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3 cover story Geno D By MONIQUE FORBES Guardian Features Reporter He is one of the younger genera- tion of Bahamian musicians, but in less than a decade his soulful and   witty   tunes   have   earned respect   and   admiration   from diverse musical audiences. With  hits  like  ‘Da  Gal  Look Good’, ‘Drunk Again’, ‘Gal If I had You’, and ‘Inagua,’ Eugene Davis, aka Geno D, has taken the lyrical flavour of rake-n-scrape music to new heights. The eldest of eight siblings, Geno D was born to James and Beatrice Davis  at  Moore’s  Island,  Abaco, March  27,  1960.  When  he  was five, the family moved to Nassau. It  was  here  that  Geno  would spend the remainder of his child- hood. He attended Claridge Road Primary,  and  then  R.  M.  Bailey High School. Throughout his childhood, Geno developed a love for music. “I  had  a  few  uncles  who  were into  music,  my  parents  always like music, so for me, I felt it came natural,” admits Geno in an inter- view. Growing up at a time when the music  of  Blind  Blake,  George Symonete, Freddie Munnings Jr., Bob  Marley,  and  The  Jackson Five,  were  popular,  such  music greatly  influenced  the  small  boy who would daydream of someday becoming a superstar, and having his name on his very own record. “When  I  was  younger,  I  would peel  off  the  names  of  the  artists 45’s (record disc), or scratch it off, and I would write Eugene Davis on it,” reflects Geno. He  even  studied  music  during his high school years, and learnt to play the guitar. However it was his uncle whom he said influenced him to major in electronics  when  he  enrolled  at The   College   of   The   Bahamas (COB).  During  this  time  music took a back seat. In  1979,  upon  graduation  from COB,  he  landed  a  job  at  The Broadcasting  Corporation  of  The Bahamas (ZNS). There he would stay for the next 15 years working his way up to the position of tele- vision director. Holding on to his day  job  at  ZNS,  he  pursed  his musical career part-time. “I was still learning what I could about the music industry. I would go to guys like Fred Ferguson, and bands like High Voltage, and learn from them about the business,” he said. Additionally, he competed in sev- eral talent competitions, and after winning   several   times   at   the Palace  Night  Club,  in  1990,  he wrote and produced his first song entitled, ‘Ooh Girl,’ a song with an R&B kick. Instead of scratching names off other  peoples  record,  Geno  now had his own. The single received radio  air  play  and  attracted  the attention  of  businessman  Greg Burrows who told Geno he would pay him to produce, and write sev- eral Bahamian songs. As   a   result,   in   1995   Geno released  his  first  album  entitled ‘Unveiled’.     It     was     a     hit. Particularly a song on the album entitled ‘Da Gal Look Good.” His  popularity  grew,  so  much that  Geno  started  performing  at regattas,  and  homecomings,  and The    Miss    Bahamas    Beauty Pageant. As a result of his growing popu- larity in the music business, Geno decided to make a major decision in  his  life.  In  1995  he  resigned from  ZNS  to  pursue  a  career  in music full-time. To date, Geno has released some five  albums,  including  his  most recent  entitled ‘Geno D. Junkanoo Party  Mix’.  His  songs  have  paid homage to heroes like the late Sir Lynden  Pindling,  the  Olympic gold medalists, the Golden Girls, and to his fellow musicians, as a sign of his love and appreciation. Over  the  years,  the  entertain- er/songwriter/producer  confesses he  has    seen  much  growth  and maturity  in  his  work,  and  he  is looking forward to growing even more as an artist. “My   songs   must   have   some meaning. I want something posi- tive that can up lift somebody,” he says about the development of his work. Geno recently received recogni- tion from his peers and fans, by winning  two  Cacique Awards  in the  ‘People’s  Choice’ award  cate- gory. “I  wanted  to  thank  those  wh o supported   me   throughout   my career,  the  Ministry  of  Tourism and everyone who is helping peo- ple to realise the importance that Bahamian  music  plays  in  the development of our country,” says Geno, noting he hopes the recog- nition  was  a  sign  of  more  good things to come in his career, and for Bahamian music. Meanwhile, Geno says he hopes the issue of copyright laws here in The Bahamas can be revisited by lawmakers  as  many  artists  are faced with revenue loss due to the bootlegging of their music. “By the time your stuff reache s the  shelves,  everyone  has  it  ... that is killing the industry,” says Geno. Nevertheless,  these  days  Geno is completing a new album, and working  toward  expanding  his work  by  exploring  and  mixing other    types    of    music    with Bahamian music. He’s   also   building   a   studio where he hopes to produce music videos for fellow artists. And, he admits, there may be a time when he will retire from the stage, but vows to continue his involvement with music behind the scenes. His  first  45’ record  bearing  his name  is  mounted  and  displayed above his work desk, a reminder for him to keep his dream alive. “Music  is  a  great  way  to  pre - serve our history and culture, and I think I’m doing my part.” Eugene Davis Reinventing Bahamian music or keeping the dream alive EUGENE DAVIS