All in the family

Bolt draws on cousin to produce début rhythm

Observer senior reporter

Sunday, July 07, 2019

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When track and field legend Usain Bolt inked a deal with French champagne house GH Mumm to produce his own line of 'bubbly' called Olympe Rosé the retired athlete and his team huddled and considered ingenious ways of introducing the product to his Jamaican audience. The result was to launch a dancehall rhythm with the same name and invite some of music's top act to voice on the beat.

With his celebrity status, Bolt had his pick of all the popular, hit-making music producers in the land to come up with the rhythm. Instead, he drew on the talents of his up-and-coming producer cousin Rajah “Pluggs” Nelson to create the soundtrack of the newest champagne available locally.

Nelson, who is also from Sherwood Content, the same community in Trelawny as the double world-record holder, was naturally overjoyed when he was given what he deemed to be the opportunity of a lifetime.

“They said they wanted a rhythm for a project that they were working on. They gave me the details... champagne, olympic, celebratory so I just went from there. I know what Usain likes musically. He's into uptempo, party vibe kinda songs, so I sent them a few beats and they chose what suited them and the product. It was a fun process, but at the same time mind-blowing to see it all come to life and be part of the recordings. As an upcoming producer it really helped me a lot to understand the business and has definitely helped me to get new contacts. I now have a certain amount of leverage in the business. It's kinda hard for up-coming producers to reach out to artistes and now because of this everything has changed and people are now coming to me,” he shared with the Jamaica Observer.

There are currently five artistes on the rhythm — Munga, Chris Martin, former national footballer Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner, Ding Dong, and Dexta Daps.

Having tasted the success of this project, Nelson, who admires the work of contemporaries such as Stephen McGregor, Don Corleone and Dave Kelly, also has a wish list of artistes he would like to work with.

“For nostalgia sake I remember going home from church on Saturdays and would hear some dances being set up and I would hear some Spragga Benz and Baby Cham, so they are on the top of the bucket list for now just because of their sound. I also like Koffee so she's on the list too,” he shared.

For Bolt, Olympe Rosé (the rhythm) was just the ideal way to bring the champagne to the market.

“The rhythm was made just to launch the champagne. Pretty much we just wanted to do something different so we said why not a rhythm, but me an Mumm been working together for about four years and it's been a wonderful thing. When we said we wanted to make a champagne they agreed and we just did it. For me dancehall; is dancehall all over the world everybody love it , but I just wanted to put my champagne in it because a lot of people don't drink a lot of champagne.”

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