A&E » Arts

Chin Injeti: defying labels



Who: Chin Injeti (in support of Finley Quaye)

When: Thursday, July 15

Where: GLC

Cost: $20

Artists don't like to be labeled (it's usually an ego-thing), but in Chin Injeti's case, it's for good reason. This musician/producer dabbles in a bit of everything: R&B, hip hop and acoustic "urban folk."

Originally from Toronto, Injeti calls Vancouver home today. But he's been spending a lot of time in Los Angeles recently, working with some big names in the music industry (Dr. Dre, Nas, Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes, Drake, the Clipse, Esthero, Kinnie Starr, Hot Hot Heat, Bedouin Soundclash and Zaki Ibrahim). Most notably, perhaps, he contributed to Eminem's latest album, Recovery , which just dropped at the end of June, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and selling 741,000 copies in its first week. On that project, Injeti shares writing and performance credits on the tracks Almost Famous and Talkin' 2 Myself.

But any old school R&B-lovers will probably recognize Injeti from an era gone by - he was actually the founding member of Bass is Base, which created the hit single I Cry (Google it; you know you want to).

"It was my first foray into the music business and then after that I learned everything about songwriting and production, and that was really from an urban place I grew up in," Injeti said.

Though that group was short-lived, it opened the door for Injeti's solo musical career: he's gone on to perform alongside artists like James Brown, The Fugees, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, Nelly Furtado and the Marley Family. And while Injeti has gotten a lot out of the work he's put into the industry, he also gives back by mentoring artists. In fact, he's just getting ready to teach a class on urban production at the Nimbus School of Recording Arts.

He's also become heavily involved in the behind-the-scenes side of the industry, songwriting and producing alongside his production partner, DJ Khalil. The two were actually brought together by their mutual manager, who saw the two as a solid musical fit. As it turns out, his instincts were spot-on; the two have been working together for almost three years now. Recently they started a new four-piece group of "music nerds" called The New Royales, "a genre-bending" band that unifies sounds from the past, present and future.

"I flew everyone to Vancouver two winters ago and we're all songwriters and some of us are producers, and we were just tired of everything we were working on," he explained. "We were just like, 'let's just work on some shit that we like.' So we just started writing songs and what came out was somewhere between Gorillaz and Big Audio Dynamite and The Clash and Pink Floyd."

That newly formed group traveled to L.A. and spent a weekend with Dr. Dre to write hooks for Detox , his upcoming record.

"When we walked into the studio, like every studio was pumping our music and Dre... was like a mad scientist. He was listening and observing and checking things out, going from room to room."

What was supposed to be a weekend became more than a week of collaborating and working with the hip hop legend. One thing led to another and soon they were working with what seemed like the entire hip hop community.

"But it wasn't a rap project," Injeti quickly added. "It was a real hybrid project."

Though he's been busy working on production projects and with the new group, Injeti hasn't abandoned performing or his solo projects. In fact, he's just released a new acoustic "urban folk" album, D'tach .

The solo album, which was released in April, is a definite departure from his more recent production projects, but the focus on making quality music and lyrics is still at its core.

Interestingly enough, Injeti opted to get outside of his comfort zone, musically - he abandoned his collection of basses, vintage keyboards, guitars, harmonium and tables, sitting down with a pad of paper, pen, some coffee and a used guitar and just getting down to work. The end result is an assortment of stripped down, laidback tracks. They include a collaboration with K'Naan on Mask On My Face and a more personal song, Fiya Fiya,

At his show in Whistler, Injeti is one of the supporting sets opening up for UK pop artist Finley Quaye, so the audience can expect to see the mellower, acoustic version from D'tach take the stage at the GLC.



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