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Baha Men Exclusive Interview
By Jay S. Jacobs

Popentertainment conducted interview with Baha Men about their music aspects and their careers. The excerpts from the interview follow:

Just imagine this. You live in one of the greatest tourist destinations in the world. The sun shines all year round, the tropical breezes blow across the clear blue sea and men on the beach are always there with an exotic rum drink. Not only are you a native, you are a hero on your island. You can't walk down the street without the people coming up to you. Women want to know you. There is a reason that a section of your home is called Paradise Island.

Now, tell the truth, what could really make you want to leave?

Not a thing… except maybe to be worldwide superstars. The Baha Men have been huge in the Bahamas for over a decade. Their albums, going back to Junkanoo in 1992, have sold incredibly well at home. The band has seen several lineup changes through the years… finally settling on the current lineup that includes: vocalists Rick Carey, Omerit Hield and Marvin Prosper; guitarists Herschel Small (who is also the band's musical director) and Patrick Carey; percussionists Anthony "Monks" Flowers and Colyn "Mo" Grant; keyboardist Jeffrey Chea; and bassist and group leader Isaiah Taylor. But until 2000, when they had a smash worldwide hit with the infectious hip-hop ditty "Who Let the Dogs Out," very few people knew who they were... at least away from, as they referred to it in an early ballad, "the land of the sea and the sun."

The band also played themselves in the 1994 romantic comedy My Father the Hero starring Gerard Depardieu and Katherine Heigl which was filmed at the Ocean Club, one of the most exclusive resorts on the island. "Someone from the board of tourism… Darlene Davis… she came to me one day and said there was a movie coming and I want y'all to be a part of it," recalls group leader Isaiah Taylor. "She says to me, one of you guys have to play a role in the movie. And I'm like, 'I'm out!'" Eventually the band performed several songs in the film and keyboardist Jeffrey Chea also played a small part in the movie.

One of the songs from the movie was a track from the Junkanoo album; a driving tropical beat called "Back To the Island." Soon the song was getting even more international exposure when it was used in a widespread TV ad campaign for tourism. That exposure was helpful for the band, "but we also had a pretty big following when that happened," says Pat Carey. The band had picked up a real audience in another land. "Our biggest break was in Japan. We were big in Japan the last couple of years."

"We just really broke in the US last year," agrees Taylor.

But when they did break, they broke huge. After unproductive tours of duty on Big Beat/Atlantic and Mercury Records, the band was signed up to a new label called S-Curve which was started by an executive who had been championing the group for years.

"At the time, the record company that we were with never gave the first nor second album the time and opportunity that it deserved," Taylor says. "Once Steve Greenberg made his own label last year, he knew exactly what he had … who exactly we were. We just did what we had to do. And it showed, not just the public, but it showed the record companies they were totally off course. They were totally out of whack. They didn't believe in us the way he did. They thought he was crazy. At the end of the day, he embarrassed them."

The Who Let the Dogs Out? album had barely hit the shelves when the title track took the world by storm. The distinctive "Who Who Who Who" chorus became a catch phrase. Radio stations played it constantly, and it also got airplay at such disparate venues as sporting events, fashion events and children's shows.

"It kind of proved that the potential was always there," says Hield. "All it meant was... it just needed a little more push behind it, from a lot of different aspects and perspectives. Because you always need that push from the record company. If they're not going to put the record out there and put some promotion behind it, all that stuff, it's just not going to work, you know? With that, I think it opened the eyes of like... MTV, and Disney and Nickelodeon and got all the kids interested. And then the song itself took on a life of its own."

The band hasn't looked back since. The follow-up single "You All Dat," which featured a sample of the traditional tune "Wimoweh" which also formed the basis of the sixties classic "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." The band's music has been used in several films, including Rugrats In Paris, Miss Congeniality, Rat Race and Shrek.

Read the whole interview at Popentertainment

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