Global - The prolific, young, talented writing duo of Full Blown Entertainment has garnered international attention in a New York minute. Bang! They are here, doing it and making serious waves. 2012 has just begun; however, this looks to be a very special year for the Hart brothers - indeed, one filled with accolades, accomplishment and excitement.
“Vibes Cyah Done,” “Mr. Fete,” and “In Charge” are but a few of the hits penned by FBE for the likes of none other than Caribbean music star Machel Montano. These songs and others are already monster hits and all are positioned to give these two dynamic writers a full sweep of every conceivable Caribbean music award category for 2012. It would be an insult to limit the works of Full Blown Entertainment to the Caribbean, as they are equally perched to shake up the international scene with an uncanny blend of lyrics, wit, storytelling and rhythm.
WST - Your grandfather Eddie Hart is a noted cultural icon and steelpan activist in Trinidad and Tobago; how does he feel about FBE’s involvement in the country’s overall cultural landscape?
Full Blown Entertainment (FBE): Kevon Hart, 29 and Kory Hart, 25
FBE - “He is definitely very proud of our success thus far. He claims to “boast” about our work a lot. He’s one of our biggest supporters.”
WST - What are Mr. Hart’s thoughts re: the work of his grandchildren – “Vibes Cyah Done” - being the Panorama tune of choice for a noted steel orchestra?
FBE - “He was happy to hear about it initially. Furthermore, he plays with Neal and Massy Trinidad All Stars and the arranger Leon “Smooth” Edwards hinted at them playing “Vibes Cyah Done” and possibly “Mr. Fete” on the road during the carnival season. Needless to say this would be a proud moment for him and for FBE.”
WST- Has FBE (Kory or Kevon) ever been involved with Pan on a personal level – playing, or otherwise?
FBE - “Kevon actually owned and played tenor pan just as a hobby for a few years but never really pursued it in any real way.”
WST - The carnival season has just begun but already Full Blown Entertainment is white hot. Everything you touch is coming up gold. Did you see this coming?
FBE - “While we do believe in ourselves and in our talent, we cannot truthfully say that we saw this coming. We went from watching Machel Montano win the Soca Monarch competition in 2011 and actually dressing up like him on the night (inside joke), to writing numerous songs for him the next season. The entire experience has been almost surreal.”
WST - How long has Full Blown Entertainment been in existence? And how did this come about for Kory and Kevon Hart?
FBE - “Our father is a writer. He has already compiled two books containing poems and short stories. Our family has always been good in English and Literature and we always did well in these areas at school. Kevon has always loved writing and would write songs for Kory who sometimes got involved in school shows. While attending Queen’s Royal College at sixth form level, Kory became friends with some guys who produced music and he was intrigued. Kory encouraged Kevon to write songs while Kory learned about digital music production. They started working with a very talented musician, Ryan Hamilton, and in 2008 Full Blown Entertainment was born. In mid 2011 Ryan parted ways with FBE to pursue other avenues of his musical career, which left Kory and Kevon as the surviving members.”
WST - You do realize that if a steel orchestra won Panorama with a popular tune like “Vibes Cyah Done” - the panorama music landscape would be changed forever - you could be ‘guilty’ of being associated with the reintroduction of “party music” or the “music of the day” back into the panorama scene. You may not have envisioned your work going down this path - but here we are. What are your thoughts on this?
FBE - “Steel pan music is beautiful on its own but there is something about a steel orchestra executing a hugely popular song on Panorama night that can really blow your mind. Many young people go to Panorama for a “lime,” not even knowing which band is playing, and what song they’re playing. If more bands played some of the more popular songs of our generation, we believe it could inject new life into the Panorama competition. If we play a part in that, we are indeed happy to do so.”
WST - Full Blown Entertainment has done a masterful job creating lyrics that provide imagery that locks perfectly with Machel Montano’s noted stage delivery and musical legacy. “Vibes Cyah Done” is a beautiful piece of music - but it is your lyrics that make it come alive in a very visual manner. It fits Machel like a glove. How did you come up with that theme and story-line? How did this come about?
FBE - “There actually isn’t much of a story behind the writing of the song. The music inspires a happy, party vibe. We stumbled upon the hook line and it flowed pretty quickly from there. When it was written we actually didn’t even think that Machel himself would be interested. The music was produced by Kasey Phillips of Precision Productions. He sent us the beat, we wrote the song then did a demo of it and he actually sent it out to some other artistes. Funny enough those artistes weren’t interested and soon after Kasey played the demo for Machel at the studio while working on another song. Machel connected with the song immediately. He saw it as a true reflection of his life in the music industry. The rest, as they say, is history.”
WST - Last year Hometown Studios submitted a few tunes to When Steel Talks for Panorama consideration. Among them was “Carnival Time” by Meshach. And Lil’ Bitts actually submitted “We Own the Night” as a tune for the panorama season. These songs were actually written with the steelband music community in mind. Do you think now, that there might be a trend whereby the “younger generation” turns out music specifically that the steelpan community might consider for panorama?
FBE - “There may very well be a trend developing here. We can’t speak for the other writers but we actually gave thought to directing some of our efforts into “steel pan music.” Whatever the case may be, this is a good sign in our opinion. It can certainly help preserve Trinidad and Tobago’s roots and culture. Rather than see our country’s traditional pan music go extinct, it can be married with the modern and thus live on, even if it means straying a bit from the original vibe and structure of steel pan music. What will be great is if the elders within the steel pan community can embrace the youth and their ideas and concepts and merge them with their own, thus further encouraging them to get involved in composing musical pieces that can bridge the generation gap and be accepted by a wider range of listeners.”
WST - The very talented and capable Codrington Pan Family steel orchestra has chosen “Vibes Cyah Done” as their tune of choice for Panorama 2012. There is already talk that the Savannah may not hold up from the strain of what they may bring to the stage. What do you think about that?
FBE - “We’ve heard them play before. They’re a very talented bunch and we’re quite sure that with such a popular tune they will do some serious damage. We’re looking forward to hearing what they do with it and wish them the best of luck. They certainly have our support.”
WST - Your writing has the potential to bring a whole new generation into the Panorama music arena. Do you mind being associated with the so-called label of “Pan Tune” songwriters?
FBE - “We’re songwriters. We try not to confine ourselves to any particular genre of music. It would be difficult for anyone to label us that way because we write so many different types of songs.”
WST - This has already been a monster season for FBE. Should it materialize, what would it mean to have Panorama winning song credits added to your mantel?
FBE - “We’re still coming to terms with all the hype and positive feedback. It would be delightful if that were to happen. It would certainly be most unexpected.”
WST - If time permits, will you be attending Panorama in general? And more specifically, might you be present when the Codrington Pan Family is performing “Vibes Cyah Done”?
FBE - “It certainly is a thought. We’ll definitely catch them on TV. or radio if we’re not there in person. But we really hope to not miss this opportunity.”
WST - As writers, and your perspective - do you conceive when creating/writing – that your target audience is more a local/national market or an international one?
FBE - “We always aim to paint a picture that any and everyone can relate to on some level. That having been said, with Soca music it’s more of a challenge but our desire is to capture a global market.”
WST - The songwriter wields much power and influence; with that comes much responsibility - “the message is in the music;” as you are the narrators of the themes and storylines, ideas - and moreover you have the power to affect the thoughts of those who listen to you, your words - do you feel need to make a comment, or have a responsibility to operate from the premise of social commentary – and/or historical documentation?
FBE - “Music is often used globally as a source of escape from the worries of everyday life. We therefore try to keep away from bringing these worries into the music, hence allowing people free access to their musical escape route.”
WST - To date most of your songs have been “happy” songs and what we call in the industry “feel good music.” As you grow and move forward, are you prepared to tackle music of change, controversy, sometimes pain and discord, similarly to how Michael Jackson, for example, did over his career?
FBE - “As writers we have to be able to capture different moods either through our own experiences or that of others. Soca is generally “feel good music” however we are quite capable of showing versatility in this regard. So far, the Soca songs we wrote were written to music and not before the music was produced. Given the fact that they were mostly fast-paced or up-tempo, they inspired us to write festive/party songs. At times it’s possible to dig deep and find a concept that most writers may not associate with a particular musical piece, but at other times the vibe is just too strong to stray from the obvious.”
WST - When Steel Talks has been privileged to have worked closely with a few Grammy award-winning songwriters and producers. The common thread among them all was the universality of their songs’ messages and human connection. In terms of working your craft, are you there yet? And do you see yourselves one day becoming Grammy award-winning songwriters?
FBE - “There’s always room for improvement. We are confident that the R&B music we do is of a high standard with universal appeal. Soca is not yet universal but we always try to find new ways to widen it’s appeal. With regards to winning a Grammy Award, we have differing views.
Kory: “A very close friend once told me, “The less you sleep; the more you dream.” I have always had dreams of winning a Grammy Award. Countless nights of little to no sleep are responsible for our swift improvement and I am of the firm belief that if we keep up the hard work then it will only be a matter of time before we can achieve an award like this.
Kevon: “I’m sure that if FBE wins any award, especially a Grammy, it would be one of the proudest moments of my life but I don’t feel awards can properly measure success. If it happens, it happens. If not, I can be contented with knowing that my words, through music, have touched others.”
WST - To date, what is your favorite creation - and why?
FBE - “Mr. Fete! Such an interesting story behind this song. Monday 21st November 2011 at approximately 5:00 p.m. Kory gets a call from Machel Montano requesting a writing session that very night for 11:30 p.m. The mission? To create a hit song for release on his birthday, Thursday 24th November 2011. We arrived at the studio at 11:30 p.m. but work only got underway at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Kevon already had the “Mr. Fete” concept and Kasey had the “Feting is we name” idea. Machel, Kasey and the both of us then constructed the song line by line around those themes and by 7:30 a.m. the song was already recorded and ready to mix and master. By midnight Wednesday 23rd November the song was officially released. Mission accomplished.”
WST - The steelpan music fraternity can be a very difficult bunch at times. They are fiercely loyal to their genre, stubborn and resistant to change. What is it about this tune – “Vibes Cyah Done” - that could make even the ardent purist of panorama music admit that if this tune is done properly, there will no contest – ‘lights out’ at the Savannah. Why do you think that is?
FBE - “It is interesting to note that we had not planned to write any Soca tracks for Carnival 2012. That night at the studio when we first heard the instrumental (Antilles Riddim) we were actually there to record one of Kevon’s wedding songs, which we wrote and produced ourselves. Following the session, Kasey Phillips of Precision Productions played some instrumentals for us and this one in particular stood out. Just as the music inspired a change of heart in us, we believe that the Pan fraternity can come to accept and love a change such as this.”
WST - What does the future hold for FBE?
FBE - “Neither of us can say for sure at the moment. We really wish we could. What we do know is that we intend to create good music with international appeal throughout the year. Music is not seasonal and should not be treated as such. It would be a dream come true if our R&B creations can be heard worldwide. Rhythm and Blues is our first love so we definitely intend to put in the hard work in that genre.”
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