Born in the garden parish of St Ann, Busy Signal - born Reanno Gordon - started singing hymns at his Mother's church, which is where he received his first encore. When church was over, Reanno would sit on the corner with his friends and flip the devotional lyrics, until his Mother's guiding hand cautioned him for altering the Lord's songs.
Reanno continued performing at school, beating his fists in time on his desk and deejaying Bounty Killer's songs (he claims to know all of Bounty's lyrics) before progressing to his own material. Since stepping out onto the dancehall scene in 2003, Busy Signal's undeniable talent and lyrical dexterity has taken him quickly to the front of the pack.
Busy's breakout hit single - "Step Out" - was one of dancehall's hottest songs for 2005 and with a thugged-out video to match, it signalled the arrival of dancehall's next superstar.Busy Signal, an alias given to him by a friend because of his constantly busy persona, has always approached his craft from a different perspective, not trodding the usual road of trying to voice on every rhythm out there to try and catch a break.
Instead, Busy chose to record songs with concepts attached to them on purpose-built rhythms. The first such track to catch the attention of a wider audience was "Born and Raised", a song in which Busy Signal reps his birthplace and narrates the gritty realities of Jamaica.
"Even though I was an unknown artist and there was no-one else on the riddim," says Busy, "the track got good airtime which encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing. Producers don't want to give young artists a break more time, so young artists can get stifled.
I just work hard on putting creative flows and melodies together and so far people have been feeling it." Already with a big following worldwide, Busy doesn't see his music as stopping in Jamaica. A slew of Busy Signal mix CDs flooded the streets from Halfway Tree to Brixton to Flatbush and beyond, creating and spreading the hype that lead to Busy being the strongest young artist to emerge from 2005.
Busy's self-production and businesslike approach to the industry has seen him already launch his own label, Network Records. The first releases, "Tell Santa Dis" and "Where I'm From" are distributed worldwide and are selling well.
Although Busy didn't rely on familiar rhythms and producers for a break, he has no problem recording for other labels, such as Renaissance, for whom Busy recorded "Not Going Down," showcasing his singing and deejaying abilities.
Other tracks from Busy include "Because of You," with Tami Chin on the Throwback Giggy beat, "That Bad," and "Pharmacy" for Don Corleon, "Fade Away" for John John and "Too Much Gun," which sees Busy in explosive form, delivering rapid fire lyrics atop the reworked Man Fi Dead (Petty Thief) soundbed.
The end of 2005 saw Busy Signal garner immense critical success from show-stealing appearances on all the major stage shows across Jamaica, including the Smirnoff Experience alongside Sean Paul, Bobby Valentino and others, as well as Island Explosion, Camp Fire and West Kingston Jamboree.
And of course there was the already-legendary debut appearance at 6.45am on the toughest stage in the world - the infamous Sting reggae concert. Busy stepped out in the rising sun adorned in full black and underlined why he is here to stay.
2006 has seen no ease up in Busy's momentum, with a headline grabbing performance at Reggae Sumfest 2006, where he performed solo on Dancehall Night and was also called up by G Unit on International Night.
With successful tours of the UK, the Caribbean and Japan already knocked down and with Step Out breaking new ground on the esteemed Billboard chart, Busy is already being heralded as a new icon in the business.
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