FLASHBACK: Carnival (January – February), 1997 – Beetham Highway, Trinidad
Although Nadia’s Batson’s mega-hit song “My Posse” really hit its stride in the “Carnival Season” months (January through February) of 2008, the story of its creation really begins back in October of 2007.
Alot of my best songs come to me while I’m driving – for some reason – and in the case of the Zouk-tinged smash “My Posse”, I was streaking down the Beetham Highway when that unforgettable horn line first popped into my mind as clear as day, followed shortly by the chorus “My posse/Ah wanna see yuh/Jammin on de road/Wining de road…”
The really good tunes come fast usually. In this case, it took almost no time for me to construct the entire intro, chorus and the basic structure of the verse as well. At this point, like any real songwriting tech-geek would, I stopped jamming to my catchy new creation just long enough to reach for my trusty smartphone (RIP Motorola A1200) and quickly recorded myself banging out the drums I heard in my head on the steering wheel (yes, while driving lol) while singing the melody and lyrics simultaneously as well, to “catch the moment”.
A few days later, my good friend Nadia Batson invited me to one of her recording sessions over at KMP Music Lab Studios in San Fernando (South Trinidad for you foreigners) with our longtime friend and collaborator Kasey Phillips of Precision Productions.
After working on one of Nadie’s songs for a while, we were almost ready to wrap up for the night when I said to her: “I have a tune for you to sing… if yuh interested.” She was curious, so I uploaded the audio from my phone to Kasey’s computer so he could play it on the studio speakers for everyone to hear.
The next thing I knew, an excited Kasey was hustling me into the booth to sing a guide vocal for him to build the “riddim” (music) of the tune around. Once again, I sang the distinctive horns and the “Hey! Posse! Hey!” intro in my best falsetto as Nadie and Don Iko nodded their heads to the rhythm of my voice in the studio.
After completing the guide, I came back in the booth and explained to Nadie that I wasn’t totally done writing the tune. At that point, I had the entire intro, the chorus and the pre-chorus (that’s the part that goes “Slowww. Slowww, wine back yuh bumper”) all worked out with words and everything, but I only had a definite melody for the verses with sparse words.
Nadia agreed to finish writing the verse lyrics and I remember being a little tripped out that she asked Kasey to keep the intro arranged EXACTLY the way I had initially sung it, and then she went home and learned precisely how I had sung the “Hey! Posse! Hey!” in the intro (in my best falsetto at the time lol).
A couple weeks later, , Kasey had finished a wicked Zouk-inflected riddim for the track and Nadie – having finished writing the verses – was back putting down vocals at Kasey’s studio. For some reason though, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was still not quite right… and then it hit me!
“Nad – yuh don’t think yuh should sing it in a higher key?” I asked her? We all looked at one another, and put it to a silent vote – arriving at a unanimous agreement, judging by the smiles. For those of us that know her well, Nadie is notorious for being more comfortable singing higher notes, so as soon as Kasey raised the key a couple notes, all of a sudden Nadie was belting out the song.
After recording background vocals performed by myself and Lauren Birot (an ex-member of Nadie’s well known previous singing group Silhouette), the young ace producer Kasey added the finishing touches, including live electric guitar (big up Kenny Phillips lol) and live horns, before mixing and mastering.
By late November (2007), new Soca releases for 2008 Carnival were being debuted fast and furious on the radio in Trinidad, but almost all of them were slower-paced so Nadie’s first instinct was to release one of her Groovy Soca selections first, but both myself and the savvy sound man and DJ that is Don Iko (Digital Enertainment to di worldddd – uzeet! lol) insisted to Nadie: “My Posse hadda buss (release) now!”
Eventually, in early December, Nadie bowed to peer pressure and released the single to local radio and club/party DJs. One week later, you couldn’t turn on a radio in TnT without hearing “My Posse”. Instant smash!
The next two months were filled with quiet pride for me, watching Nadie mash up fete after fete (NO that is NOT an Iwer George pun) with the seemingly unstoppable song, which became one of the top contenders for the Road March title. It also carried Nadie to the Soca Monarch finals where many people strongly felt she was robbed and should have placed higher than the controversial 4th place she walked away with.
Regardless of the Soca Monarch controversy, the bottom line is that to this day the “My Posse” song continues to “get forwards” and at this point I think it’s safe to say “My Posse” is a classic “mash up tune” for Soca lovers everywhere.
Amazing what a long drive, a lil’ “vibes”, a good smartphone, a talented friend and the right timing can produce right.
Big up to Kasey and everyone else involved in the production of the tune, and special thanks to my friend Nad for believing in my ability enough to voice the song, and, in the process create history.
Hmm… who say Nadie and Vybe should go back and give dem another baddd “chune”?
You never know… it could happen lol. After all this isn’t the first time we collaborated on a big “chune” by any means.
On that note, I leave you with the video of Nadia’s Soca Monarch Finals performance. If you look really hard you might catch me singing backgrounds live there too ;-)
NOW you know ALL about Nadia Batson, her hit song “My Posse” and ME! That’s all for now – Mista Vybe outttttttt!