NOTCH
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NOTCH

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE | AFTRA

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Latin Reggae

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As a new style centered on dance and club culture, reggaeton has absorbed much of contemporary electronic music into its vocabulary. The result is a fascinatingly diverse array of music that speaks to the universal appeal of music often thought of as the product of a hermetic island culture. This is music that thumbs its nose at geography. This is different. And therefore special.
What follows is a highly abbreviated list of some of my favorite reggaeton tracks I've culled from the Internet. I encourage readers to explore their own local reggaeton scenes: wherever young Latinos exist (which is practically everywhere in the U.S.), so does reggaeton.
Notch - Hay Que Bueno Reggaeton
There's nice interplay between the old and the new here: a stomping matador guitar, trumpet, congas and dramatic Spanish-pop crooning flavors the traditional reggaeton beat. Notch adds an authentic Latin melodicism to a rapping style that owes far more to Jamaica than NYC. - Stylus Magazine


Fri Jun 29, 2007 at 07:35:37 PM

On his debut solo album, Raised by the People, Notch is a sonero. A songsmith. He’s confident, even boisterous. But the person sitting across from me during a recent lunch interview is humble. He might attribute his humility to his nomadic journey in music; from his days in the reggae duo Born Jamericans, to his later dancehall days to his latest venture: reggaeton. But, after only a few questions it becomes apparent that it’s not the journey, but the reason for that journey that has made him this way. His cultural identity is a jigsaw puzzle. From an early age he understood that he wasn’t just American. He’s Jamaican. He’s Puerto Rican. He’s Cuban. And his music symbolizes that identity. He’s been categorized as a reggaeton artist for Raised by the People, but he’s quick to reject the label. As well he should. Raised by the People flows from reggaeton to merengue to freestyle to R&B to reggae without the slightest friction. In “Ay Qué Bueno!,” “Dale Pá Trá” and “Guaya Guaya” he’s all reggaeton. “Qué te Pica” is a merengue reminiscent of Sandy & Papo – if not more danceable. Then there’s “Jah Mexi Cali,” a purist reggae beat as catchy as its lyrics are melancholic. To add to the album’s mercurial nature, he sings in what he calls Spatoinglish, a mixture of Spanish, Jamaican patois and English. While in Miami, Notch sat down with New Times to talk about his journey.

New Times: You’re part Jamaican, part Cuban, part Puerto Rican and your MySpace page says your mother is part Portuguese.
Notch: And part American Indian. It’s a colorful family tree.
Are you trying to find an identity in reggaeton?
Uh, not really. I think reggaeton is trying to find an identity in me. … I don’t speak the same subject matters that a lot of the Puerto Rican reggaeton artists do because I wasn’t born and raised in Puerto Rico. I’m not from the same pool of artists there that have had the same experiences.
Tell us about Spatoinglish.
It’s how you have Spanglish. The first generation Latinos move to America. … Patois, in Jamaica, is nothing more than the Queen’s English, mixed with the African dialect that was brought over. But broken, it’s a broken dialect of English but it has a lot of African influence in it. But it’s still English, it’s not too far off. If I was speaking Japanese or Portuguese and patois and Spanish, I’d be a lot more amazed at myself.
How hard was it to transition from the patois reggae to the Spanish reggaeton?
It was difficult trying to convince the label that I used to be a part of to transition from the Jamerican reggae/dancehall/hip hop to going to straight Latin fuse music. And I got kind of a fight. I got discouraged. It was like, “Yo, we’re not accepting these songs. We’re gonna drop you if you keep singing this Latin stuff.”
How long ago was this?
This was from ’98 to 2001. So I’ve been hammering away at this Latin direction long before the explosion. I didn’t really get a chance to ride the wave of reggaeton ‘cause I was doing it at a time when they weren’t rocking it. I’ve been fighting. A lot of people don’t know that. They think it’s easy for me to slide into it ‘cause I look Spanish. I sound Spanish on record. And the Spanish thing is what’s happening right now, so why not slide in and make a quick buck?
What do you say to these people who will think that is what you’re doing?
Check my discography.
How fluent are you in Spanish?
I always tell everybody I just know Newyorican. I know all the abuelita sayings. I understand it more than I speak it. When I speak it to a female, and there’s no other English speaking person around, she’ll be like, “Your Spanish is not bad at all.”
Is reggaeton a fad?
They said hip-hop was a fad. They said rock ‘n’ roll was a fad. Any new music that comes along that represents change, or the industry has to readjust to find a way to capitalize off it, there are always naysayers who feel threatened by it because they’re not a part of it yet and they don’t know a way to work it out so then it’s a fad. I think if reggaeton loses musical value, if not too many artists step up to the plate with catchy, transcendent melodies, that transcend the language, that transcend the culture barrier, and other people of other countries or nationalities don’t embrace it, it will stay permanent only amongst Latins, but will lose out on mainstream exposure.
When did the album come out?
It came out May 22. It came out very humbly without much prior promotion, without much prior buzz. With just a window where not much albums were coming out. “We waited long enough for you to deliver this album. We got a window, nobody’s gonna release that week. Even though the streets is not whet with all this promotion, lets get the first run in stores and lets start the process of trying to figure out how to make this album make sense to the public.
- ONEW TIMES- Broward-Palm Beach


June 29, 2007,
Ayala Ben-Yehuda, L.A.

If anyone knows what reggae has to do with reggaeton, it's probably Notch. On his debut album, "Raised by the People," the son of a Jamaican-Cuban father and a black and Puerto Rican mother presents something like a photo gallery of his musical roots: dancehall, reggaeton, roots reggae, salsa and R&B, delivered back and forth in Spanish, English and patois.

Norman Howell spent his childhood in the inner city of Hartford, Conn. absorbing the music played by his father, a bass player in a local reggae band that backed touring acts like Toots & the Maytals and Horace Andy. (The Latin music came during "music appreciation time" with his mother's relatives, who would drink and dance while babysitting him).

Notch initially followed his father's footsteps as part of reggae-R&B duo Born Jamericans on the Delicious Vinyl label. But after the act split up in 1998, Notch's father encouraged him to explore his other musical side.
"He said 'Listen, you've got a lot of different backgrounds to you,'" recalls Notch. By delving into Latin sounds, said his father, "'you might find a lot of musical answers.'"


Notch got a major hint after he got his hands on a mixtape by Doo Wop and Latin DJ Tony Touch, which combined raps in Spanish and English. He started fusing his dancehall with Spanish lyrics, and when his label didn't get it, he took a trip down to Puerto Rico where a producer introduced to him by a friend suggested he speed up the beat.



By 2002, New York's Hot 97 had picked up "Hay Que Bueno," a dancehall track he'd recorded with Spanish lyrics. A reggaeton remix by DJ Blass hit first on radio in Puerto Rico and gradually found its way to clubs on the mainland, just as reggaeton was finding its commercial boom.

"I was doing R&B bilingual and mixing patois in English over hip-hop and Latin-infused music," says Notch. "I was never doing reggaeton... I didn't look at it like, this reggaeton is going to blow me up. I was happy that now the Latin community could be interested in more of what I had to offer."

Notch sang on a slew of tracks by fusionists like the Brand New Heavies, Sublime and Thievery Corporation, as well as reggaeton heavyweights Daddy Yankee and Voltio.

He finds connections between Jamaican poco drums and the Latin tropical timbal; he notes that salsa radio from Cuba bleeds onto Jamaican airwaves. "The upper echelon of Jamaica, their downtime is going to salsa nights," he notes.

After talking to several labels, who were looking for a "token reggaeton artist," he signed a joint venture between his imprint, Cinco por Cinco, and Machete Music. "They allowed me to do my trilingual thing and switch it up," says Notch. "They weren't trying to use me as the reggaeton guy."

His album "Raised by the People" debuted at No. 12 on Billboard's Latin Rhythm Albums Chart on the strength of bilingual reggaeton single "Dale Pa' Tra (Back It Up)." Another album highlight is roots reggae track "No Problema," also sung in Spanish and English.

Even if not everyone gets the fusions, "I'm gonna keep on doing catchy melodies," says Notch with pride. "Everything is in me." - Billboard


July 9, 2007
Jordan Levin -- The Miami Herald

Notch's solo debut CD, "Raised by the People," is an uncategorizeable blend.
Jamaican-American-Latino singer Notch's background is so mixed that the only way he could make sense of it was musically.

His paternal grandfather was born and raised in Cuba, the son of Jamaican immigrants. They subsequently went back to Jamaica, where Notch's father was born before the family came to the United States. Notch's African-American mother spoke Spanish, thanks to a Puerto Rican stepfather and step-siblings. "It's one big migration origin," he says.

Notch grew up in Hartford, Conn., speaking English, Spanish, Jamaican patois and African-American slang. "I call it cacophonics," he says with a grin, also talking about how he listened to a matching cacophony of music -- reggae, ska, R&B, hip-hop, salsa, merengue.

Except Notch was always hearing the musical links instead of the differences: The R&B sounds in Jamaican lover's rock; the salsa bass lines in classic reggae; the African roots in all of it.

"I don't forget that at one point all these people who are living in the places where the beats came from are from one place," he says, sitting at a Lincoln Road restaurant one recent morning.

"Just because Europe came and moved the people and language around doesn't mean that everything was gonna change. Culture and music-wise, there are going to be interwoven links. That's why fusion works."

Notch is color blind, and says he hears the same way.

"I don't see the differences between colors," he says. "It's the same way with music -- it all sounds the same to me. I see the beauty in all these different musics."

And he brings it all together on his solo debut CD, Raised by the People, an uncategorizeable blend of reggaeton, reggae, hip-hop, merengue and more.

"The uniqueness of this album is it's reflecting the current state of the American melting pot," says Notch. 'Jamaicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Cubans -- we all live side-by-side instead of being divided by water. And we all hear each other's music constantly. We're trying to say, 'How can I enjoy this, even though it's not mine?'"
Notch -- real name Norman Howell -- has been enjoying different styles his whole career.

He was the sweet-voiced singer for the duo Born Jamericans, who had success in the mid-'90s blending reggae with R&B and hip-hop. He sang with jazz-fusion-electronica groups Thievery Corporation and Brand New Heavies, with reggaeton superstar Daddy Yankee and with Colombian vallenato group Cyclon.

In 2004 he had a reggaeton hit with "Oye Que Bueno." Almost no one realized that the voice behind the Puerto Rican hit was a Jamaican-American-plus guy from New England.

In a way, Notch's genre-hopping versatility was more of a liability than an advantage in an industry built on categorizing music into marketable styles. But Machete Music, a division of Universal Latino specializing in reggaeton and Latin hip-hop, sees Notch as a potential bridge between their audience of bicultural U.S. Latino kids to their non-Latino counterparts.

"I would like for Notch to be the type of artist U.S. Latino kids can be proud of and introduce to their non-Spanish speaking counterparts," says Machete president Gustavo Lopez.

Machete is releasing the CD in partnership with the determinedly independent singer's own Cinco por Cinco Records. "He doesn't want anyone to tell him what to do," Lopez says. "Notch speaks for himself."

And he hears for himself -- often connections that only music scholars hear. Early on, Notch noticed similarities between the reggae and other Jamaican music he heard at home, and the American R&B and hip-hop around him. He discovered that Jamaican music in the 1950s and '60s often emulated and reworked Motown and soul.

With Born Jamericans, Notch and rapper-partner Edley Shine tried to update the mix. "Jamericans was the first attempt to show the fusion and similarities between two sets of music that we weren't really aware were borrowing elements from each other," Notch says.

He also discovered Latin musical influences that predate the reggae-Puerto Rican fusion of reggaeton by decades. "There's always been an interest in some level of Latinness [in Jamaica], long before reggaeton," Notch says.

That mix of Latin and U.S. influences stretches across some 60 years and multiple countries, says Jamaican music scholar and freelance writer Garnette Cadogan. Jamaican migration to and from Cuba, Panama, and starting in the 1960s, the United States, brought new styles of music, as did radio from Cuba, New Orleans and Miami.

Some of Jamaica's most famous musicians have Latin roots. Bob Marley's maternal grandfather was Cuban. "The very thing Jamaican music is most known for, the downbeat, came from Cuban music," says Cadogan. "The Latin connection has always been there."

Notch's reggaeton hit Hay Que Bueno is one more link in that de - The Miami Herald


Discography

Current Airplay Buzz:
"My Life" Party Vibe Riddim produced by Ricky Blaze
"Grind and Shine with Us" feat Mr. Easy on the One Day Riddin

Releases:
"Layaway Love" Featuring Fatman Scoope (Single) 2008- CPC Records
Raised By the People 2007- Cinco Por Cinco Records/Machete Music/ Universal Music Latino
Que Te Pica (Single) 2007 Raised By the People LP 2007- Cinco Por Cinco Records/Machete Music/ Universal Music Latino
Dale Patra- (Single) 2006 Raised By the People LP 2007- Cinco Por Cinco Records/Machete Music/ Universal Music Latino
Hay Que Bueno-Single 2004 Cinco Por Cinco Records
Hay Que Bueno -LP Compilation- 2004-Chosen Few El Documental-Urban Box Office
Pure Pretty Gyal- Beenie Man -Tropical Storm LP 2002 -Virgin Records
Richest Man in Babylon- 2003 (Thievery Corporation ) ESL Music
Amerimacka 2005- The Cosmic Game-(Thievery Corporation) ESL Music
Mira Mira-Featured by Pitbull and T.Weaponz- single-(2004) Defiant Entertainment/I-Tunes
Bailar Reggae -Single 2004-Cinco Por Cinco Records
Bad Boys From PR -2004 Next Level Music/Flow Music/ UNIVERSAL Music Latino
San Pedro- 2004 Daddy Yankee-Barrio Fino -VI Music/UNIVERSAL Music Latino Records
Hay Amor 2004 LoS Cazadores - Platinum Music
Chevere 2005 Featured by Voltio Sony-BMG LP "Voltio"
Estoy Pegao 2005-Self title "CYCLON" -SGZ Ent -Sony Discos
Do the Damn Thang -Single (2005) Featured by Rupee-Lil Kim-Voltio-Atlantic Records

Various Reggae Riddim Driven Complilation -VP Records
Bun Out Bad Mind Drunline Riddim 2007
Nuttin Nuh Go So Buy Out Riddim 2001
Party Hardy Yah Flip Riddim 2001
Gal Factory Renegade Riddim 2001
Gwan Gyal White liver Riddim 2002
Truly Call My Own Tijuana & Sunlight Riddim 2004
V.I.P Get Back Single- 2004 Kopa Riddim-Black Chiney - VP Records

R&B and Pop:
Crazy World-2002 (Reloaded-Rascalz-BMG Canada)
Verme 2005- MAS FLOW 2- MAS FLOW/UNIVERSAL Music Latino

Previous Releases:
Boom Shak-Atak-1993- Delicious Vinyl
Kids From Foreign-1994 -Delicious-WEA
Yardcore-1997 Delicious Vinyl-BMG
Venus - 1998 -I Still Know What You Did Last Summer [SOUNDTRACK] /Warner Brothers
Millineum Jump-1999-Prime Cuts/Delicious Vinyl-BMG

Photos

Bio

NOTCH 
Offering his works of art to the world, this genre shifting genius is definitely NOTCHur average singer and is the answer that many seeks musically when trying to target this new multi-cultural generation through music; NOTCH says it best I am an artist that is committed to become one of the many musical bridges, connecting cultures of the world together through my music that is derived from my diverse and mixed up cultural backgrounds.

Former lead vocalist and one of the creative force behind the Reggae-Hip-Hop duo Born Jamericans; the dynamic group that is often said, to be one of the pioneers to introduce Reggae to mainstream American in the late nineties; When the group parted ways, When the group parted ways, NOTCH wasted no time perusing his solo career as a solo career. It wasn’t long after he regained recognition atop of the charts with the reggae hit “Nuttin Nuh Go So” on the Buy Out Riddim and created a few notable Spanish fused smash hits such as “Hay Que Bueno” “Verme” "Que Te Pica" and "Dale Patra".

Born into a family of different cultures; Jamaican, Latin, Portuguese, Native America and African American descents, NOTCH’s sound is definitely a musical reflection of his own eclectic multi-cultural background, as well as an artistic evolution where he masterfully fuses genres of music, such as Reggae, Latin, Alternative, Reggaeton, R&B, and Pop to create a sound that is loved and appreciated by everyone. His music introduces a new generation to Spatoinglish a unique combination of Spanish, Patoi (the Jamaican Dialect) and English. This fusion of music has earned him constant airplay and positioned him atop of various urban radio stations; his sound is now building bridges between Caribbean, Latin America, and the USA; crossing into traditional programming lines and connecting with broad audiences in many diverse and urban markets.

With the released his solo album “Raised by the People", debuted #4 on the Billboards Reggae Chart and was also named Billboards the #14th bestselling Reggae Album in 2008. NOTCH drew us closer to him as a multi-dimensional vocalist, taking us on a musical voyage through the limitless universe of music and connecting his fans worldwide with music they can associate with their cultural lifestyles. “Raised by the People” is a multicultural melting pot; it flows from Reggae without the slightest friction and off course Reggaeton to R&B. In “Hay Que Bueno”, “Dale Patra” and “Guaya Guaya” you can hear the clear sounds of Reggaeton; Jah Mexi Cali, Bun Out Bad Mind and No Problema is a clearly the purist Reggae beats, as catchy as its lyrics are melancholic; On Layaway Love and Rosalinda NOTCH showcases the RnB side of him. 

Not wanting to limit himself to just doing solo projects, NOTCH has consistently managed to stamp his mark on the Billboard charts by collaborating with various artist; The most notable, NOTCH was the front man on the Thievery Corporations song “The Richest Man in Babylon” which debuted on the #100 on Billboard 200 charts and was invited to perform the song on NBCs late night talk show Late Night with Conan OBrien. Tapping into his dancehall roots, NOTCH delivery one of the best songs on the classic dancehall riddim “Buy Out Riddim” popularly known as the riddim for Sean Paul song “Like Glue”. He can also be heard on Grammy Award winner Beenie Man’s previously released album, on the track titled “Pure Pretty Gal”, produced by Tony Kelly and on the Kopa Riddim produced by Black Chiney the smashing single “V.I.P. Get Back”.

So what’s next for NOTCH: Switching once again back his Latin roots NOTCH has being busy collaborating with one of Spain’s biggest urban Latin artiste Juan Magan on the reggaeton/mambo song “Chica Latina”. He also can be heard on the song “Fiesta Animal” with Latin Grammy Award-winning Afro-Colombian hip-hop group Chocquibtown, the song appears on the group’s recent album El Mismo. NOTCH also recently team up with Jamaican producer Kurt Riley to record his own Latin/Reggae fused song “Fiesta” as part of the Soca/Latin fused  “Jambien Riddim”. This song is already creating a buzz and was recently used as background music for an ESPN Sport Center broadcast.

In his own words NOTCH sums it up by saying “I have been blessed to be able to do what I love to do, so I will continue to enjoy this musical journey that I embarked upon years ago; whether I am performing in front of an audience or having my music be a part of this online digital music space, I will create music that defies the outer limits and boundaries of traditional music, bringing to my fans and music lovers worldwide, music that they all can associate with their diverse cultural background and lifestyle”.