surinenglish

The musical ambassador of Barbados

The man of many voices on stage in Marbella.
The man of many voices on stage in Marbella. / SUR
  • Magnet Man, Singer and Songwriter

  • The international singer has toured with Busta Rhymes and triumphed over Rihanna during the Barbados Music Awards

Barbadian singer, Magnet Man, one of his country's most popular and biggest selling artists, has recently come to live on the Costa del Sol. The international singer has been busy performing at venues and events along the coast over the summer and he is now preparing to promote his latest recording, Ragga Rock.

Born in Barbados in the late 1970s, he grew up surrounded by music, gaining his interest in reggae and rock music from his father. His first venture into music came when he formed an a capella group with his younger brother and received considerable exposure. Magnet gained experience over the next few years, singing in various bands in Barbados, and he soon began to acquire confidence, something which is one of his main assets today.

The young singer headed to the lively St Lawrence Gap on the south coast - the hub of the music scene in Barbados during the late 1980s - and he cut his teeth in the some of the area's most popular live music venues. His band became one of the highest paid acts on the scene and they then went on to tour parts of the Caribbean and North America.

The turning point in his career came in 2003, when he began performing as a solo artist on a stadium tour with the outlandish rapper Busta Rhymes. This was to be his springboard onto an international career and following the release of his first recording, Magnificent - for which he was awarded a platinum disc - the singer was soon appearing in countries all over the world.

He changed his name to Magnet Man by deed pole because his ancestors had been designated their surname while working as slaves on the sugar plantations in Barbados in the 19th century.

“I never use my birth name because it reminds me of the terrible atrocities my ancestors were subjected to, so I decided to change it,” he tells SUR in English.

In fact, his previous name is one of the things he declines to reveal. The other is his age, preferring simply to say that he was born in the late 1970s. It was because of his electric personality that he chose to use the pseudonym of Magnet Man, and he certainly has a personality that draws attention. He is a perfectionist who does not drink alcohol or smoke, despite his typecast dreadlock image.

Music awards

In 2007, he was nominated eleven times at the Barbados Music Awards. He triumphed over another international Barbadian artiste, Rihanna, in the Best Music Video Award.

In 2010, Magnet visited Cuba and he soon fell in love with the country, not only because of his ever-growing status in the Caribbean communist republic, but because of the way the authorities nurture young artists.

He became a household name in Cuba after headlining the Romerías de Mayo Festival, but one of his most cherished highlights was performing at the Havana International Film Festival in front of 20,000 people. He was also commissioned to write and perform a song for the Romerías del Mayo Festival, which is now used every year in the television and radio promotion for the event.

“I love Cuba, it's an incredible place and art is part of its constitution. Young artists and musicians are nurtured by the government and this is so important, because so many kids with potential often miss out,” he says passionately.

Known as 'The Musical Ambassador of Barbados', he came to live on the Costa del Sol in 2015, settling down to write new material in a secluded farmhouse in the valleys of Monda. He describes his music as a fusion of rock, pop and ragga, and it most definitely cannot be pinned down to one particular style. He has the ability to change genre halfway through a song, hence his other appellation, 'The Man of Many Voices'. He is currently preparing to return to Barbados in late November in order to participate in a series of concerts, and he is also putting the finishing touches on his new music video, Sunny Day, which was recorded in various locations along the Costa del Sol during the summer. The official video launch will take place in La Sala in Puerto Banús on Saturday 9 December.