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Bermudian co-produced Grammy nominated Reggae album

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Rian Williams is producer for a Protoje album nominated for a Grammy (Phtograph supplied)

An album by Jamaican reggae artist Protoje on which a Bermudian producer worked has been nominated for the Best Reggae Album in the 2023 Grammy Awards.

Hills, the lead song on the album Third Time’s The Charm, was produced by Rian “8 Track” Williams, who will be attending the prestigious ceremony in Los Angeles in February, along with others who worked on the album.

Mr Williams, 39, said it had been a dream of his to be nominated for a Grammy, and eventually win a Grammy, since he began his musical journey from his bedroom at the age of 15.

He told The Royal Gazette: “I wasn’t expecting it to happen this quickly. I reached out to the artist Protoje and he called me right away to say ‘congratulations’.

“I have a lot of friends who have mentioned how you have to manifest what you want – for me it was something I had to learn.

“This year I kept on saying I will be Grammy nominated and eventually I will be a winner.

“I look this nomination as a relief rather than a boast as I know not every Bermudian gets an opportunity like this. I want to inspire people – I don’t see it as an accomplishment for myself but anyone with a passion.”

This is the latest in a string of successes for Mr Williams who was signed to US rapper 2 Chainz in 2014 and has produced for stars including 50 Cent, T-Pain and Chronixx.

Working across the genres of reggae, hip hop and R & B, he has worked for artists signed to numerous high profile labels including RCA Records, Cash Money Records and Atlantic Records.

He has also produced music for TV channels including BET and LifeTime.

He said his journey to success has not been an easy one. Aside from a three-year health set back that started in 2014, he struggled through financial difficulties in the early part of his career and has made many sacrifices to get where he is.

He recalled: “I left Bermuda with a few hundred dollars. I couldn’t afford my own transportation so I got around in a U-Haul truck as it only cost $19.95 a day to rent. I had to work for everything. That is part of my story and my story is still being written.

“I endured to get to this place. I got sick for a multitude of reasons – the fast-paced lifestyle, my diet was off, not sleeping enough … I discovered Protoje’s music while I was sick.

“I researched how to contact his managed, reached out [to Protoje] and a relationship came out of that. He kept on encouraging me, telling me ‘one day we are going to have something’ and eight years later I have my first Grammy nomination.

“I do want to add though that God is the captain of my ship.”


Mr Williams was born in Bermuda and raised in Warwick and Pembroke, attending Purvis Primary School, Northlands Primary School and CedarBridge Academy.

He left to live in Atlanta and California before moving back to Bermuda in 2018. He works for Inter-Island Communications as an engineer and works on the Medical Radio Show.

His uncle Jonathan Trott owned the local music promotion and events company Spanish Town.

While in Bermuda there are a handful of local artists he works with – Buzby, Aalai, Sinead, Just Mike and Kombat.

He added: “It is so important for creatives to stick together and create a tribe – so much can be accomplished if we stick together.

“Some think of it as a competition – to be the first to do something. When Bermuda is such a hard place to make it there shouldn’t be that mentality. Have the mindset of doing what you love to do and, most importantly, remove the ego from it. I am using my connections to try to get them opportunities overseas.”

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Published November 17, 2022 at 9:24 am (Updated November 17, 2022 at 9:24 am)

Bermudian co-produced Grammy nominated Reggae album

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