“When heard I was nominated twice, I said for what?” is how Sly Dunbar, one half of the rhythm twin, Sly and Robbie, described his reaction to the news that he had two nominations in the Reggae category for this year’s Grammy Awards.
It was even more shocking to him as he can’t recall any artiste or group receiving two nominations in the same category.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s award show, Dunbar is not getting all worked up about it. As he puts it, “it’s all about making music for the people. That’s what Robbie and I are all about. I don’t feel any way different, I’m doing work as usual.”
The Grammy is nothing new for the duo, as he pointed out, “this makes eight times now” starting with their first in 1985 when they had creative input on Black Uhuru’s Anthem.
Sly and Robbie earned nominations for Made In Jamaica, a project done with French producer Bob Sinclair and One Pop Reggae.
Dunbar says teaming up with Sinclair was as a result of work he had done in 1976 for the producer who at the time was working on an album for Serge Gainsbourg.
Sinclair, who is more of a disco producer, returned to the island with the sole intention for the rhythm twin to “reggaerise” some of his tracks for an album.
The result is that it could very well edge him out of winning the coveted award.
But Dunbar is not concerned about that, as he says: “Yes, I would want One Pop Reggae to win, but I will be giving my support just the same to anyone who takes it.”
When quizzed on what he thought was the strength of the albums, Dunbar says once he is through with a project, he doesn’t listen to it.
“When I work on a project, I don’t listen back. It takes about two years for me to do that. I’m always on to the next project,” he reveals, adding that it was five years later before he listened to Black Uhuru’s album. “I ended up saying, man, I didn’t know the songs were so tough!”
A stickler for perfection in whatever he does, Dunbar says it is his great love of good music that keeps him going, as well as the people. “It’s a pleasure to make people enjoy themselves, you just want to continue making music for them.”
Sly and Robbie are presently hard at work in the studio with talents such as upcoming singer Leba — daughter of Toots Hibbert; Ken Bob, Anthony Red Rose, DI — formerly Danielle — and Jimmy Riley, among others.
In closing, he expressed gratitude and love to all the people of Jamaica who have been there for them. “We would be here as a duo for over 30 years,” Dunbar quips.