By Suelika N. Buchanan
He has that smooth voice, that voice that makes you want to get closer.
And, his eyes are so bright and sharp, they are like razor blades as he slices you open and frees your soul.
There is no one like Kevin Donovan a.k.a. Masud Sadiki, the man with the perfect reggae sound.
Masud Sadiki has been perfecting that sound since he was a teenager performing onstage on high school shows. There he gave his personal touch to popular dancehall tunes of Jamaica’s Shabba Ranks. He has also to performed on front stage on one of the Caribbean’s leading festivals, The St. Kitts Music Festival.
A humble and driven son of the soil, the Kittitian icon recently recollected his musical past, what he’s doing at the moment and what he hopes for the future to The Observer.
In the early 90’s he made several tapes with various artists from St. Kitts including Fitzroy Wilkin and Johnny Golden. Though his voice reminds us of many Jamaican reggae artiste, Sadiki entered a new music genre-Soca where he did collaborations with Small Axe Band.
“In Old Road where I lived at a time, my house was right next to Small Axe’s band house, so music was always around me,” he said. “And because of my love for music myself and some others then formed a band.”
The band formed was called Razorz Band who recorded their first song in 1995 at A.U. Brown Studios. Sadiki said he did a song with Browne earlier in that year and instead of being paid made a deal with Browne where the band could record at his studio.
Shortly after the band was formed they soon realised that reggae music instead of soca was more of their calling and Sadiki acted as manager of the band.
However, in 1998, Sadiki decided to take a break from the band, but still continued to do collaborations with Small Axe Band and during that time gave us the popular Road March contender, ‘Carnival No Easy.’
“People loved it and felt that it could have been a good Road March song, but at the time we weren’t adequately equipped with the necessary equipments needed to go on the road where we would be judged,” he said.
Shortly the manager of the Caribbean Roots Band based in Nevis, asked Sadiki to join.
“I was at the time performing at a show Crucial Bankie was having when the manager heard me perform and made me the offer,” he said. “It was a golden opportunity for me and I saw this band as an excellent band.”
He continued. “I had my reservations about joining at first, my intentions were never to be apart of a band. But I knew that joining would have done a lot for me in terms of my performing for the people at their regular gig at Four Seasons so I took the chance.”
After joining the band in 1999, Sadiki met a producer who would have a positive impact on his musical career for years to come.
Jazzique Chiverton was also a member of the Caribbean Roots Band and owner of Ball-a-Karn Productions in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Jazz and I met and he told me that he has heard my music and has always wanted to work with me and I told him that I have always wanted to work with someone who understood music deeply, so I decided to take a chance with Jazz,” said Sadiki.
They released three singles in 2000, which were off Sadiki’s soon to be released album ‘Blast Off.’ The singles ‘Love for mama,’ ‘Bout War’ and his reggae twist to Macy Gray’s ‘I try’ were well received by the populace who all anticipated the 2001 release of the album that was produced by Chiverton.
“We got a lot of positive feedback, and we developed the confidence to work with what we have here-home grown,” he said.
The artiste also did some personal changes in 2000, he began growing dread locks, ate healthier and changed his name to something more meaningful in his view.
“Masud means fortunate and Sadiki means faithful, and they’re both African names, I felt my real name was too common for the industry and I wanted to use more meaningful names that identifies with who I am and my African roots,” he said. “And I chose those because it’s a fortune or privilege to do music and it’s not easy you have to be faithful, hence the names.”
His album received a lot of airplay and an he was given the opportunity to perform on the St. Kitts Music Festival.
He received good reviews and was acknowledge by The Beat Magazine.
“I felt very happy about the review they gave me and my write up in the magazine was on the opposite side of a feature on Bob Marley so I felt very good about that,” he said.
He and others attended a Trade Show representing the Government to England and journeyed to Cuba and Taiwan in 2001.
“I went as a youth representative, and at the time the Government saw me as someone who was dynamic and influential and that’s why I was chosen to attend these trips,” he said.
Soon after the success if his first album he began working on his second album.
Singles were released off his second album “Sundown 2 Sunup” which reflected the countless hours of hard work that was put into the album.
In May 2003, the album was launched, still produced by Chiverton and also well supported by the people.
He made his second solo appearance on the St. Kitts Music Festival and later in the year decided that his time with the Caribbean Roots Band had come to an end.
“I wanted to do more as a solo artiste and because of certain commitments with the band I was unable to do so, I always had a conflicting mission,” he said.
At the end of 2004 he travelled to the birthplace of Reggae and Dancehall music, Jamaica along with Chiverton and Crucial Bankie another ranking reggae artist out of St. Kitts who was producing his album, “Shakedown.”
During all this Sadiki was still involve with the management of Razorz Band, which is now under a new name called, ‘Calabash Band.’
For more than several years Jolly Management, made up of two Nevisian sisters, had represented Sadiki. However, early 2004 Sadiki and Jolly Management parted ways.
“I have nothing but good things to say about the management team I had, but I feel that I have more time to do my own promotions and they understand that and we have nothing but respect for each other,” he said.
Recently, he travelled to England on a promotional trip where he met with music producers, promoters and others involved in music.
“Myself, Chiverton and a member of Calabash band ‘Ragga Redz’ went to do some networking, we were on a promotional campaign and we also did live performances,” he said. “We had a very good time and realize that musicians in St. Kitts are bless.”
He continued: “Most musicians here have their own band house, equipment and we need to stop complaining and take care of our own business affairs. We have a lot of talent here and some of us need to wear promoter cap.”
Just before his trip to England which was for a little over a two month period, he released two songs ‘Start Counting’ and ‘Come a me yard’.
Shortly after he returned from the United Kingdom he released a music video to his song “Start Counting” which was shot, produced and edited by Elvin “Bougna” Lucas who is the music director for the Small Axe Band.
“We just came up with the idea and he did the rest and so far we’ve been getting positive feedback ,” he said.
And so after about five years of writing and producing reggae music, going by the name Masud Sadiki to identify with his roots, Sadiki says he thinks his career is going in the right direction.
“Everything is going good, I’ve been so fortunate and blessed and I want to thank everyone who have been believing in me and showing support,” he said. “For now I want to start targeting more young people, do more promotions and continue spreading the positive vibes.”