From soldering and wiring drums ...Super producer Bulby reflects on his journey

May 27, 2016
Contributed Photo Colin 'Bulby' York Bulby and Gwen Stefani of No Doubt

Super producer Bulby reflects on his journey

Colin 'Bulby' York sits in the master chair in the middle of his studio on Dumbarton Avenue, Kingston, surrounded by computer screens, buttons, and knobs.

Two worn leather love seats are situated towards the back of the room in both corners. From that perspective, only the back of Bulby's head is visible, obscured by a snapback with thick black hair curling out from beneath it.

It was 1989 when Bulby would go straight from school in his khakis to the studio to watch and learn. He was 13 years old, and following the trail of his uncle, George 'Dusty' Miller, drummer of the Firehouse Crew, into the studio of pioneer musician King Tubbys.

Under the mentorship of King Tubbys, he ended up soldering and wiring drums and machines until he was 16. By then he had proven himself capable and was hired as a full-time employee at the studio.

"And the rest is history," he said with a slight smile.

Bulby's success as a producer kicked off with the success of his Hot Wax Riddim, which features Bounty Killer's Suspense and Beenie Man's Memories.

His accomplishment as an engineer and producer goes beyond his success with Jamaican artistes. Sting, Boyz II Men and Mary J. Blige are some of the acts Bulby lists as having visited his studio on Dumbarton Avenue to record.

"No Doubt, they came for rock steady. The Fugees recorded their album here," he said with eyes cast to the sky, searching for more names.

International pop superstars Britney Spears and Madonna are also part of the list of artistes he has worked with.

"Well, they sent their tracks to me," he clarified.


Producing his own album was a venture that was a long time coming.

"I've always wanted to do, but I didn't know what exactly I wanted to do," he explained to THE WEEKEND STAR.

After two decades in the business, Bulby believes he has finally figured out the formula he's comfortable with, while still being different from similar albums that have come before him.

He expressed a desire to alter the producer's approach to Jamaica music.

"I'm kind of tired of producers putting out the one track and putting a bunch of people on it. It's boring now. It's expected," Bulby said.

Now he has released his first album called Epic & Ting, a compilation, he assures that will satisfy lovers of dancehall, reggae, ska, and rocksteady.

The epic album, he explained, is the union of good tracks, good songwriting as well as the union of older and younger sounds.

With a reach enviable of many musicians, Bulby has managed to produce a completely original album, featuring the vocal stylings of Bounty Killer, Beres Hammond, Cherine Anderson, Jesse Royal, Tenor Saw, Sizzla, Maxi Priest, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, and many more.

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