be promoted extensively across the major music markets of the world.
“I was really looking for THAT song that could bring all genres together,” he said.
“Meaning soca, dancehall, pop and everything else that's happening and I just call it Electronic Caribbean Music – that's my brand and the Black Shadow Music brand because if Rupee gets on the beat, it will be classified as soca, but if Popcaan rides the same riddim it will be called dancehall. I believe that it's the best thing for the Caribbean to all represent as one and come under one umbrella – so it's being embraced as soca now in the region and by the diaspora and will help boost the soca market, but when corporate America hears it, we want them to think of it as Caribbean music that's awesome and then we can take it from there with further branding and classification…”
Rami and Black Shadow Music are best known for the globe stomping Buzz Riddim and Sean Paul's mainstream breakout single, “Gimmie The Light”, but have also worked and continue to work with top Caribbean acts such as: Beenie Man, Sizzla Kolanji and Kevin Lyttle to name a few.
Rupee and ‘Tipsy' at
forefront of the wave
Now signed to Ultra Music as a DJ/Artist in the vein of Skrillex and David Guetta, the Black Shadow team is poised to take more Caribbean music into the mainstream with Rupee and “Tipsy” at the forefront of the wave.
“Trust me, we have a lot of big things planned and in the works and this is gonna help to open up a lot of doors,” he added.
“Not just for Rupee, but for soca as a whole because once – or should I say, when it's successful in the market, the labels and A&Rs are going to come rushing to the islands to find the next big acts and songs. The future of the music is in the power of the teams that are built with top producers/DJs and the artistes and Ultra is the best outlet for our music right now because Patrick Moxey understands our music and how to market and sell it to the world.”
Of course, a major music video is also being planned for the single and Rupee is already here in Trinidad – performing and working the song for the 2017 Carnival season.
“I always tell the youths and people who ask me,” he commented, “that success happens when preparation meets opportunity and it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to really make it in this business. So even though I stayed off the scene for a few years to focus on my family, I always stayed prepared so that when the opportunity came around again, I would be ready to make the most of it. I want to stress that this is not about me, Rupee alone – all my brothers and sisters in the music are going to benefit from this deal and these developments – because it's high time we showed up as a force to be reckoned with in the mainstream. We have tested the waters before and tasted success as individuals, but the time is coming for us to stand united and represent together as one.”
Ultra Music is an electronic music record label in North America, comprising Ultra Records, Ultra Music Publishing, and Empire Artist Management. The label was formed in New York City in 1995 by former Polygram and Virgin Records executive Patrick Moxey, who is the owner. Ultra's roster includes, among others, Rosette, Axwell, Steve Aoki, David Guetta, Kakade, Pitbull, Calvin Harris, Benny Benassi and many more.
As of January 23, 2013, Ultra merged its operations with Sony Music in a deal that brought all of Ultra's artists, music catalogs and licensing rights into the Sony fold in exchange for Sony's investment in Ultra and promoting Moxey (who will retain ownership) to the newly established role as president of Sony's Dance/Electronic Music division under CEO Doug Morris. The label's physical releases are distributed by RED Distribution in the United States and Ultra Music is No. 11 on YouTube for Most Viewed Channels of all time.
In 2012, Ultra had 11 charted titles on the No. 1 Billboard Dance/Mixshow label, and many of its artists were nominated and performed live at notable award shows. At the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, Deadmau5 was nominated for three Grammys and performed live with rock band, The Foo Fighters, and at the Canadian Juno Awards he was nominated for three Juno Awards and performed the closing number with MC Flipside and Lights. Calvin Harris was not only the house DJ for MTV's 2012 Video Music Awards, but also won two awards for Best Electronic Dance Music Video and for Video of the Year. Ultra's music has also been featured in film, television, video games, film trailers, and advertisements including placements in: Glee, Grey's Anatomy, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Jersey Shore, Gossip Girl, So You Think You Can Dance, The Dictator, Pitch Perfect, Jack Reacher, American Reunion, FIFA 13, NBA 2K13, Just Dance 4, Target, Victoria Secret and AT&T.