Dr .Tea- One of Claws Music genre innovators
It is not very often that one reads a narrative of a Gynecologist turned musician (part time).Dr Chester Toney who goes by the sobriquet Dr.Tea, started his musical sojourn at age six after having been exposed to the popular forms of music internationally and regionally at that time. The music coming out of North America and popular radio stations in the 70’s could be heard in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.These radio stations included Radio St.Vincent and the Grenadines (RSVG) and Radio 610 out of Trinidad and Tobago.Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae and Mento were all emerging as musical forces out of Jamaica while Spouge placed Barbados on the musical map internationally.Calypso music out of Trinidad and Tobago and many islands around the Caribbean including St.Vincent and the Grenadines were also making its’ rounds on many of the international charts in the 70’s.
At twelve years old he started listening to music with a very keen ear and was often glued to the radio trying to interpret music emerging from the U.S.A. In the 80’s. His favourite artistes were Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, and Prince. While on the other hand his reggae music repitiore comprised music by the groups, Aswad, Black Uhuru, Third World, Steel Pulse, Bob Marley and the wailers, Reggae legends like Peter Tosh, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Burning Spear were some of his favourite reggae singers.In Calypso ,The Mighty Sparrow ,Black Stalin,Chalkdust and Becket(SVG) fascinated him. After entering medical school in Havana, Cuba in the late eighties Dr.Tea spent more than a decade learning his craft(medicine) and finally specialising in Obstetrics and Gynecology.Alongside his medical career he had subtly pursued informal training in international music by collecting music from his counterparts on campus from around the world.His collection included Samba, Salsa, Bachata, Rumba and many Latin ballads done by singers like Julio Iglesia, Jose Jose, and also music by Eros Ramazzotti and Laura Pausini (both Italians).However his biggest non-English singer was Roberto Carlos of Brazil.
Dr.Tea learned not to confine his musical ears to any one geographical space.It was with this in mind he met Pancho Amat of Havana, Cuba while a resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the 90,s and was taught the intricacies of Cuban music firsthand.This opened up a new world in the appreciation of Song and other Cuban musical expressions. His favourite music came from Irakere, Carlos Verela, Silvio Roderiguez, Isaac Delgado, Pablo Milanes and El Medicl de la Salsa(a medical doctor who became his friend and transitioned into singing professionally).While visiting Jamaica in 1996, coincidentally he ended up staying with Kiddus I in Kingston. Kiddus I acted and sang in the movie “Rockers” and assisted him in a crash course in singing and writing Reggae music. Kiddus I was a friend of Bob Marley. After returning from studies in Cuba in 1998, he began reconnecting to his native land, St.Vincent and the Grenadines. His musical roots ignited once more and he became connected to Soca and Calypso music in a special way again with their modern influences and soon became a friend of Winston Soso “The Rolls Royce Of Calypso”.
In 2011 he was approached by one of St.Vincent’s legendary soca artistes Mr. Godfrey Dublin to assist in producing the track,”Any number cud play”. They both ended up creating a new genre of music,”Claws Music” a universal beat from the four continents with a Vincentain flair of Soca and Reggae music. The new genre encapsulates a fusion of music and was ingeniously arranged by Adrian Bailey of the Kevin Lyttle’s “Turn me on “ fame. The song,”Any number cud play” became a smash hit and was also dubbed the most controversial song in the history of the island since its’ independence from Britian in 1979.
The following year(2012) Dr.Tea teamed up again with Godfrey Dublin to produce another musical bomb”Whey you think”. This time, the music was arranged by Godfrey “Cherry” Ince a Vincentian living in New York and mastered by Toney Dawsey of the La Bamba fame.Toney Dawsey has mastered for many of the heavy hitters in the music industry including Jay-Z and Akon. After these two major successes as a producer he decided it was time to start producing his own music and he felt it was also timely to continue experimenting with “Claws Music” genre. This became the birth of Claws Reggae in the form of reggae music captured by Kamal Archibald through the song,”My brother Barack Obama” The lyrics of the song was taken from Dr.Tea’s (Dr.Chester Toney) two published books ”Sexolution with Loverativity” and “The unaplogetic quest for success”.This song was created to celebrate the ground breaking presidency of Barack Obama who became the first black president of the U.S.A. It was Dr.Tea’s contribution to the president’s bid for a second term.
In a nutshell we can see that Dr.Toney is not merely an Obstretrician/Gynecologist.He is a medical doctor with a wealth of knowledge that spans the globe.It was just a matter of time that he began transferring his musical experiences from his brain to paper and ultimately to the production of his own musical style.”My brother Barack Obama” is simply spell boundingly rivetting. It is a one of a kind blend that comes about once in a generation and this blend of great lyrics and music is both passionate and enjoyable.It encompasses the vagaries of Pop, Rock, Jazz and Reggae laced with rhythms from around the world.Dr.Tea says,”If you can prove that you have heard something similar in a rhythm to what I have created I would offer you the single free of charge”.