Who Knew? Mr Easy stopped doubting himself at Apollo Theatre | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Mr Easy will be part of a Madhouse Tribute at this year’s Reggae Sumfest, alongside Frisco Kidd and Spragga Benz.

Born in Kingston, Mr Easy, given name Ian Dyer, grew up in east Kingston and Trelawny listening to musical heroes like Dennis Brown and roots deejay Brigadier Jerry. He migrated to the US at age 15 but kept in tune with his roots through New York City’s vibrant reggae scene.

It was at one of the Big Apple’s great landmarks that he first shone. He performed on talent shows at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theatre and caught the eyes of scouts from Warner Bros who signed him to Quincy Jones’ Qwest Records.

One album, ‘1995’s Call Me Mr Easy’, came from that partnership.

The hitmaker is best known for ‘Drive Me Crazy’ (2001) on Tony Kelly’s ‘Buy Out’ riddim. The song appeared on the soundtrack for the movie ‘After the Sunset’, starring Pierce Brosnan, while another hit, ‘Bashment Time’ with Frisco Kid on the ‘Bookshelf’ riddim, appeared on the ‘Belly’ movie soundtrack.

The singer’s other hits include ‘Funny Man’ with Baby Cham (Joyride riddim), ‘Rain Again’ (Showtime riddim), and ‘Ah Who?’ (Rae Rae riddim). His latest album ‘Legendary’, released in 2020, includes songs like ‘Guarantee’, ‘Conquer the World’, and ‘No Chances’.

Mr Easy sat down with Loop News for this week’s Loop Entertainment feature “Who Knew?“.

Loop Entertainment: What do you remember most about your performance at Apollo Theatre that launched your career?

Mr Easy: What I remember most is how I doubted myself so much. I didn’t realise I was so good. When the people started jumping for joy, it opened my eyes to the fact that I had talent, that’s what gave me the confidence, just the way the people reacted to me.

There is an R&B culture there and it was such an inspiration, this validation that I am really good; as a person of a different culture, it gave me the courage and confidence to keep going.

Loop Entertainment: What was your scariest experience amid the coronavirus pandemic?

Mr Easy: My scariest experience during the pandemic was when I caught COVID-19 and heard the reports of people dying. It was really scary when I saw the days going by, and at first, I was going through the motions, I was just praying that the next day I don’t get worse, and when I started getting better, I knew the worst had passed. There was a lot of relief at that time.

Loop Entertainment: Are you looking forward to your Reggae Sumfest performance as part of the Madhouse Tribute?

Mr Easy: I am looking forward to it. Remember when all of us as artistes used to be on stage and we used to gang it, that vibe deh, we don’t see that no more. I am looking forward to people seeing who Mr Easy really is and differentiate my songs from Wayne Wonder songs; nuff songs dem think say a Wayne do it.

Loop Entertainment: You worked with Dave Kelly extensively in the past, what is your relationship like with him today?

Mr Easy: I haven’t spoken to Dave in 10 years. We don’t have that kind of relationship. When we see each other, it is cool; we don’t have that type of relationship where we reach out to each other. He is a different type of person, he’s in his own space; he is not fussy, just a youth that has a personality who he really is.

Loop Entertainment: What is your best advice to the new generation of trap dancehall artistes?

Mr Easy: My advice to them is to mix it up. If you want to hit a global market, hit different markets… you want to go into Spanish cultures and see a wider audience in attendance when it comes to you. You have to do dancehall. I am not saying that you nuh fi do what you do, you have to do what you love, but in terms of your career, you have to mix it up.

Right now, I am doing some reggae, which has a bigger market worldwide.

Loop Entertainment: Why do you consider ‘Drive Me Crazy’ your biggest song?

Mr Easy: Anywhere I go with ‘Drive Me Crazy’, I have not closed my set with another song when I am doing a show.

Most people who see me, that’s what they know me by. Is not really me, is what the people dem say. Ninety per cent of the people I meet, ‘Drive Me Crazy’ is their favourite song.

Loop Entertainment: What’s the latest on your lawsuit against Afrobeats artiste Mr Eazi?

Mr Easy: I can’t say much about it because it is before the courts. Everything is cool right now, I feel much better in my situation. I think it’s going well. I am hoping for the best. It is what it is.

By Claude Mills