Antiguan producer – and vocalist and photographer – Jus Bus continues to make tracks across the musical globe, producing for some of the biggest names in the business.
On the Beach, for instance, is a feel good summer track performed by Florida-based, Jamaican Trevor Off Key or DJ Bambino as he’s also known. The video for this track features among others, Jamaican sports icon Usain Bolt.
Smoke the Weed, on Snoop Lion, formerly Snoop Dogg’s, Reincarnation CD, finds Jus Bus sharing producer duties with Supa Dups of Black Chiney Sounds out of Jamaica and Diplo of Major Lazer, a US dancehall/DJ project. That pro-cannabis track features Collie Buddz, a Louisiana born, Bermuda raised reggae artiste.
Choose up, meanwhile, finds him mixing it up with Jamaica’s Jah Cure and Philly’s Jazmine Sullivan; the romantic track is on Cure’s World Cry CD.
The Gyal Season Riddim he did with Bambino, he said, has also caught a lot of momentum with the help of Kes the Band’s cut on the project entitled Tuesday on the Rocks, which recently made it to VP Records’ Reggae Gold 2013. Other artistes riding that particular rhythm are You Got What I Need singer and current The Voice cast member Tessanne Chin; Etana in a collaboration, Love Love Love, with Busy Signal, which also has another track, Girls Tonight, on the Riddim. Spragga Benz, Tanya Stephens, and Antigua’s Drastic also have cuts on the Gyal Season Riddim.
Then there is Sweet Box’s new album Zeitgeist21 or #Z21 featuring Jus Bus’ frequent collaborator and well known Antiguan lyricist and rapper, LogiQ. Jus Bus said he worked with Torsten Stenzel on a track, All 4 Love, a song that features LogiQ and, also of Antigua, Asher Otto, alongside Japan’s Miho Fukuhara.
“I also did a lot of drum programming on several tracks for that album, as well as some vocal performing myself on a new version of Sometimes I that features new vocals by Miho Fukuhara and a classical string section added to the production; it’s called Alone for the album,” Jus Bus revealed.
He continues to work on tracks closer to home as well; Ricardo Drue’s Dreaming featuring Drastic, for instance. But the busy producer expressed the desire to “reach everybody, not just one demographic”. He is currently working on projects for a number of artistes including, among others, Bunji Garlin, Kes the Band, and Jah Cure – with whom he also did a vocal collaboration on the track Kings, which may drop in 2014.
He added, “I’m also working on a remix for Chronixx and experimenting on instrumental ideas with David Rodigan, reproducing old reggae concepts from the Studio One era in Jamaica.”
Still the young producer is hesitant to say too much about the future because, “one minute you’ll have someone on your track then the next they pull out or push it to the side and you gotta figure something new out”.
Suffice it to say that he has big dreams: “I don’t even think I’m tipping the iceberg yet and I’ve been in this game for over nine years and counting,” Jus Bus said. “I’m only now, this year, gaining some momentum with the high profile collaborations I’ve managed to gain under my belt.”
He keeps it real, noting that a life in music isn’t for the impatient nor is it for anyone unwilling to put in the time. You have to weather the downs in anticipation of the ups, like a call from Sony letting you know that they want to offer you a contract for something you submitted six months ago.
“I still struggle with making a living out of music,” Jus Bus admitted, “but that’s the choice I made career wise. I already knew what I was getting myself into. So once I stay watering my trees I will eventually be able to bear the fruit that manifests from these trees. Now these metaphorical fruit I speak of isn’t just monetary … but something to be proud of, something that will inspire people mentally and emotionally. I honestly wanna leave a legacy of music and creativity for our island and the world that will live forever.”
So he continues to create and network – that’s how the collaborations happen, and often he doesn’t even work in the same space with the people he’s working with. Every now and again though they manage to get together: “Jah Cure and Busy Signal were here for the last Labour day show and we all ended up in the studio vibing on music together with LoqiQ Pryce and other members of Busy Signal & Jah Cures Camp,” he said. “It’s just a matter of consistency really and using any and every outlet you can to make the music.”
You might be wondering at this point though what’s become of Jus Bus’ own musical project, for which his Blasting Away track and video was a teaser. That’s been shelved due to lack of funds. “So for now,” he said, “I’m focusing on my music production career and my photography.”
Yes, he’s ventured into this new direction with the help of Shelly Chadburn, a South Africa born photographer, graphic designer and art director, resident in Antigua.
“She took a liking to my creative eye and gave me a chance to come in on jobs with her,” Jus Bus said. “She really inspired me and helped me build my confidence as a photographer.”
In all areas of creativity, the US born, Antiguan made artiste seems committed to pushing the boundaries, working with musicians who “are passionate and serious people that aren’t afraid to experiment and dig deep into the musical potential they have.”
At the same time, putting Antigua on the map: “(to take) our island places it’s never been musically and to inspire people with my creativity and my evolution as a creative person.”
Clearly, Jus Bus has found his path; the thing is, he said, to “figure out what you wanna do and go for it, even if it seems impossible; protect yourself, and love everything you do in life and figure out how to make a living off it.”
He’s doing just that.