He’s rubbed shoulders and worked with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes and J Cole and the budding Bermudian producer vows to bring his success back to the island.
You may remember Shaquille Durham as one of the DJs in Triple Force who used to perform sets across the island where his passion for music began.
This passion, clubbed with his seemingly fearless ability to network, has seen him work his way up to studio manager at Premier Studios in New York. The studio records, produces and engineers for some of the most successful hip hop artists in the world.
Durham has just had the opportunity to work with Billboard-topping artist J Cole whose album Born Sinner has just hit the Gold spot on the charts.
“He is one of my favourite artists and he had just started working on the album he recorded at the studio.
“I assisted on the majority of his sessions. Myself, and the whole studio team, were given credit on his album — it premiered at number one on Billboard and it has gone Gold since.
“That is my biggest accomplishment so far to be a part of a Billboard topping album.”
Durham has also had the privilege to either meet or work with the likes of French Montana, Nikki Minaj, Buster Rhymes, John Legend and Trey Songz. “Some of these artists I have engineered for their sessions, others I have second produced for.
“I have sat in writing sessions for, and others I have just had the opportunity to meet and have conversations with and build relationships for the future.”
“Busta Rhymes has been in a lot lately. J Cole’s next album drops in September and we should receive credits for that as well.
“Nicki Minaj came to the studio — she has a remix with Busta Rhymes which is out right now called Work It. It is in rotation on MTV etc.
“She came to the studio to record the verse that was my chance to meet her and watch her work and record.”
Asked what the experience was like he said: “She was a great person she is real ‘diva-ish’ but she is very nice and very polite. She came and she worked where some artists come and want to party but she worked and left.”
While the former Berkeley Institute student is enjoying meeting and learning from the famous there is more to his mission.
Proud of his heritage, he hopes to inspire the youth in Bermuda and plans to, one day, open the first commercial recording studio on the island.
Durham graduated from Full Sail University with a Bachelors in Recording Arts and a Masters in Music Business and he is gaining valuable experience at Premier Studios.
“I’ve always wanted it to come back full circle — Bermuda is the inspiration for it all,” he said. “I am inspired by my family and friends and I wanted to go out and do something great to share with them. I have seen other young Bermudians do similar things and start to break through that mould and do stuff that Bermudians don’t expect. That was the biggest inspiration for me. I have serious plans to open a commercial recording studio where artists can book the time. I want to give the youth different opportunities when it comes to music itself.”
Shaquille in a nutshell:
Which artists would you love to work with? Jay-Z, it would be a dream to work with him.
What’s your best advice to aspiring producers? Network. Even here I had already started networking with international artists. I would reach out to different artists to get different ‘drops’ and jingles for our sound and that is where the passion really grew. It is the most important thing in this and other industries. That and be passionate. Don’t let anyone ever tell you you can’t make it Bda is a small place and people don’t have expectations but if that is what you want to do you only live once don’t let anyone stop you from reaching them.
Which Bermuda producers you respect? Detrimental. Rian A Track. Shane Woodley.
Which Bermuda artists do you respect? I love and respect artists like Collie Buddz, Twanee Butterfield and Slanger.
What word best describes your style? Versatile.