From The Church To The Dancehall, Sanchez D Hits All The Right Notes

The Conclusion of Our Xclusive Interview… Continued From Part 1

Like your song says, your fans have been missing you Sanchez. Where have you been?

I’ve been sitting down too long man. Just sittin down wasting my time away. And that’s not good. That’s not how we do.

What was the last album you did—was it that gospel album?

No. The last one was the one with “Frenzy” on it.

That’s been two or three years. So people are more than ready to go on this journey with you.

Yeah I can see that, and to be honest with you I’m soo grateful. I’m so grateful cause I’m out there in the streets, and everybody… every other person I come upon, they would say to me, Sanchez what’s up mon? And I say, I have something coming out and it’s on Penthouse. And they say, I cyaan wait for it cause i know you’re not going to put anything on it that people don’t want to hear. You know, and them ting deh motivate me—believe me. For real.

The best thing an artist can ask for is an audience that’s paying attention.

Definitely, definitely, definitely. And I look out for them as well. Just the same way they look out for me, I look out for them as well. Cause I don’t want for any one of them to be like disappointed and say, Lawd God is Sanchez? Ah Sanchez dat? No, sah!

Last January I was on the gully side with Mavado, and he was telling me about his early days, and he said he used to sing your version of “Amazing Grace” on a sound system right there by Cassava Piece.

Yeah we… I actually grew Mavado. Because my auntie, she owns half of Cassava Piece.

Oh, I never knew that!

Yeah I’m telling you now, she owns half of Cassava Piece. I used to live there so all of them used to come and go. And she has a shop and all of that. So we were, we were like brothers then. We were very close in the community so… But he was a kid then. Yeah and i started my thing and we grew up in the community and he grew too. And you know, I saw that music was in him. And he was coming around asking for the mic and i gave the mic to him. And he did his thing, and i was saying, Yeah, good prospective. I don’t know what happened, but… he just faded. Until I start hearing about Mavado. And when I actually saw who Mavado was, I said, “WHAT THE?” Y’understand? Cause I remember him so well.

Singing Blacks, right?

Yeah, yeah that’s his name, Singing Blacks. Believe me, lord God. He’s my boy. Believe that. He is my boy. Everything that I’m doing, I always give him his invitation proper. Yeah mon. And he has never put me down one time so i know, I know that’s my boy. And right now I’m thinking of doing something like maybe Monday, Tuesday. Yeah I’m gon’ put something on my album with him. Cause I mean, we can’t be this close then and we’re not thinking of doing something together. You know? Yeah mon, so I’m gonna put something on my album with him. I want this. I need this.

So you still have time to slip one more on there?

Yeah man. I have time to slip one more on there. [laughs] We have time to do anything we want, cause remember it’s the ninth of February.

Okay, so you have a minute.

Yeah man, i have a minute. I’m just gon’ real quick—Monday, Tuesday, just get him up and do my thing and let him do his thing. Maybe we could just write it together. We wanna do something, man. We wanna put something. Cause i know that this is the hit. Although the album may be titled otherwise, this is gon’ be the hit. This is the hit. For real. And I can tell you right now: the producers don’t have to say nuttin to Mavado, don’t have to give him nothing. Cause I don’t think he would want nuttin, nuttin to do this. Like myself here. A pleasure, just my pleasure to do that.

He told me that you gave him inspiration over the years.

Alright man. Alright brother. But you will hear that. I promise you. I guarantee you. I promise you, I promise you. For real I promise you.

All right, I’m gonna put it out there then.

Definitely, just put that out there right now! That I’m telling you, Monday, Tuesday that’s gon’ be done. Consider it done. Yeah man.

And I dare say Mavado could use that in his catalog, in his life, in his meds.

Yeah man, of course. It’s on both of us album. Yeah man. Since I’m his greatest influence, it’s only good for us to do something, yeah, so that could be in his repetoire. He could put that in his archive.

Creating a legend one song at a time.

Yes sir. Yes. Yes. That’s how we do. We don’t have certain things to say, if it’s not sounding properly upful, righteous—we shut up. For whatever time. Four years, three years, ten years, whatever. Until we get it. Until we get that calling, that message. Yeah.

And then you just bring it forward.

Definitely don.

Any time I hear you singing, no matter what kind of song, I always hear a little bit of the church coming through in your voice.

Yeah and I’m grateful for that too. So thankful. Cause if it wasn’t for the church i don’t think i would be pitchin’ it like this. Or maybe it’s an inborn concept anyway. But I thank God for the church, cause it really brought out that peak, and what people really looking for in a singer. To be honest, cause i used to go to practice like four days a week, two hours a day.

Would that be after school?

After school. Yeah that’s in about the 7 o’clock—8 o’clock hours there. We would lock up in the church and do our thing. The choir is there and the band is there and we do our thing. I used to be in the choir.

With a full band and everything?

Yeah man, yeah man. Organ. You name it: drums, rhythm, bass.

Was that easier to get into than a recording studio?

Yeah because every gig I do in church, I could listen it. Because we always tape. We have our little thing set up, our little corner with a little tape deck and amplfier. Yeah. to project the thing better for people down in the church who can’t really hear.

And that also lets you critique and improve on your own performance.

Of course. Of course. Right now i would say, it has taught me so much, maybe that’s the reason why i’m so good at what i do. Yeah, cause it’s not only like going onstage. It’s presentation again too. Yeah man, you have to know how to present yourself. Look how people are attiring themselves to come around you, so you should know point-black what type person you are.

You got so much training between church and sound system, you’ve been groomed like a champion.

Yeah I would say. I would say.

That explains a lot. Because a lot of the newer singers in the business today don’t have the same sort of experience on sound systems.

[exhaling] Right.

And now lots of them are used to just voicing into computers and laptops.

You can’t. You will never. Cause it’s what people tell you to sing you’re gonna sing or you’re gonna DJ. And nowadays, now again, money has a lot to do with the thing. Cause a lot of these artists, they’re just hustling the thing. They’re selling out the thing. And I’m so caught up about it.

Because over the years I’ve grown with the R&B artists. And believe me, up until this day, I can tell you… I mean, things happen, they may get in a little trouble and whatever. But where their career is concerned, I’ll tell you the God’s truth, believe me—they’re always on the up and up, they’re always on the up and up. And i don’t see why we can’t be like that. I don’t see why we can’t be like that, for real. And just try to know that the right things are the right things, and that’s what you should teach people. You can’t teach peple wrong. It don’t make sense. And the younger ones are coming and what they gon’ be? [laughs] A generation of vipers. The Bible tell you bout them. For real man.

You’ve always maintained a standard of excellence in the way you do your work, from the recording studio your stage presentation.

Thanks. I try to put myself together. It’s no use I’m gonna be here, at home, my wife is gettin’ ready to go see Sanchez. And what I see her do? Go down to the store and bought a dress for 30-some thousand dollars, and a shoes for 8,000 dollars, and a hairdo for whatever money it is and her nails well done and I’m gonna come onstage like what? I don’t care? Nah man. My songs says a lot. So my dressing is just the icing on the cake. Yeah, you have to compliment the ladies, yo!

And your wife is a clothing designer also, right?

Yeah she designs some of my clothes. Cause some of them we really going through the town, and we’re like going through some nice towns. We go through some nice towns and sometimes you see some nice threads—and you say, Okay, that’s fit for my people. And again you might see a nice piece of material, and you put two pieces and three pieces together and you say, Babe, this is a nice combination, wha you think? And she say, Yeah it can gwan ahead. And we go home with my pencil and my thing, cause I do the drawing. I’m very good at it. I can tell you you can just sit where you are can doing whatever and I can just draw you exact the way you are.

Wow. Multitalented.

Yeah, that’s me. I’m an artist artist.

Every kind of art!

Every kind of artist. [laughing] For real. Yeah man. Yeah.

I’d love to see you do one of your own album covers one of these days.

What a man, yo! You know say you no easy. That’s a great idea. [Off the phone: You hear what the man say? The man said what about you drawing your own thing and making your own? Which is so nice.] For real, man. I’m gonna do it man. I gonna put it on a ting. Yess boss, I’m going to put it on my to-do list.

Even a single.

No man, not a single. They need to make that thing big. Everybody should have that album in their house where the painting that’s on it, or the drawing on it was done by Sanchez, by hand. And I can tell you, just the drawing alone, just the concept of me doing it by hand, and all by myself, gon’ make it sell more than anything.

Out of all the singers who really inspired you over the years, who do you want to hilight?

Well I grew up on Sam Cooke.

Yeah, I can hear that.

Some Brooke Benton, some Percy Sledge and all them people. Bob Marley and all ah them, man. So I would really lift my cap to them. For real. Because those are the people that really inspired Sanchez even to pursue a career in this field. Cause when my mom and my dad used to play those. Whether Monday, Sunday whatever day it is, those are the songs that play in my house. You see where I’m coming from?

And every one of those singers you mentioned combined the gospel and the R&B, were you ever discouraged from singing reggae or soul music instead of the Lord’s Music?

Oh, I would say, most of the songs I’ve done so far, they’re not gospel. But I know they can be heard by a Christian. You understand me? Straight up. And I did what—I did two gospel shows just the other day about a month ago or so.

Really?

Believe me. I’m telling you. Listen. One of them was down by Pegasus hotel. I can tell you right now, Rob, when I came offstage and said “Okay I’m through working. I’m done now”… The pastor came onstage and said to me, “You didn’t do my favorite?” Now I’m serious. I’m there like stunned. Cause I’m saying, this lady has the white collar on her neck. And I’m saying to myself, Jesus. And the reason why I didn’t do those songs were. She said “All your songs them we listen to Sanchez.” And that, I’m telling you the truth, Lord God have mercy. Is “Chi Chi Man” the people dem asking me fi do yunno!

That’s the song she wanted?

Not she, but some of the people. Them asking about “Chi Chi Man.” How I never do that? And believe me, it was the hardest thing to select the songs that I really wanted to do. Because I used to be in the church and I don’t mix. I don’t mix! Period. I don’t mix the things of the world with Christianity.

BEHOLD, SANCHEZ IN FULL GOSPEL MODE… “AMAZING GRACE”

They cannot be mixed. And anytime you start doing that then you need prayer. Or you need counseling or something. But they can’t be mixed. So that was the hardest thing. But I got over it. The people loved it in the end cause they stood up and I got what? Standing ovations. It was great. [laughs] It was great. And my heart was like pounding out of my chest. I swear to God. My heart was pounding cause some of the songs I start, I’m saying, God is this the right song I’m singing? For real. It worked out.

Why has the rest of the been so slow to recognize you? A number of Jamaican artists have gotten their music onto the Billboard charts, but the international market never seems to focus on your talent. Why is that?

Well maybe because of the songs that I choose to sing on the same riddim that they hear all type of derogatory music on or lyric on. When they hear all those things and hear the same riddim come around with a nice composition by Sanchez or Beres or whoever, I mean, it is gon’ grasp them. Yeah. It must grasp them. It must turn their heads somehow. And say what? That sound good. Let me hear that back again! Of course. It just goes to show that you can say what you wanna say, but in a decent manner. Just say it right man, that I don’t need to be running over there to stick my fingers in my little kids’ ear. Yeah man, for real man.

But you know, It’s my priority to make good music every time. All the time. Yeah. Cause my kids, they’re my biggest fans. I can tell you that. They’re my biggest influence right now, so trust me I owe it to them. Every time I go in the studio I think about them. If they should hear my music, what they would think and all that? It just gives me that heads up.

Cause the music is gonna live on after us.

Of course man. Of course. And that’s what I want. Just like I’m listening Dennis now, and it’s like yesterday. That’s how I want my thing to be when I’m gone.

Well there’s no question about the legacy that you have built already. But I think you’ve got some more building to do. I don’t think you’re finished yet.

[laughs] For real because I think I need two more penthouses on top. Yeah, we need to extend the back some more. You know? Yeah man, we have a whole lotta work to do. Whole lotta expansion.