Serani: Big Tings

Dancehall music has made a major impact on pop culture in the past and continues to do so today with veteran DJ’s like Beenie Man and Elephant Man, as well as newer artists like Mavado, Busy Signal and many others. There’s always one breakout leader of the newbie pack, however, that garners massive attention with […]

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Dancehall music has

made a major impact on pop culture in the past and continues to do so today

with veteran DJ’s like Beenie Man and Elephant Man, as well as newer artists

like Mavado, Busy Signal and many others. There’s always one breakout leader of

the newbie pack, however, that garners massive attention with crossover singles

that stay in constant radio rotation. This year producer turned singer Serani,

one of the founders of Jamaican production team Deseca, takes on that role with

ease. Serani is responsible for many crossover Jamaican artists’ hit singles

including Sean Paul, Tony Matterhorn and Mavado to name a few. Here Serani

discusses his career’s early beginnings, how becoming a singer was in the back

of his mind and why he’s trying to get all the girls on his side.

Alternatives: How do you feel

about the mainstream recognition you’ve been receiving lately?


Serani: Well, I have mixed feelings, because the kind

of songs that I make, I make them with the intentions that they’re gonna

crossover to the mainstream. And at the same time come on, my song is playing

on Hot97 [laughs]. That’s like wow you know? I expect it, but at the same time

it’s a dream come true.


AHHA: Who were some of the artists you listened to

growing up?


Serani: Countless – Bob Marley, Tracy Chapman,

Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men. Everybody that’s good basically. As

far as Jamaican – Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Barrington Levy, Ini Kamoze,

Snow. Anything out of this world where you’re like “what the hell is that?”


AHHA: Tell us about Deseca and how it came about.


Serani: Deseca was formed when I told my partners

[Craig and David] that I wanted to start a studio. I guess the whole thing came

about because I’ve been playing piano from when I can remember myself. And I

never stopped loving it. I was obsessed in a sense. Basically, anybody that I

knew that was playing piano when I was a kid, they stopped and I never did. I

knew them when I was nine, but we became real friends in ’98. Music just never

stopped trying to take me over. And in 2001 we started the crew.


AHHA: What were some of Deseca’s big hits?


Serani: “Anger Management” Riddim, which is what buss

out Mavado with “Dreamin,” “Dying,” “Bad Man Place,” Tony Matterhorn’s “Dutty



AHHA: What separates Deseca from other production



Serani: I’m gonna speak for my partners; they don’t

like to say that they make Dancehall Reggae, they just make music. I would say

obviously we have a Reggae influence, but just making music for the world is what

we’re trying to do. We try to make music in a way that anybody around the world

can relate to, feel, enjoy and dance to.


AHHA: Which song produced by Deseca are you most

proud of?


Serani: Between “Anger Management” and “Dying.” “Anger

Management” is what got us our name; made us hit producers. We went from

nothing to something. “Dying” was a big breakthrough for Mavado and me you



AHHA: Tell us about the Alliance and how you became



Serani: Julian, Bounty Killer and Mavado’s manager, at

one time was Busy Signal’s manager; he’s now my manager. He buck-up on me as a

good musician. We started doing business together, and then over the years we

became friends. I said to him that I wanted to start a band. I used to play for

Wayne Marshall in 2002 and I told him that I wanted to start a band for ‘Killer

because ‘Killer was in band trouble.


After a while I

started pressuring Julian to let me do this. So really and truly that’s how it

happened. ‘Killer recorded an “Anger Management” beat and then in 2005 I

started playing for him. It was automatic the kind of love that ‘Killer gave us

on the “Anger Management” beat; even when we did the video him came there and

he stayed for like almost the whole shoot and basically it was an Alliance

video. When he supported us, everybody followed because you know he’s the

leader of the Alliance.


AHHA: How do you feel about your role in Mavado’s

mainstream success? Particularly with “Dying.”


Serani: Everything that I’m doing is what I want

Mavado to do. When we did the “Dying” track, I knew what was gonna happen. I

knew it was gonna be a song that could cross over. But I don’t know exactly

what happened or why they didn’t push it anymore. I do know that it was

accepted and well received. When it didn’t move any further, I was p#####. I

was like f*ck that sh*t.


It just got me more

upset because with Jamaican music, producers not making any money unless you

crossing over and unless the record is really big outside of Jamaica. The

artist is whose gonna make the money. I did the Sean Paul “We Be Burnin’” song

and that did a lot for me financially. And I’m looking at that like how am I

gonna keep up with that? How am I gonna continue?


AHHA: When you choose to work with an artist, someone

who may be known in Jamaica but not necessarily in the States, what do you look



Serani: Somebody that can do Jamaican music, but can

be a pop artist. I have no time to waste making dumb-ass sh*t that’s not gonna

make no money. I’m trying to make money for the business; I’m trying to make

Dancehall music world music. That’s my ultimate goal.


AHHA: Has singing always been an interest of yours?


Serani: Back-door in the back of my mind. I thought

about it, but not for any time. I used to be upset sometimes that I wasn’t

singing from earlier. I had a formula from a long time, and I knew that it

could work. The more and more I produced, the more and more I mastered my

formula. I think timing was perfect.


But it definitely

wasn’t something in the front of my mind. “Dying” had a big part to do with it

because that was me fooling around. I was making a beat, I wanted a vocal like

a sample kind of thing and I said “let me do something different” ‘cause I’m

always trying to do something different.


So I went in the

voice room and started doing some sh*t, listening back to the beat and said “this

beat is crap.” So I started playing another beat around the sample. The sample

was the first thing really and then I made the beat around my voice. And when I

sit down in front of the speakers and pressed play, I was like damn. Who better

to call than Mavado? So I called him and started fooling around with it; he

didn’t know it was going to be that big.


After time I

realized it was my voice that made the song and the beat was just the baddest

beat. So playing with the idea, making beats and trying to come up with hooks,

by no means never see myself as a writer. Craig and David my partners were even

better at it than me. In May of 2007, that’s when God just threw the talent in

me [laughs].


AHHA: Of the songs you’ve recorded so far, which

song is your favorite?


Serani: I have four favorites: “Mama Still Hungry”

because that’s my story in a sense. “No Games” because its exactly what I wanna

do in terms of the direction I want things to go. “She loves Me” and “Naked.”

The three girl songs are party songs and I’ve touched on the topic of love and



AHHA: If you can work with any Hip-Hop artist or

producer, which ones do you think will compliment your sound best?


Serani: T-Pain, Akon, R.Kelly…


AHHA: T-Pain, really?


Serani: Yeah he’s the best…right now. He has the best



AHHA: So if he came on your track with the Auto-Tune…


Serani: That’s just him, but he’s gonna hit and I have

no doubt about that.


AHHA: So just strictly people that are gonna bring



Serani: Yea, why would I record with somebody who’s

not gonna bring a hit? That’s a waste of my time. I don’t have time to buss

something that’s not worth bussin’. Because I see myself as a hit, so what’s

the point? If somebody’s not gonna hit that means they shouldn’t be doing



AHHA: You’ll be surprised; there’s a lot of people

putting out music just to put it out.


Serani: Yea exactly I don’t have time for that.


AHHA: So you seem like a pretty easygoing guy.

However there’s a track on The Future album called “Not A Badman”.


Serani: I knew you were gonna talk about that



AHHA: Have you had any confrontations?


Serani: No, “Not A Badman” is straightforward; I’m not

a bad man. In other words, leave me alone or I should say leave me the f*ck

alone. I’m not coming at you, I’m all about girls, but at the same time don’t

mess with me. I’m just trying my best to avoid situations I’m an easygoing

dude. I’m really and truly saying that I’m not a bad man, I’m not evil, mi no

buss gun and kill people. I go as far as telling I’m an uptown kid. That says a

lot, but it’s real to me. That song was so easy to write.


AHHA: You did an interview recently and you were

asked if you can choose to be any type of superhero, what would your name be? And

you said “Get Girl Man.” Care to elaborate more on that?


Serani: [laughing hysterically] I don’t believe I said

that. Mi a idiot ya know? That’s just me keeping it real. It sounds along the

lines of my thoughts; but to me violence and this whole bad man front don’t

make no sense and it’s a waste of time. It only gets you killed and you make

less money. Girls to me, that’s where the money is in the music business.


AHHA: They buy more albums…


Serani: Right, so I’m all about getting the girls on

my side. So I guess that’s what Get Girl Man means…what? What were you thinkin’?


AHHA: Nothing at all…anything else you want to add?


Serani: All of ya’ll haters, all of you people that

don’t like Dancehall music, we got something coming for you. It’s not just Serani,

it’s Jamaica.


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