Busy Signal: Mr Versatile Extraordinaire

Written by: David Lawrence

Although dancehall is his foundation and base, Reanno Gordon a.k.a Busy Signal has been busy, throughout his career incorporating other genres into his music. Ever since the release of his mega successful album D.O.B., the versatility of Busy Signal was apparent. On that album Busy Signal fused R&B and dancehall in ‘Nightshift’ and ‘One More Night’; two of his biggest and most recognizable songs to date. These demonstrated his singing ability and made him a superstar in the Caribbean and beyond overnight. In that album, Busy, as he is affectionately called, ventured even into Latin music to create a very successful track aptly called ‘Busy Latino’. Furthermore, to show that he is a man of many talents, he included a soca track called ‘Pincante’ in the album.

Busy is no stranger to soca, in 2011 he released ‘Touch De Road’ and ‘Get Outta My Way’ and as these were well received in Trinidad, he continues to make Soca music and has become a regular on the Soca Scene. He is now highly sort after for collaborative work by many Soca artist. One such successful collab is ‘Touchdown’ with Kerwin De Bois. Other top Soca artist who has worked with Busy includes Machel Montano and Skinny Fabulous. In 2018 he did a remix of Ravi BStart Over’ adding his distinct voice to what is a chutney soca song; elevating it to another level.

Like many secular reggae and dancehall artist, Busy Signal decided early in his career to add some gospel and spiritual songs to his music catalog. ‘Why I sing,’ ‘Peace Reign,’ Praise and Worship’, and ‘Jah Love’, all display another side of his musical artistry and give us a glimpse into his other side.

With an eclectic ear for rhythms, Busy Signal, after touring many African countries, started to incorporate indigenous African rhythms in his music. Like everything Busy touches, these Afrobeat releases have been quite successful and has placed him in a class by himself. The most popular are ‘Professionally’, ‘Bou Yah’ and the recently released ‘Expensive Order’. He has also participated in the remix of Nigerian PatorankingMy Woman’ featuring Machel Montano of Trinidad & Tobago and Wande Coal of Nigeria; this has become a mega hit.

 

It is in the telling of the story of the Gambler, a country western song made popular by country superstar Kenny Rogers, where Busy Signal versatility shines. Yes Mr. versatile dabbled in country music too. He was part of the collaborative album ‘Reggae’s Gone Country’ in which he sang ‘The Gambler’. In his cover of that song, his tone, articulation and connection with the lyrics rivals that of Kenny Rogers who is one of the best country singers ever. This is demonstrative of Busy signal singing ability and versatility.

Busy Signal continues to expand his appeal through collaboration and experimenting with other genres. Working with the rock artist No Doubt on the track ‘Push And Shove’ featuring Major Lazer (an American electronic dance music trio) exposed him to a different set of fans. Additionally, he was featured in a dance track call ‘Jump’ by Major Lazer. He also played around with hip hop in the 2014 track ‘All in One’ where he freestyled to the beat of – Biggie Smalls [Notorious] – ‘Juicy’Puff Daddy [Diddy] & Nas – ‘You Can Hate Me Now’50 Cent – ‘Go Shorty – It’s Your Birthday’.

Busy continues to dominate the dancehall charts this year with singles from his soon to be release album ‘Parts of the Puzzle’. Recent hits include, ‘Stay So,’ ‘One Way’ and newest release, ‘Got To Tell You.’ But the song that has stood out to me is ‘Great Men’ where Busy came home to an unadulterated reggae beat to deliver conscious lyrics that praises some of the black freedom fighters of our time. This song is an indication of his maturity and evolution.

 

Busy Signal is now a trend setter in Caribbean music, We at Caribbean Entertainment Hub hope that he recognizes the significance of this role and endeavors not only to innovate but to take the music to higher heights placing emphasis on positive lyrics. We wish Busy all the best with the release of his new album.

The Versatility of Busy Signal

1. Sweet Love (Night Shift) Busy Signal 0:45
2. Busy Latino Busy Signal 0:45
3. Touch Road Busy Signal 0:45
4. Why I Sing Busy Signal 0:45
5. Professionally Busy Signal 0:45
6. The Gambler Busy Signal 0:45
7. Stay so Busy Signal 0:45
8. Great Men Busy signal 0:45

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