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Before they were stars: I-Octane

By Marc Parc
OutAroad.com Writer

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Byiome Muir, known more popularly as I-Octane has become one of Dancehall & Reggae music's hottest commodities. However, the "My Life" singer's journey to local & global musical success has been far from easy.

The Sandy Bay, Clarendon native had a natural born love for music; constantly belting out noises around his mother and siblings as a young child. As time evolved, Muir took his musical talents to school; looking to prove his versatility. Whether it was using the desks as drums, lyrical clashes with schoolmates, school functions or concerts, Muir's passion for music was evident. However, he initially didn't consider music as a career option despite his talents & focused on taking care of his single mother & sisters whilst pursuing his high school diploma.

Despite wanting to become an architect, Muir couldn't resist music & following graduation from high school, he vigorously pursued his desire to become a Dancehall sensation. At first, Muir performed hardcore Dancehall lyrics under the name "Richie Rich," & such lyrics grabbed the attention of Penthouse Records producer, Donovan Germaine. Whilst linking with Germaine, he spent time around some of the Reggae industry's biggest names like Tony Rebel & Buju Banton.

With time & grooming, "Richie Rich" developed a greater affinity for music & also developed a new name, I-Octane. The name was derived from the fact the high octane gas is known for high energy; something that I-Octane had & wanted his performances to reflect his energy. Three years after linking with Penthouse, I-Octane met with Junior Arrows of Arrows Recording Company and later signed with them. Following that signing, he decided to change his hardcore Dancehall style into a more cultural, Reggae vibe & then recorded his first single on the Tears Riddim in 2007, entitled "Stab Vampire." The single became an instant #1 hit & the accompanying video for the single won an EME Award for Video of the Year.
More success followed with songs such as "Different Page," & "Mama You Alone," gave I-Octane great clout within the Reggae industry as his tunes were filled with thought-provoking message that resonated with fans. However, I-Octane's status grew even more with the touching tribute, "Lose A Friend," in the summer of 2009. The song & video impacted the lives of people who lost their loved ones & he became one of Reggae music's biggest young acts.

Though he left Arrow Recordings & became an independent artiste, the freedom seemed to work well for he & his music & big things seemed imminent for his as the decade ended. Once the calendar turned to 2010, I-Octane turned up his musical game another notch; unveiling a slew of hits that shook the Dancehall/Reggae landscape. "Puff It," “Dem A No Don," "My Life," & "Nuh Love Inna Dem," were all big songs on the local charts & gave him great international recognition simultaneously. "Study Yuh Friends," & "Mine Who A Diss" also added to his quickly growing repertoire, showing his versatility by sticking to cultural roots whist also displaying the hardcore lyrical talent that he possessed from childhood. Not only had I-Octane become one of Dancehall's elite, he was arguably the best Jamaican artiste in 2010; winning several awards & living up to his name through his electric performances such as at STING 2010.

Flash forward to 2011 & I-Octane has continued to live up to his billing as an internationally acclaimed Reggae superstar. "Badmind Fi Di Year," "Nuh Ramp Wid Wi," & "Cry To The Nation," have been huge hits on radio & charts & his buzz has only gotten stronger. Coming off a much talked about Reggae Sumfest performance & a new album, "Crying to The Nation," due in the fall, is seems certain that I-Octane's star will continue to get brighter in the times ahead.

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