What was the inspiration behind this album?
Chino: Just bringing back real music to the game. Bringing back the whole vibe of making a real album in the sense of the work as opposed to a compilation of singles that are already out there which is typical of most Jamaican albums, so it's real music. The vibe isn't in a box so to speak or one track. There are different elements. I mean the root and the basis of it is reggae and dancehall but you hear hints of R&B or hip hop, you hear hints of pop, hints of rock, alternative, you'll hear hints of jazz. So it's real music. There's something on it for everybody.
I know that your brother Stephen, known as Di Genius, is a
producer in the industry. Did he work with you on this album?
Chino: Yea. Actually he produced the whole album.
So what was that like working with your brother? Are you strictly business
or do you guys joke around?
Chino: I mean our relationship is not a strict business relationship. We live literally where the studio is. The studio is in the back of the house so we stay working together, collectively. So as a team it’s not just a strict business relationship. We just go in the studio and vibe and just bounce ideas off each other. We just make magic.
And Big Ship is the name of the studio?
One of your singles on the album is I Am. And what was the
writing thought process behind that song?
Chino: The beat basically is the way for the lyrics and the direction. Instantly when I heard the beat I was like woah! The accordion we heard it and it had that French vibe, that French dialogue on the intro. And it's definitely something for the ladies. Definitely one of those club bangers and it's a funny track.
I know that you're the son of Freddie McGregor so what was life like
for you growing up musically?
Chino: I think I could say my up growing contributed a lot to where I am right now. We always had a home studio so we got that early exposure just observing the artists, the producers, the musicians, that whole creative and recording process. We got early touring exposure and experience. So we got that at an early stage. We took notes from Pops as far as the business side of music, leading by example; we just observe him and take notes.
So then how did you start your career in music?
Chino: Well, my own experience, I started professionally in '99. That's when I really decided to do music professionally. I got my first hit in '99 local in Jamaica, (on) a song called Leggo Di Bwoy with another dancehall act called Kiprich. Fast forward to early or mid 2000 - Red Bull and Guinness, then to hits like Inna Di Club, Girls Dem Straight, and my catalog kept growing from that.
Aside from working with Kiprich, have you worked with any other reggae/dancehall
artist - - name a few that you have worked with?
Chino: Yea, definitely. Quite a few. Most of the who's who in music because real recognize real. We're out there on the forefront and a lot of artists want to link up and collaborate on projects so definitely we work with a lot. I can't really list out everyone but we work with most of the who’s who in the game.
Acts like Wayne Marshall, Future Fambo, Elephant Man, Steve Di Genius of course.
Will you be touring this summer?
Chino: Yea, most definitely. We have a busy summer. The schedule is looking real busy. We'll be doing 2.5/3 weeks in the US, starting the first couple days in June. The 2nd I think to be exact and we'll be doing east coast and west coast. We have some Canadian dates lined up, some European dates lined up, Caribbean. So yea were looking forward to a busy summer, a busy year.
Going forward besides touring, what can we expect from you in the future?
Chino: Just doing what I’m doing now on more of a wide scale level... emphasis on making good music, great music, music with lasting power. That it won't be hot just today or for this year or the next 2 years. Down the line, 15 years from now, 20 years from now these songs that were making can still be relevant