Team Embassador: Team Work

The movement began almost a decade ago, and finally big tings a gwan! Team Embassador, also known as “Team Everybody,” brings all types of music together to form a style that has nothing typical about it. They have opened for acts like billboard chart-topper Ne-Yo, and the Team has been successful in tailoring their performances […]

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The movement began almost a decade ago, and finally big tings a gwan! Team Embassador, also known as “Team Everybody,” brings all types of music together to form a style that has nothing typical about it. They have opened for acts like billboard chart-topper Ne-Yo, and the Team has been successful in tailoring their performances to the audience and reserve specific songs for certain categories of crowds. This is all part of their plan for worldwide domination. Never claiming one specific sound, Team Embassador goes from alternative, roots reggae to West Indies’ flavors of soca and dancehall to Hip-Hop, bassline driven beats. Their eyes are on the bigger picture of building a passionate and powerful fan base, domestically and internationally. Team Embassador has albums in the wings and is ready to sound off with their current project, System Overload. Alternatives: Before your recent deal with Lightyear/EMI, did you have any independent releases? R-DeLeon: In ’98 we had a m### single out called “Truth for Truth.” It was more like, when we were first trying to figure out what we were going to do as Team Embassador. It was more of a Hip-Hop record. It didn’t have much of a reggae vibe. We did it on an independent [label].AHHA: What kind of buzz did that create? R-DeLeon: It was cool. We just never had an album to follow up with it until now. We moved about 5,000 of the m### singles. AHHA: Did you drop that in the West Indies? R-DeLeon: Nah, we moved those units in the US. That was more of a Hip-Hop record, which we were pushing [in the U.S.]. AHHA: Were you more focused on breaking Team Embassador in the States or in the West Indies? B-Tizzy: When I was in the Caribbean, I used to dance, so I was known for that there first. Then the music came after, but I already had a name for the dancing so it helped with the whole movement. R-DeLeon: We had some mixtapes that we pushed in the islands more than the m###-single, which we focused on the American audience. AHHA: How did you secure the deal with Lightyear/EMI? B-Tizzy: We just got there and showed them what we mean; we mean business. R-DeLeon: Yeah, ‘cause we got product ready to go, and it’s not like we do one style of music. We fused a lot together, so we always have something going on. We went in [EMI] on Friday, had our s*** together, and then had the deal on Monday. AHHA: Your music seems to be a combo of all varieties of sounds – of course reggae being the foundation. How would you describe it? B-Tizzy: World music…best of both worlds. R-DeLeon: Best of all worlds! AHHA: How do you plan to win over the Hip-Hop community, being that you’re not doing the typical reggae/dancehall records, which have always been able to ride side by side with Hip-Hop? Are you concerned with being accepted? B-Tizzy: Really and truthfully, I’m not really concerned too much because music is music. If they like it, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t. There’s always a market there for it. R-DeLeon: Being that I do most of the rapping on most of the stuff, my thing is that nowadays they’re saying Hip-Hop is dead, but it’s not. It’s just evolved into something else now. A whole new group of young kids are listening to music right now, and they’re actually more open-minded. They just want good music and to be entertained. For Hip-Hop, you have to be able to rhyme and perform. That’s one thing Team Embassador has. We give a great show. AHHA: Who’s your target audience? R-DeLeon: All of them! We’re not in nobody’s box. We own everything; we’re independent. We can do whatever we want. AHHA: I heard a song called “That’s What’s Up,” which has an alternative/rock feel. Do you think your audience is going to be confused when they hear this joint versus “Island Girl,” which is of a Caribbean style?  R-DeLeon: We are not going after one audience. Everyone’s not gonna like everything. We just want to have something for everyone – where they might have songs that they like. “Island Girl,” we had to have an island girl since we’re from the islands. If it sounds good, even if it’s not your thing, we might win a new fan. We’re not going after just one group of people, and we’re going to create our own market if we have to. Now in Hip-Hop, people are too scared to be different and concentrate on falling in with everyone else. We aren’t doing that – so we’ll just get put in whatever genre as long as it’s good music. AHHA: When you drop your first video, who will be more inclined to air it first: BET or MTV? R-DeLeon: I don’t think it matters, but it depends on which video we do first. If it’s “Wave It,” BET will pick it up first. If it’s “That’s What’s Up,” MTV will play it. B-Tizzy: You just never know who will like us. AHHA: Who are you working with in terms of production? R-DeLeon: We do mostly everything in house, because we are introducing a new sound…a lot of new and different sounds. AHHA: Are you collaborating with any particular artists? R-DeLeon: We are working with mostly independent artists that were on our mixtapes. We’re working with some singers. We wrote everything on the album and co-produced it. Everything we did on there – it came from us. Nobody else did it. Ya don’t know. AHHA: You guys just opened up for Ne-Yo in NYC. How did that come about? R-DeLeon: Hmmmmm. How did that come about? Well we opened up for Tyrese, and Trey Songz and from that we got hooked up with that. We bring a certain energy. If we weren’t that good, they wouldn’t have us on.  AHHA: How does an audience that traditionally buys Ne-Yo and Trey Songz albums respond to you when you come out on stage? B-Tizzy: You really want to know? [laughs] R-DeLeon: Tell her! Tell her!B-Tizzy: Once they hear it and see all the entertaining going on, they love it. It brings more excitement. R-DeLeon: We also don’t do certain songs if it’s an R&B show. We do more Hip-Hop records and get the fans involved. AHHA: Let’s say you’re scheduled to perform, but due to lame acts prior to your appearance, the audience has grown discontent and unhappy. How do you bring the positive energy back and regain the confidence of the crowd? R-DeLeon: It’s the Team yo! The energy and anticipation needs to be there. They try not to put us first, ’cause if the energy doesn’t maintain after us, the whole show goes down. Actually there’s a lot of people that don’t want to do shows with us right now because of that. They just can’t follow up after the Team. We were at S.O.B.’s and it was a cool vibe, but once we got on stage they were screaming for us and it was a predominately Hip-Hop show – when they were just talking about shoot ’em up, bang bang five minutes ago. We came to do two songs and had the crowd cheering for more. People respect it, ‘cause we don’t fake it. Everything we do is natural. You have to be there! Especially if we bring the band out! It’s over! Team Embassador is about fun and entertainment. We do it all for the ladies. Sorry fellas! [laughs]AHHA: Is there a special artist that you enjoy watching perform? R-DeLeon: Busta Rhymes. Busta and Clef [Wyclef] and Team Embassador; that would be a great show! AHHA: Do you feel like you have any competition in the game? R-DeLeon: No. B-Tizzy: Yeah I got competition…with Team Embassador! They can bring Michael[Jackson] out, and we’re still going to do our thing. AHHA: What’s your role in the music industry? What position does Team Embassador play? R-DeLeon: I hate to say this, but we’re changing something. I know people always say that, but we’re not doing anything that everyone else is doing in Hip-Hop. We got something for everyone. B-Tizzy: We’re trying to do our thing. We got four albums ready to go, and we’re ready to blast off. AHHA: Is there any specific message about your project that your fans should know? B-Tizzy: A message we’re sending is, “Yo everyone, just be happy.” Not all this bang bang on the corner, disrespect ya mother, disrespect ya father. When you don’t even know what they went through, and sometimes it takes a real man to say that. Everybody needs to have fun. Put all that down. R-DeLeon: “There ain’t no I in Team.” We are not trying to go after nobody, specifically. We just like to have fun, and that’s what System Overload is about. We literally have something on there for everybody.