It’s one thing to have a famous father, but another to allow this reality to assist in shaping your future. Chino McGregor is one of Dancehall’s most powerful young guns and as the son of legend Freddy McGregor, has had his path in music set since he was a nine year old boy, singing in the school choir.
Recently, HELLO! was blessed with the opportunity to speak to a young man who has not simply found his voice, but has made a conscious decision to develop himself as a unique artist, who is willing to grab the opportunities life has thrown his way.
With tracks like “Rave All Night”, “Never Change” and “Protected”, Barbadians may not be familiar with Chino’s latest contributions to Dancehall, but thousands upon thousands in Japan are.
Chino’s sophomore album released earlier this summer in Japan at the number 7 spot on the Japan iTunes top Reggae Album Chart and very soon found itself at the number 2 spot. Named for the hit single “Never Change”, Chino’s latest album is a testament to the hard work the artist has put into his craft, the importance of Dancehall music across the globe and most importantly, the incredible contribution we can expect here in the western world, when Chino releases his next album on March 14, 2011 for the US and the Caribbean. In fact, it is this upcoming album and the subsequent promotional and post album tours, which led to this young man catching the eyes and ears of HELLO!, as we expect Chino to bring his talents throughout the Caribbean in the coming months, touching down at some point at the Grantley Adams International.
Growing up around his father Freddy McGregor and spending some of his developmental years on tour, Chino is very familiar with the world of music and notes that he learned from an early age, to emulate greatness. Thus as he states, “From Bob Marley to Michael Jackson…. when you observe these great entertainers you find they have the full package… raw talent, they know instruments and they have the image, that is what I try to emulate… greatness.”
Literally taking Japan by storm over the summer with an incredibly well received second album contribution in this sector and a host of successful performances notably under Japan’s “Mighty Crown Sound System” selectors, Chino who got the ball really rolling back in 2006 with “Red Bull and Guinness”, is showing no signs of slowing down.
Always in music from his choir days as a nine year old in Jamaica, Chino found early fame working as a rapper with Kiprich on a track called “Leh go di bwoy”, when he was 14. With experience as a DJ and a wealth of knowledge surrounding countless musical instruments, Chino states that his life is music. With his recording studio literally at his house, Chino doesn’t escape this world very often, but when the time does arrive, he states that he finds time for family, most importantly his daughter, who is 1 year and 7 months old.
At 27 years of age, Chino has been in the game long enough to know that a commitment to being unique and staying focused, is the only formula that will truly service an artist in this competitive game. Providing further advice to other young people from across the globe who see music as their avenue for success, he noted with a slight laugh, “it’s not easy, it’s a whole heap of hard work…people see the flashy side of music [but it’s}… a lot of sleepless nights… weeks upon weeks you don’t see your family, your close ones.” Pausing for a moment, Chino adds with all seriousness, “A close family member can pass away yesterday, but you have to go on stage today… it takes a lot of mental focus.”
Now blazing up HELLO!’s playlist as I write these words is a track called, “Rave we a rave”, which is a collaboration with Chino and Konshens. Promising more hot collaborations for the upcoming album, March 14 should be a date to mark on your callendar, as according to Chino, “… a lot of young talents are just holding up Dancehall right now.” Young talents, who are capable of flying this unique Caribbean sound from the east to the west, and truly showcasing the universal beauty of music.