Friday, 9 March 2012

ON THE RECORD: Chino riffs on longevity, Yendi, and new objectives

PITCH PERFECT: "Fans respect and appreciate what I’m doing."

With his mix of lyrical deftness and a quiet, unassuming demeanour, one gets the feeling that Daniel ‘Chino’ McGregor is the kind of man determined to do things his own way – and usually comes out on top. This year will be no different for the dancehall star who intends to ratchet up anticipation towards the release of his second album, tour the Motherland – and, importantly, keep his private life out of the public glare. As he prepares to take his creative exploits to even higher levels of expression, Chino dishes with TALLAWAH about his proudest moments, what the future holds and, oh yes, his “friendship” with Miss Yendi.

TALLAWAH: Your latest single, “Hustler,” kind of suggests a departure for you lyrically. Do you consider it new territory?
Chino: Well, it’s not anything new for me really, because if you listen to some of my previous singles like “Never Change”, you see that [“Hustler”] deals with a similar topic, which is about working hard for what you want to achieve. And it’s a topic that I can relate to, of course, and I’m sure the same goes for almost everybody else.

Last year, saw the release of your terrific self-titled debut disc. What did you make of the reception?
It’s been great. Mission accomplished. I think we did what we set out to do with the album, for it to be a collectors’ item and a classic that you can play over and over again. So we did tracks that were solid, and stayed away from the clichés. It’s an album featuring different genres and different moods. The feedback has been great, and of course we did a lot of touring to promote the album, which also went very well.

Speaking of tours, where do you usually get the ‘craziest’ support when you’re abroad?
Well, I’d say that my biggest market right now is Japan, for sure. My fanbase is very big there.

Are there plans afoot to put out a follow-up album soon?
Definitely, but we don’t have a set date for the release. So right now the focus is on releasing singles and building up the momentum. I also plan to do a lot more visuals for the fans, so we will be putting out a lot of videos this year.

Apart from your own recordings, who are you listening to right now?
No one person, in particular. I like anything that sounds good. I am an old soul, so nowadays I’m listening to a lot of ’80s hits, some 70s doo-wop and classics. I think musically some of the best music ever came out of that era, and you can hear the influence in my music.

So let’s talk relationships. Online sources spent most of last year (and even this year) linking you romantically with Yendi Phillipps. How do you respond?
Ahhhhhhhh. We’re really great friends. We’re really close.

Sounds like you’re dodging the question. What do you find most appealing about someone like Yendi?
She’s very pleasant and a really good friend. I don’t want to elaborate on that too much. I prefer to keep certain things to myself. (Laughs).

Lastly, what are you most proud of when you assess the journey you’ve made to this point in your life?
Just the fact that the music is being spread to the wider world. My fanbase is growing. People respect and appreciate and understand what I’m doing. So, God willing, these songs will still be solid 20 years from now and people will still be singing them.

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