Written by 6:50 pm Music

Birch basks in Shaggy’s golden success


MUSICIAN and producer Christopher “Birchill” Birch says he’s comfortable to be an element of any successful project.

Birch, a renowned keyboardist who was a member of Shaggy’s band, co-wrote or played on 4 of the songs featured on the 19-track Better of Shaggy: The Boombastic Collection which was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) last Friday, commemorating sales exceeding 100,000 units.

“It is often a very good feeling being a part of success and a few failures, since you learn from the failures. Being a part of that success is all the time good. Just being within the room where the project was created is a very good feeling,” Birch told the Jamaica Observer on Sunday.

Released by Geffen Records in 2008, Better of Shaggy: The Boombastic Collection is a biggest hits compilation which features songs culled from six of Shaggy’s albums, namely Pure Pleasure (1993), Boombastic (1995), Hot Shot (2000), Lucky Day (2002), Clothes Drop (2005), and Intoxication (2007).

Christopher Birch

Birch co-produced the tracks Hey Sexy Lady (which also features Brian and Tony Gold) and Those Days. He played on the hits Church Heathen and Strength of a Woman.

Hey Sexy Lady, taken from Shaggy’s 2002 album Lucky Day, peaked at 10 in the UK and has been certified gold in Belgium and platinum in Canada and Australia.

Strength of a Woman, from the Hot Shot album released in 2000, rose to 39 on Billboard’s Pop Airplay chart.

Other credited producers on the best hits album include Robert Livingston, Shaun “Sting” Pizzonia, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Tony “CD” Kelly.

Among the many songs included on the hits package are Angel and Within the Summertime (each featuring Rayvon), Hope (featuring Prince Mydas), It Wasn’t Me (with Ricardo “Rik Rok” Ducent), Ready Fi Di Ride, Wild 2Nite (featuring Olivia), and Feel the Rush.

Birch, a former member of Shaggy’s band, started off with the SANE Band. He also worked with several bands on the hotel cabaret circuit and later ventured into music production. He said working with Shaggy has been a journey.

“Being a part of the 809 band after which moving on to working with Shaggy and transitioning into being a part of his band, it was a world of tours far and wide. Being a musician then transitioning to constructing beats for Shaggy after which to starting my very own label, it was good,” said Birch.

Birch got here to the fore with the Thrilla rhythm, released in 2004 on his Echo label. It spawned Macka Diamond’s breakthrough hit Done Already, Exit Sign by Voice Mail, Get On Up and Dance by Elephant Man, Solid as a Rock by T.O.K., and Stand Firm by Bounty Killer, amongst others.

He has toured with several acts through the years including Buju Banton, Marcia Griffiths, Tony Rebel, Wayne Wonder, Mutabruka and Diana King.

His most up-to-date music production, Sponsor featuring singer Lanae, was released in August.

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