Veteran singjay Roy Thompson, known as Bugle, was born in Jamaica's lush green parish of Portland. At a young age, Bugle realized he had a special gift when he would garner the attention of his peers for simply drumming on his school desk. From those days, there was something about music that drew him in and it all started to manifest while he was still a student in Primary School. His impromptu classroom antics would sometimes get more attention than the teacher's lesson. After a while, Bugle became even more popular and the entire school came to know who he was; this energy propelled his drive to dream big and pursue a career in music and entertainment.
"At that time when me a get that attention it meant the world to me," says Bulge. "It helped to push me and make me want to do more." Eventually, he became good at "flipping" the songs of well-known artists of the time, such as Lieutenant Stitchie and Papa San. By "flipping," Bugle would write his own lyrics to the artist's version of the song and perform this retake at school functions. His popularity grew even more and the community began to celebrate him as a beloved local artist.
"That push me, that just make me know that this is something [I need] to do," says Bugle. He continued to pursue the vibes and was even more motivated when his late brother gifted him with his own sound system. Using this sound system, he was able to continue practicing his music and perfecting his performance style. After leaving high school, Bugle decided he would leave Portland and embark on the big city, where he would have easier access to quality studios and current technology.
Not knowing where he would sleep at night wasn't a concern, Bugle decided nothing would come between him and his mission of making music. As Bugle became well known in Kingston, he began to gain his footing as a songwriter in the community of Cooreville. "The first artist that sang a song that was written by me was actually Bounty Killer," Bugle says humbly. "Them times, that was the greatest thing that could ever happen to me as a youth. That was another push that made me realize this is something [I need] to do."
Eventually, Bugle was recruited by a producer to write a song for dancehall vet, Elephant Man. The tune cemented a strength between Elephant Man and Bugle, and Bugle began touring the Caribbean as part of Elephant Man's official entourage. "I was there during the highest peak of 'Pon De River' and 'Signal Di Plane' and dem tune deh. I did three US tours with him, Japan, and on the last tour, I think it was 2005, I just couldn't go anymore. I made that decision on the tour." Bugle decided he would embark on his own journey carving his own path onto Jamaica's top singles charts. On his solo journey, Bugle's power as a songwriter really began to shine when he became the one voicing his own written word. "I was always there but nuff people never know say me an artist."
"What We Gonna Do" is one of Bugle's top singles to date:
Released in late 2015, "Rasta Party" caught dancehall lovers by storm with its conscious, yet up-tempo vibes. "Me just do good music, promote it to the best of my ability and allow the almighty to do the rest," Bugle says about the hit single. As the song's buzz grows, it gives us a glimpse of Bugle's presence on the mainstream circuit. "The song explains a lot of things. Sometimes people would be coming at me and asking, how do you have fun? You don't drink and you don't do this and you don't do that; so how do you have fun?" "When me sing "Rasta Party," me basically telling people for all of the questions whe them asking, let me sum it up for you in four minutes and answer everything." "I'm telling people this is how Rasta lives, this is how we celebrate our life and we probably have more fun than you." "We nuh intoxicated."
Listen to the upful vibes here:
"Ganja" featuring Shaggy is one of the hottest tunes on Bugle's brand new album, Be Yourself:
"I got the name Bugle from friends who think that I love music so much, I should be named after a musical instrument," he says. The Bugle could also be a reference to his unique voice. Bugle sings in a lower register than most dancehall artists, an almost grovel at times. Reminiscent of the classic dancehall artist. Either way, Bugle has manifested his destiny as one of Jamaica's most distinct voices.
His brand new album, Be Yourself, spreads a message of self-acceptance and education. "In everyday life, you realize that people need information and there's no one on the face of the earth that's more influential than musicians and the players of instruments; because elections come every four or five years, that's when politicians have the most talk, but show keep every night." "Music plays every night in everybody's house so people here we as artists more than they hear anyone else, so we have a mission to accomplish as musicians, singers, players of instruments or writers." "We don't even know the importance of how important we are to our own society. So [I make] sure to focus on doing good music, and putting proper messages on a riddim. Something you can learn something from."
Music with meaning and vibes, that's Bugle's message. A humble call to "Be Yourself." The new album of the same name was executive produced by Bugle. The "Kick Off" riddim featuring Popcaan, Tarrus Riley, Busy Signal and more is also the first production from Bugle's Kingston-based studio by his production company An9ted Entertainment.
"I'm looking forward to making sure that people hear the work [I've been] putting in."
Listen to "Be Yourself" here on KingstonToLA.com and download Bugle's new album of the same name HERE on iTunes.
Images via @buglemusic on Instagram.