Entertainment

The Dale Virgo story

Musician, producer talks about his work

By Kevin Jackson Observer Writer

Friday, July 11, 2014    

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TEN years ago, Dale Virgo was a student at the University of Technology, a teenaged 'techie' with big dreams of making it in the music business.

Today, the 29-year-old musician/producer is studio manager and resident engineer at Gee Jam studio in Port Antonio.

There, he has worked with a number of high-profile acts such as Rihanna (on Crazy Little Thing Called Love); British band Florence and The Machine, Canadian rapper Drake, Sean Kingston, Cee Lo Green and Amy Winehouse.

A project close to Virgo's heart is resurgent mento band, the Jolly Boys whose Great Expectation album he produced and played percussion.

"I bring experience, versatility, diversity (to producing) and I am not afraid to try new things. I have produced traditional church hymns to the most hardcore dancehall songs," he told Splash.

A self-taught engineer, Virgo's entry into production came with gospel. He co-produced the Gospel Fe Share 'riddim' in 2004, followed by the Spiritual War compilation in 2005 and Spirit Scription (2006).

His big breakthrough, however, was secular. Virgo created the beat for Gyptian's 2004 song Serious Times which opened the door for him to work with other dancehall artistes like Queen Ifrica, D'Angel and Ce'Cile.

Working with international acts, he pointed out, has helped improve his production skills.

"I have learned to accept the dedication to their craft and detail to bringing music to its perfection. I have seen artistes spend days working on one song, and the outcome is an international hit. These experiences over and over have changed my outlook and the way I approach working on music," he said.

Dale Antou Tonye Ian Virgo was born in Kingston but grew up in Portmore, St Catherine and attended Excelsior High School.

While at Excelsior, he developed an interest, which grew when he enrolled at the University of Technology to study computer and information technology, and later at Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts.

"Music production has always been an interest of mine, I was always fascinated with studios and recording," he said. "In the early 2000s when there was an internet boom, I used the Internet to research and study music," he recalled. "My involvement with computers made it easier since at the time I got into music, most of it was being technologised."

Virgo's latest project is another riddim, the Perfect Key, which has songs by Christopher Martin, Chronixx, Angele Smith and Sophia Squire.

He is also working on the new Jolly Boys album, as well as the debut album for the Mike's All Stars Jazz Band.

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