In Da Beginning
The singing bug bit Bahamian music superstar Kirkland “K.B.” Bodie early. He was born
in the Bahamian Capital, New Providence to Ortland H. Bodie Sr. (Androsian
Native) and Beatrice Outten (Native of the Turks and Caicos Islands). Young
Kirkland spent a few years of his childhood in the United States with his
parents before moving back to the Bahamas to reside with his mother in Jones
Town, Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama.
There in Eight Mile Rock, (which is the largest settlement in the country), Kirkland tiptoed
in the footprints of his older siblings whom he idolized. Music was everywhere
for young Kirk who spent his weekdays with his mother in Eight Mile Rock and
his weekends with his father in the city of Freeport. At his mother’s house his
older brother and sister often sang the native Goombay songs they heard on the
radio. The duo even did a recording during their high school years at Eight
Mile Rock High, further inspiring the budding singer. Years later Kirk would
continue to list Bahamian artists like Dry Bread, Ronnie Butler and Eddie
Minnis among his favorites. At his father’s residence Kirk was exposed to other
genres of music. He and his brothers rocked to the tunes of Casey Kasem’s Top
40, and “Beach Blanket” movies starring the likes of Frankie Avalon and Annette
Funicello,. It was this strange cocktail of Bahamian favorites and American pop
music that nurtured his talent in its earliest stages.
At school young Kirk found another outlet in the National Arts Festivals. As a
student at Martin Town Primary he was selected for solo parts in the choir’s
performances. Adolescent Kirk was also an athlete, participating in track and
field events, playing basketball, softball, baseball, etc., and this would later
contribute to his on stage energy and athleticism. Years later when he returned
to the U.S. along with his mother and siblings, his singing talent earned him
attention at Hialeah High School in Florida. Now a teenager, in a new school
and a foreign country, the arts offered the shy young man an outlet. His voice
caught the ear of two music students on the school bus one day despite the fact
that he had been singing in hushed tones. The students, (members of the
school’s Chorus group), insisted that he join the class as well. Kirk soon
found that a whole new world had opened up before him.
Kirkland’s star quickly rose even in high school, teachers recognized his talent early and
encouraged him to develop his voice as well as expanding his talents through
joining the Drama Club. The artist currently credits a particular substitute
teacher with awakening the titan within him. It’s hard to believe that the K.B.
who electrifies stages with sweat-soaked, energized performances once sang
under his breath in large groups. Yet sing quietly he did until the day the
teacher – an “Andre Crouch type of guy” – urged the young man to reach deeper
into himself to pull out his true voice, a demand the Singer likens to, “A
The voice that came out was like no other, (smooth, strong, beautiful), it was like
a blockage or clot was removed and it was never suppressed again. He subsequently earned “Best Tenor” in his
junior year and was selected as the “Best Male Vocalist” in his senior year.
Tripping with Ego Tripp
Kirkland Bodie returned to The Bahamas after high school. Restless and ready for the
real world, he ran through, in a single year, the only three nine-to-five jobs
he would ever have. He pumped gas, worked the stock room at an auto parts outlet
and bused tables; all while rocking a prized burgundy jheri curl. However, it
was while busing tables at the Lemon Peel in the Princess Towers Hotel that the
music business summoned him. The singer accepted many invitations to display
his talents at beauty pageants and talent shows. He performed here and there
while counting his tips at the Lemon Peel, until his long time friend and
childhood buddy Sid Rolle encouraged him to form a band.
The late 80’s were a great time to start a band and the guys who grew to form The Ego
Tripp Band knew it. Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” album had taken off and
the local clubs were buzzing with the live music of homegrown talent like The Naked
Notes, Hot Wax and Funk Connection. Artist such as Stevie Wonder, Prince, Billy
Idol, Duran Duran, T-Connection, and Rod Stewart were playing on this
youngster’s cassette player and music seemed like a world unto itself. Sid
Rolle saw in Kirk the front man to build the band around, with his bold
attitude and stage confidence the perfect name for the band would then be “The Ego
Tripp Band”. The young singer who had always known that there was much more
ahead for him, sprung at the opportunity to organize the group. Kirk Bodie came
together with Sid Rolle (bass), Dave Cooper (guitar), and childhood friend George
Delancy (drums), to bring to reality The Ego Tripp Band.
EgoTripp got its first big break with the single “Party”. The song had won its
category at the music awards ceremony held by Frank Penn’s G.B.I Recording
Studio. The young men won $400 and the chance to record their song to wax,
which they had written and arranged. The euphoria had set in.
The song led way to the group’s first album, which they recorded some months later with
Penn, entitled “Come Share Some Good Times.”
Subsequently, Ego Tripp recorded its first nationwide hit titled “Turn Her Loose” the first
single was released from their second album “Tripping Is Legal”, a conscious
tune with a native beat, the song had been inspired by an idea from Kirk’s Uncle
Through the success of “Turn Her Loose”, the group received nationwide recognition, and
were in high demand.
Around the same time the band played its first national concert at the Poinciana Arena
in New Providence. Moved by a variety of artists, including U2 and Ready for
the World, Ego Tripp refined its sound. The Band eventually parted ways with
Penn and began playing the nightclub circuit with great success.
The Hit Parade begins
The band’s popularity grew as member’s toured the islands together. Their second nationwide
hit “Ya Windin’” endeared them to even more fans. While the band thrived, Kirk
began to explore the use of his writing, composing and producing skills to
establish himself as an independent producer and found a way to bring in more
coin. He partnered with another artist “Cardinal’ Pinder” to enter into a song
competition. That song didn’t win,
but believing in the song, they decided to press it to vinyl. They needed a ‘B-side’
and Kirk had a masterpiece laying in wait, which once recorded would ultimately
turn out to be the ‘A-side’. The upbeat dance song caught the ears and shook
the waists of people around the country once it hit the airwaves, and her name
was “Juicy Suzy”. With the release of this 12” (twelve inch) single, the singer
formally known as Kirkland Bodie of The Ego Tripp Band would embark on his first
solo project and from that moment on, would use the acronym K.B. which not only
symbolized his initials, but also garnish him the nick name the “Kickin’
Bahamian”. Radio DJs of the day saw K.B.’s sound as a blast from the future.
“Juicy Suzy” was just the beginning for the young artist. Demand for the song led to
bookings at Regattas, Homecomings and cultural events around the country. Ego
Tripp performed the song throughout the archipelago of Islands, leading the way
in what would become a huge national pastime: swaying to live performances of
Bahamian music at a year-round calendar of cultural events.
The members of Ego Tripp eventually said their goodbyes to each other as each member
pursued other interests. Riding the success of “Juicy Suzy”, K.B. dove into his
solo career. He thrilled fans once again with his huge follow up hit “Jus’ Cause
She Fat.” A song about a sexy, heavy-set woman from Andros ignited fans’
imagination and cemented K.B.’s fame as not just a singer but also a songwriter
and storyteller. By this time K.B. had teamed up with Bahamian music promoter
and Family Island Lounge manager Rudy Grant. Grant worked with the artist to
take the song to levels few songs had ascended to in the local market, “Jus
Cause She Fat” became the biggest selling Goombay song in the Bahamas. K.B.
brought the music industry in the Bahamas back to life, at this time, there
were only a few Bahamian artists being played on the radio or recording in
studios, but this song proved that Bahamians wanted to hear their own sound and
inspired other artist to record Bahamian music. The artist performed tirelessly
from Wednesdays through Sundays at the club in addition to touring the country
on Mondays and Tuesdays. “She Fat” was on everyone’s lips; so was the name K.B.
Coming to America
It was during the height of the hit tune that K.B. crossed the waters to Boston.
“She Fat” had caught the attention of American Businessman Gary Bernstein, who
saw potential in the young Bahamian’s stirring vocals and contagious energy.
Bernstein soon became K.B.’s manager. The artist travelled back and forth
between the U.S. and The Bahamas for several years in the 90s, scoping out new
audiences abroad while keeping the home fires burning. K.B. took a number of
different musicians to the U.S. to back him while he toured the East coast over
the years. They performed as the Kirkland Bodie Band. That Band eventually became
the Spank Band, they would return to The Bahamas each year to perform at Club Waterloo
during the popular Spring Break season. They re-christened themselves with the
catchy name “SPANK!!” which is the act of beating the goatskin drum .
Pioneer of a cultural movement
K.B.’s efforts to include other Bahamian musicians in the opportunities that came his
way continued as the artist grew as a writer/producer. In addition to his own
extensive discography, which includes hit albums; “Conch Juice”, “Island Boy”,
“Bush Mechanic” and “Bahamian Culture”; K.B. has also produced a number of
“K.B. and Friends” compilation albums. Through these albums K.B. has introduced
new Bahamian artist to a growing Bahamian music industry in which he continues
to play a highly significant role in its development and promotion. The artist
is also known for his much anticipated annual releases with the Junkanoo group
“Sting” which comes just in time for the Boxing and New Year’s Day parades.
A renowned entertainer/writer/producer, K.B. continues to deliver heart-pumping,
must-see performances of the music he loves around the country and the world.
He recently performed for the first time in the U.K., taking the uniquely
Bahamian sound of Rake N’ Scrape, his native music of choice, to an entirely
new audience. He was as much a hit “across the pond” as he has been in his home
country, the region and the U.S.
With an ever-expanding repertoire and a lifetime of ideas, K.B. will continue to
shine brightly on the Bahamian stage.