Mr Vegas Interview
Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Clifford Smith is better known to his fans as Mr Vegas. The original Sing Jay is also affectionately called 'dai-doo' in some circles. The term refers to the vocal stamp he puts on most of his tracks. He got the stage name of 'Mr Vegas' from a cousin due to how he played soccer like a "go-go that danced at a club they called Las Vegas."
His first realisation that he wanted to become a singer was during high school where he would sing during the lunchtime and as he recalls he got "many compliments." Some of the schools he attended include Unity primary, Oberlin High and Unity All Age.
Originally intending to be a singer, Vegas was a vocalist for a while doing popular covers. Sadly he was attacked in a studio session in Kingston and his jaw was broken making him unable to sing like he had before. He developed his own style of singing and DJing launching a whole new aspect to his career with the first track being 'Nike Air' released in 1997.
Getting into the music business was a dream Vegas had because he wanted to help out his mother. He stated, "My mother was the inspiration. I wanted to be a star to help her." Not averse to attention from the ladies either proved to be another reason for Vegas to seek stardom.
In terms of success to date, 'Heads High' has been Vegas' most successful single. He released an album of the same name and is quick to point out that "the rest are pirated stuff." The track 'Heads High' did well worldwide and won Vegas a MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) award in 1999. He also performed at the awards ceremony and says it was "excellent. Biggest achievement so far." He has also won a Tamika award in 1998 for Best New Artist.
Since 1999, Vegas has written all his lyrics himself and he is currently signed to Greensleeves record label. He has worked with a number of famous producers including Tony 'CD' Kelly, Steelie & Clevie, Danny Brownie and Richard Brownie. Song collaborations are popular in the music business and Vegas has worked with some big names including Sean Paul, DMX, Beenie Man and Elephant Man. He enjoyed working with DMX, one of Hip Hop's finest, on the track 'Here Comes The Boom' and said, "it was a great experience."
There has been a bit of controversy surrounding his latest collaboration with Sean Paul called 'Hot Gal Today'. The song is being publicised in such a way that it appears to be just Sean Paul's work. Vegas is none too happy about this and clarifies "it is only right for an artist to be accredited for his works. Sean Paul and Mr Vegas wrote the song. Sean Paul and Mr Vegas performed the song. Sean Paul was the only name being mentioned on the single. At least they could have put 'Hot Gal Today' (by) Sean Paul featuring Mr Vegas." The problems he has had with Sean Paul and the track 'Hot Gal Today' have not discouraged Vegas from working with other people, as he is still willing and "always ready."
Vegas' involvement in the music business is not just restricted to him being an artist, he also does production for In The Streetz Records dealing with "mainly young artists."
So far Vegas has toured the USA, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean with his best response coming from Europe. He would love to tour Spain for the first time as he says he likes "Spanish girls."
Dancehall culture is "going on good" as far as Vegas is concerned and he measures the success in terms of Reggae artists who have managed to get onto the Billboard charts and the British charts. Of these there is "Beenie Man, Sean Paul, Devonte & Tanto Metro… and there's still room for more." It's nice to see such a positive outlook and as far as the recent clampdown on lyrical content in Jamaica, Vegas says "there will never be." And he sees a bright future for Dancehall Reggae.
Vegas enjoys listening to entertainers such as Toni Braxton, Anita Baker and anything else he classes as "groove music" because he's a "romantic guy." He writes songs and hangs out with "the ladies" in his spare time and had this message for his fans, "I always love my fans… and I hope they continue to support me as they have been doing."
Vegas is optimistic about the future and he is set to release a new single, 'Girlstime' from his upcoming album entitled 'Girls Time'. He would also like to "settle down, get married and make babies with a lovely lady."
Vegas's website was recently launched and has a whole heap of information on there for die-hard fans as well as those just surfing on in. Check it out at www.mr-vegas.com.
Book Mr Vegas by contacting Byron Murray at In The Streetz on Jamaica 876-929-1194 or 876-968-6937. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.