NEW ARTIST SPOT LIGHT: Leftside “Cry Fi Yuh/Button Down” [VIDEO]
NEW ARTIST SPOT LIGHT Leftside_ Cry Fi Yuh/Button Down
He describes his music as ‘world music’. In a nutshell, dancehall/reggae artiste, musician, disc jock and producer Craig ‘Leftside’ Parks is a talented artiste whose music crosses barriers and transcends to higher decibels.
There’s enough proof and testimony to this musical connoisseur. Not only has he scored big as a producer (having produced tracks for some of dancehall’s biggest names) but he has also topped the charts as a recording artiste. An astute and well rounded individual, he also plays the drums and keyboards.
Asked what sets him apart from the overcrowded musical landscape, Leftside was quick to point out his unique sound.
“My sound is very unique but still very club friendly and everyone can relate to that. I make sure, while i am making a track that it gets everybody moving on the first listening encounter. It is a formula that has been limited in today’s dancehall’, Leftside shared.
The son of veteran Jamaican musician Lloyd Parks (think Lloyd Parks and We the People Band), Leftside who also adopted the Mr. Evil moniker has done stints in dancehall veteran Bounty Killer’s touring band. As a disc jock, he has toured with international dancehall sensation Sean Paul.
Leftside who attended Kingston’s Ardenne High School was bitten by the music bug while he was still a youngster. While attending high school he played with an up and coming band called Duplicate which he formed with his brothers and sisters. He would later join his father’s band and worked the stage alongside popular acts including the late Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs, John Holt and rhythm and blues acts including the Main Ingredient.
“Yeah man, the resume is very good’, Leftside confided.
While working as a disc jock with the Syndicate sound system, he earned the nickname ‘Leftside’. Fellow disc jocks Zachary Harding and Arif Cooper noticed that Parks would ‘cut and scratch’ using his left hand and began to call him ‘Leftside’.
“My left hand does everything, and I was better at scratching on the left side”, he noted.
Teaming with high school friend Matthew ‘Esco’ Thompson, they later started their own sound under the name Leftside & Esco. They soon distinguished themselves by the strength of their innovative “dubplate specials,” exclusive self-produced recordings that could be heard only on their sound.
“We built riddims for the sound, and then would write the dub for the artist,” Leftside explained. “That created a huge difference in the sound system era. We got a lot of recognition for that, until we started to record our own songs.”
The duo released their debut recording ‘Passa Thing’ which was well received by industry insiders but it wasn’t until they dropped the single ‘Tuck In Yuh Belly’ in 2005 that they gained national and international recognition.
‘Tuck In Yuh Belly’ spent multiple weeks at the top of the music charts in Jamaica, New York, South Florida, Trinidad and Canada. Subsequent hits included Whine Up Pon Har and Stay Far.
Tuck In Yuh Belly was featured on the inescapable Throwback Giggy rhythm project which the duo produced. It included songs from Tami Chynn, Busy Signal, Vybz Kartel, Buju Banton and Wayne Marshall among others.
On the production side, Parks has collaborated on the popular Chiney Gal, Double Jeopardy and Martial Arts rhythm projects. He and Esco would later join the Martial Arts band which backed top acts of the day including Bounty Killer and Wayne Marshall among others.
Along with Esco, he established the Pacemakers label in 2001 and the hits as producers and artistes flowed like fine wine. But Leftside continued working with other labels as well. He produced albums for the likes of Sizzla, Bounty Killer, Wayne Wonder and Sean Paul among others. He also contributed to hit rhythms and singles such as Elephant Man’s Billboard charting hits Pon Di River Pon Di Bank, and Signal Di Plane.
In 2007 Leftside released the track More Punany under the moniker Mr. Evil and the song became a hit not only in Jamaica but stateside. It topped the dancehall chart in Italy and picked up rotation on New York’s influential urban station Hot 97FM. On the strength of that single, Leftside signed a deal with New York based Sequence Records which saw the release of his debut solo album in 2008.
He is committed to working with and exposing new and up and coming talent. The formation of his Keep Left Records is testimony to this. Keida and Syon are just some of the acts whom he has been working with on the label.
The artiste pointed out that if music hadn’t worked out for him, professional basketball or computer engineering would have been the career choice.
He cites charting on MTV Urban charts in Germany as a major career achievement. Songs including Supermodel and Want Yuh Body remix with Sean Paul have also opened doors for him on the European market.
As of 2013, Leftside has released the songs Cupid Arrow (featuring newcomer G-Anna) on his Keep Left Records label; Gorilla Foot (Tuck In Yuh Foot); and the rhythm project Bong Diggy Bang which features songs from himself as well as Konshens, G-Anna, Sanjay and Busy Signal.
He also worked on a house music compilation with New York based Ultra Records (which he is signed to). Major Lazer and Skrillex are some of the producers who worked on that project for which a release date is yet to be revealed.