Patricia Meschino Musical Musings – January 4, 2015
“I love the reggae music coming out of St. Croix; producers of great quality are there and I am a quality artist from St. Thomas so I said let me join forces with the talent here at home to create good music and show people what the USVI has to offer because that’s very important to me.” – Pressure Busspipe, Reggae Artist
Since the release of his breakthrough single “Love and Affection” (produced by Jamaica’s Don Corleone) in 2007, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands-born Rastafarian reggae artist Pressure (a.k.a. Pressure Busspipe) has assiduously worked towards popularizing reggae made in the USVI; his mission received a significant boost last year when the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism chose his song “Virgin Islands Nice” as the centerpiece of their national advertising campaign.
Taken from Pressure’s 2014 album The Sound (I-Grade/Buss Pipe Records) which was (primarily) recorded at St. Croix’s Aqua Sound Studios, “Virgin Islands Nice” is an ode to the natural splendor of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, and those islands’ most valuable asset: their people.
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“We were recording the song and co-producer (St. Croix’s Laurent “Tippy I” Alfred) said besides singing about our beaches, we should mention our great leaders like Queen Mary (a leader of the St. Croix slave rebellion in 1878), (pan-Africanist) Edward Wilmot Blyden, legendary boxer Julian Jackson, (14-time NBA All Star) Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and (veteran) roots reggae band Midnite,” explained Pressure, born Delyno Brown, in a November 2014 interview at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, St. Thomas.
USVI Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty said the idea for partnering with Pressure for the Virgin Islands Nice campaign was conceived in January following his performance of the song at a Virgin Islands Tourism Ambassadors event in Miami.
The selection of locally based reggae and soca (the region’s dominant musical forms) acts for national and international advertising campaigns is an extreme rarity in Caribbean tourism despite these artists’ inherent expression of their respective island birthplaces within their music and their organic ambassadorial roles via global concert dates, making them ideal candidates for such promotions.
“This is a revolutionary step because for a long time people have questioned the tourism approach towards music; when “Virgin Islands Nice” was released people called radio stations over and over and said this is the song to represent the VI,” acknowledged Pressure. The campaign has brought Pressure several high profile performance opportunities, including an appearance on Wendy Williams’ popular syndicated TV talk show, taking USVI reggae to an entirely new and appreciative audience. “I give thanks for these experiences,” says Pressure.