Blackout shines with Nicki Minaj

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer Writer

Thursday, February 16, 2012

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WINSTON 'Blackout' Thomas is on top of the world. The Miami producer's most recent production, Roman Holiday by rapper Nicki Minaj, got prime-time attention at Sunday's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

"It's a blessing to know that the producers of the Grammy Awards selected that track for Nicki to perform at the show. I was ecstatic when I got the news," Thomas told the Observer.

"This is really the height of my career".

Roman Holiday is the first single from the Trinidad-born Minaj's sophomore album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded which is scheduled to be released on April 2. It is not the first time Thomas has worked with the hot Minaj.

"I worked with her on the track Blow Ya Mind which is on her (platinum-selling) debut album Pink Friday. She's a musical genius and she really gets involved in the production of her records," Thomas stated. "She notices every detail of a record and she will change it and change it until its perfect."

Thomas was born in Long Island, New York to Jamaican parents. He said his mother is from Kingston while his father hails from Mandeville.

His entry into music seemed inevitable as his father was a sound system selector.

"I started out as a DJ and I fell in love with the production aspect of making records from an early age," Thomas said. "When I got my first real job, I saved my money and purchased an MPC 2000. I would lock myself in a room for about a month and taught myself everything."

Thomas' first hit record was rapper MIMS' This is Why I'm Hot (which featured veteran reggae singer Junior Reid on a remix). The record would surge to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and opened a lot of doors for the budding producer.

"I was very surprised when This is Why I'm Hot took off," Thomas reflected. "When I created the beat I thought, 'how I could make this record so DJ-friendly that they had no choice to play it'."

He added: "When it was done, all I knew is that I made a hell of a DJ-friendly record. I had no clue it would've dominated the charts especially with a new artiste but thank God it did."

Thomas' other production credits include tracks for Miami-based rapper Pit Bull, American rapper Flo Rida, pop/R&B singer Jason DeRulo, rappers Trina, Fabolous, Bun B & UGK, BOB, Qwote, and Ja Rule.

He has also worked with reggae and dancehall acts including Serani, Red Rat, Junior Reid, Cham, Mr Vegas, Ky-mani Marley, Ultimate, Justin Anthony, Kevin Lloyd, and Barrington Levy.

Songs from pop singer Sean Kingston, American rapper B O B, Qwote, and upcoming singer Justin Anthony are some of Thomas' new productions.

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