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EXCLUSIVE: Meet Grammy award-winning producer Boi-1da

By CAMILLE SANTIAGO Published Feb 02, 2021 5:13 am Updated Feb 05, 2021 12:32 am

Grammy award-winning and Multiple Diamond Selling producer and songwriter, Matthew Jehu Samuels, or more popularly known as Boi-1da, may have made a name and space for himself in the music industry, but, he reveals that has never forgotten his roots and, in particular, those who have believed in his talents.

“My journey began when I was about three years old and was introduced to dancehall, which is a huge part of Jamaican culture. The songs were very colorful and made you want to dance,” Boi-1da told PhilSTAR L!fe in an exclusive interview.

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Boi-1da, who is Jamaican by descent, began by telling us how his father and sister played a big role in his interest in music, particularly hip-hop music. “He would play dancehall and reggae music at home as a youth. My sister was heavy into R&B music so I would hear that around the house as well.”

But reality hit him and he realized that rapping is not his forte. Instead, he “found another avenue to be involved in music:” producing.

Without any background or training in music, his passion led him to discover it on his own. “As a teenager, I used to recreate my favorite songs from producers like Pharrell, Dre, and Timbaland and that would help me to learn more about Fruity Loops and how beats are made,” he told PhilSTAR L!fe. 

I maintain my focus by understanding that music comes in waves and that I just need to ride out the tough times and make room for the great times.

Boi-1da then joined the “Battle of the Beatmakers”—an annual competition of global hip-hop producers held in Toronto—and won three consecutive championships. Later on, he eventually landed his first big break at the age of 18 when he produced a mixtape for Drake. Since then, he has produced several hits for Drake such as God's Plan, Up All Night, Controlla, How About Now, and more.

A natural born hustler who has set himself up for success, Boi-1da has done work with the likes of Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Rihanna, Cardi B, Justin Bieber, Kehlani, and many more for over 15 years now. But for him, as with anybody, there are times when his focus shifts away. “I maintain my focus by understanding that music comes in waves and that I just need to ride out the tough times and make room for the great times. My love and passion for music keeps me going.”

Boi-1da stays grounded by reminding himself that creating music is not just to satisfy his insatiable appetite for music, it's to inspire others. “I try my best to be innovative and forward thinking to be ahead of the curve,” he added.

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Recently, he has collaborated with run brand Bacardi for its “Conga Feat. You” campaign that highlights dancers from all over the world to show their talents in a music video featuring Meek Mill and Leslie Grace. “For me, making music that can enhance an experience and paint a picture that you will never forget is what it's all about,” he said.

Boi-1da also explained how music can make you feel like you’re somewhere else or change your mood. “Music influences movement and dance. So, Conga is the spark for what you choose to express by feeling the rhythm of the beat.” 

In the end, he hopes that anyone who is looking for artistic inspiration may find it through music and experience. "Keep your mind open, palette wide, and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Do things out of your comfort zone, go for it and do it to the best of your ability."

Special thanks to Bacardi and Redtorch Communications