Multitalented songwriter and deejay Bugle is presently on tour for his latest album Toxicity which was released last month. The Portland native, whose real name is Roy Thompson, is well-known in the reggae and dancehall music spaces as he practically grew up doing music since he was in primary school.
Bugle became widely popular after working with fellow dancehall artist Oniel Bryan popularly known as Elephant man, on his “Good To Go” Tour in 2001 but shortly after launched his solo career. His breakout single, “What I’m Gonna Do,” in 2007, has forever marked him as a deep and soulful singer who continues to make impactful music that speaks to the travails of human existence.
With more than 20 successful years in the business, Bugle continues to make hits and has a large and loyal following who enjoy his music which is often infused with themes that speak to various issues arising in society.
In an exclusive interview with Urban Islandz about his musical journey and his new album, the “Anything Goes” artist says that the 16-track album debuted at No. 10 on Billboard’s Reggae Albums chart and the iTunes Reggae Chart.
Bugle explained that the artwork of a man’s face coming out of a TV screen for the album cover and the album name, Toxicity, was borne out of his thoughts and feelings experienced during the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020, which saw Jamaica shutting down and no movement days affecting the daily activities of citizens.
Tell us about the album name and the inspiration behind the artwork.
“I recorded this album during the Covid pandemic time when me inna Jamaica inna lockdown most of the time, sometimes you can’t even come out one o’clock in the middle of the day, the whole work was extreme toxic at the time…social media was extremely toxic as well but I chose the TV because I feel that the TV can be such a bad influence and it reaches you so easily, it can be in your bedroom, living room and even at work,” he said.
Who is featured on the album?
“The Queen of Reggae, Marcia Griffiths, you know I have Bounty Killer and Julian Marley on one track, I have Kabaka Pyramid and Jesse Royal on another, I have Dexta Daps, Nation Boss, I have Laa Lee and Heph B, Ding Dong with the whole dance vibes and energy and I revisited Toots big riddim from dem time deh (“Easy Skanking”), it’s just a vibe you know.”
What has Bugle been up to lately?
“Bugle been up to music, good music, positive music, educational music you know. Mi have the album out now so have to make sure I stay pon top of it, wherever it takes me and do whatever it takes to take it to the people. Really and truly, a that Bugle’s been up to, making sure I connect with the world through this project.”
Do you have tour dates or performances coming up?
“We inna the midst of working on tour dates and we nuh only a tour the U.S, we a tour everywhere, from Africa to Europe to the U.S to wherever we can go and make sure we get it to the people. Where performances are concerned, Bugle a one a dem artist weh always have something fi do, always have show fi do, all over the world. We deh pon the mission same way.”
Are you independent or attached to a label as we know you previously worked with Hapilos and Daseca?
“No, currently I’m not attached to a label, mi nuh signed to nobody, mi just work under my label which is An9ted Entertainment. I previously worked with Hapilos which produced a song for me.”
Bugle was seen recently shooting the video for the track “Easy Skanking,” a fan favorite on the album. The song features King of Dance, Ding Dong, and Troublemekka.
Can you tell me a little about the track with Ding Dong and what is it like working with him?
“That track now, I actually recorded the song in January, I listened to the song over and over and I decided mi want some more dancehall elements to it, mi want some of that vibe to it and I think Ding Dong was the perfect candidate for it. Mi reach out to him and him love it and him link me back, him say ‘mi woulda really love fi be part of this’, and him forward to the studio, we hold a vibe. Big up Ding Dong one of the real ones, dance your troubles away, easy Skanking, that’s what it is about, we keep it spicy and make sure the people have fun with it.”
Your songs always have a certain flavour like “Exercise” and “Nuh Compatible”. Does Toxicity have the same vibes and what’s your inspiration behind your ability to connect with these relatable themes?
“Well, my thing comes natural you know. My vibe is just a natural vibe. I hear the riddim, mi love the riddim, me go inna the studio go sing you know, whatever energy the riddim a give me is the energy mi ago put on it and mi nuh one a dem artist deh weh force music, mi a nuh one a dem artist weh buss mi brain, you know mi hear the riddim and the first thing mi think is what topic would I want to sing about this, particularly riddim and as soon as mi decide what topic, mi wrap some melodies around and then mi wrap some words around whatever it is…mi a nuh one of them artist weh think too hard or drive up and down for a month before me get an idea. Mi think music, me eat, sleep and dream music.”
“So, music is me and music is me and life itself is what inspires me and what I do musically, everything that happens inna my surroundings is music. The same way I came up with songs like ‘Nuh Compatible,’ it’s what happen in the space and even before the time and I just put melodies and words to it and it reaches the people because of the relatable aspect…sometimes not even you realise the importance of a Bugle song until you go through something and think it’s me Bugle is singing about.”
Bugle promised that each song is special and will appeal to his fans and any person who enjoys good music.
Toxicity Deluxe tracklist.
01. Intro feat. Tony Gold & Adeana Myrie02. Toxicity03. Fire Burning feat. Marcia Griffiths04. Consequences05. Time Is Of Essence feat. Julian Marley & Bounty Killer06. Change The World feat. Jesse Royal & Kabaka Pyramid07. Easy Skanking feat. Ding Dong & Troublemekka08. History (Deluxe Edition)09. Saddest Day feat. Dexta Daps10. Compliments feat. 808 Delavega11. Look Deep feat. 808 Delavega12. Don’t Cry13. Optimistic14. Big Boy (Remix) feat. Laa Lee & Heph B15. Experience feat. Nation Boss & 808 Delavega16. Affirmation feat. Bobo Flames
You can find Bugle on Instagram @BugleAn9ted, and if you’re a true dancehall fan who loves good music, then he is an artist to follow and stream his music.