The Kemist finds the formula

Friday, September 07, 2018

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IT has been eight years since The Kemist first entered his music lab. He has developed a formula for making hit songs as a producer and songwriter.

Next month, The Kemist will release Body Can't Lie, his first song as a deejay. He co-produced it with Yei Gonzalez; it also features former Brick and Lace singer Nyanda.

He co-wrote it with Swedish-Congolese singer Mohombi.

“Truth be told, the concept of Body Can't Lie came from Mohombi. When I first heard the demo, I loved it and I immediately jumped in to collaborate with Yei Gonzalez to bring that edgy dancehall flavour on the production, and then added the verses later,” The Kemist explained in an interview with Jamaica Observer's weekly Splash.

He has production/songwriting credit on major productions including Lions by Skip Marley (remix) for Island Records; Stay by Zedd and Alessia Cara (Interscope Records); and No Apologies by Jojo and Wiz Khalifa (Atlantic Records).

Making the transition to artiste, he said, was not easy.

“I am still trying to get the hang of the modern day marketing on social media. All my life I've been very reserved, and in the background, so now, expanding from just a quiet musician/producer to The Kemist the artiste, is very shocking to say the least,” he said.

The Kemist's real name is Errol Thompson Jr. He is the son of the late Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation disc jockey, Errol “ET” Thompson, and singer Marcia Griffiths. His brother is producer/deejay Matthew “Esco” Thompson.

Many children of famous artistes find it tough living in their parents' shadow. The Kemist believes he has handled that situation well.

“Well, first off I don't really go around telling everyone who my mother is, but she definitely influenced and nurtured my musical interest from the very beginning,” he said. “I did have the privilege of being around her and her musical friends. But oddly enough in the EDM world, where I first made my mark, they're not too familiar with her or her music. At the end of the day, your talent has to speak for itself. Someone can get you through the door, but you're going to have to deliver.”

The Kemist grew up in Kingston, where he attended Wolmer's Boys' High School. He resides in Miami, Florida.

His father, who is arguably Jamaica's most influential broadcaster, died in 1983. He was a confidant of several well-known artistes including Bob Marley.

“I was always drawn to my father's upright piano on the veranda. I started ping ponging on it, until I found myself playing simple chords by ear, then all the popular songs on the radio,” he recalled. “We used to keep DJ battles in high school during lunchtime, and then I started making beats on those little Casio keyboards. Soon after I was selling tracks to friends, while saving money to buy more equipment along the way. So it's as if the music found me.”

The Kemist first got a lot of attention five years ago when Mash It Up, a track he co-produced with Nastassja “The Wizard” Hammond, was used regularly by Television Jamaica as a celebratory theme for Tessanne Chin's victory in The Voice.

Earlier this year, he signed with Universal Music as a reggae/dancehall artiste. It is another step closer to the big time.

“It is a goal of every artiste to have their music reach a global audience, I am very grateful that Universal has recognised my work and shown this confidence in me,” he said.

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