Interview: Reggae Sensation Collie Buddz on Maui Island Vibez Visit
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By Cassandra Hastu
Smooth, talented, and down-to-earth are just a few attributes you take away from meeting a larger than life artist like Collie Buddz.
The world renowned reggae singer from Bermuda has hits that include “Come Around,” “Gimmie Love,” and “Blind To you.”
Buddz, as his friends call him, was just on Maui for the Island Vibez Music Festival featuring Hawaiʻi’s own Kolohe Kai and California based reggae band Stickfigure held on Saturday at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
He was kind enough to sit down with me for Maui Now and fill us in on how his tour, career, and family life have been treating him.
Q: Let’s begin with how you’re doing. How is tour life treating you?
A: Good, couldn’t be better. Tour life is pretty cool; been a little crazy the last couple of years but… it’s a good thing. (I’ve been) travelling a lot; just came back from Europe where we did a couple of festivals during the summer, and now we are in Hawaiʻi. Loving it.
Q: You have a new single out called “Light It Up” and it screams something new and different. Are you excited for the new audience you will reach, or nervous, or both?
A: Yea, I mean you know when we first did the song I didn’t really expect first of all to shoot a video for it and second of all to actually put it out. It was just a fun thing… I was just having fun in the studio. So yea, I’m looking forward to see how well it does.
Q: You’ve worked with Kid Cudi, StickFigure, Soja, Snoop Lion, Joey Badass, and the list goes on and on. Who’s next?
A: I’m not sure you know, I really don’t know. I love working with everyone really. But for me I need to work on my stuff first. Actually, I’m working on a song produced by Super Dubs with Notch and that is probably the new feature of the new project coming out.
Q: You have so many places to call home; New Orleans, Bermuda, and Toronto. Does each country have a special place in your heart or one more than the other?
A: Oh Bermuda. I have been living there for 28 years now. New Orleans I spent only about eight months there when I was born and then the only other times I have been back is to do shows.
Q: Being both a musical engineer and a producer, are you a perfectionist to work with in the studio?
A: Oh yes, it is pretty irritating after a while especially when you do a lot of hard work and people don’t notice it. You know, I’ll be sitting there tweaking frequencies just for no reason. I will sit there on one thing for hours and hours, go to sleep, wake up and listen to it again and be like – naw I don’t like that and I’ll delete it.
Q: What do you think about the music industry today compared to when you were first starting out?
A: I don’t know to be honest. I think it is a lot harder to sell records now a days. I mean, as far as the music, the music is always evolving. I came out at the wrong time. Album sales you know, they are going down a lot.
Q: What does it mean to you to be able to go home to Bermuda and start a record label and a radio station?
A: It’s a great feeling. All of my child hood memories pretty much are from there, listening to reggae music there… the whole upbringing is Bermuda. It is always in my heart no matter where I’m travelling. So, going back and starting the radio station… it feels really good you know? It almost feels like it’s a stamp to say I made it somewhere in this industry so this is what I’m giving back.
Q: What keeps bringing you back to Hawaiʻi? Do you have a favorite island?
A: Yea, I mean I like Maui and Honolulu, Oʻahu right? Yea, those two, I like Maui more because it is a mix between the Big Island and Honolulu, you can get the best of both. I had one of the best nights sleep here on Maui. I just opened up the doors and just listened to the beach rolling in, I will always remember that.
Q: From sun up to sun down, what is a day in the life of Collie Buddz like?
A: I would like to say I get up and work out. I’m married now with two kids so that takes up a lot of time. I try to wake up a little early because it’s such a bad wake up experience waking up to crying babies. I try to wake up a little earlier and try to make some breakfast have some coffee and stuff like that. Daily business, get them ready for school and nursery, and then I’ll probably go to the studio and my wife will go to work. Then we meet up at night to do it all again except the opposite way. When I’m not in the studio I’m a family man.
Q: What message do you want to send to your fans here in Hawaiʻi?
A: I don’t know if it’s a message, just a vibe. I like to bring a positive vibe. When people come out to see the show… (I) just entertain them as much as I can.