Sawandi is an interesting and unlikely Caribbean find. Born in Kingston, Jamaica and living his formative years in the island of Antigua, his musical journey began by playing the piano. When the 80s hit, he became more engulfed in American music and its production. By his late teens, his family moved back to Kingston where he set his sights on becoming a medical doctor. A year after graduating medical school and listening to The Roots‘ “Things Fall Apart” in 2002, he realized his passion for music and began to invest in building his home studio.
In 2005, he filled out an online application to participate in the Red Bull Music Academy conference, and was invited to attend their Melbourne, Australia activities for two weeks in 2006 — an experience that changed his life, musically. Sawandi’s sound can be described as chilled instrumental grooves, with hard slapping drums with synths reminiscent of J Dilla and largely influenced by hip hop, electronica, classic reggae, and alternative sounds.
Check out “Step it Up,” then click over to Sawandi’s Bandcamp page to hear more of this unique talent from Jamaica.