Kevin Lyttle was a man on a mission in 2001 when he invested his savings (Eastern Caribbean $1500) into a song he was confident would make him a star.
It turned out to be his most profitable venture.
That song, Turn me On, became a monster hit two years later. It sold over one million copies worldwide, reaching number two in the United Kingdom and number four in the United States.
The song was also popular throughout Europe and Japan. Lyttle has never repeated that success, but is gearing up for another ‘big one’ with help from some well-heeled friends.
His next album, The Diplomat, contains a number of collaborations with Shaggy, Spragga Benz, rapper Flo Rida as well as acts from Rwanda, Sweden and India.
Feel So Good, his song with Shaggy, is expected to be released in August. Lyttle, 37, believes The Diplomat has the goods to get him back on the charts.
“Turn me On is a great song but I don’t want to be pigeon-holed by one song. I want to create another baby,” he told the Sunday Observer from his Miami home.
Lyttle selected the artistes he believes can help make that ‘baby’. Shaggy was riding high with the Hot Shot album when Turn me On was burning up the charts; Spragga Benz was featured on the Turn me On remix that made Lyttle a star; while Flo Rida has had his share of hits.
“You have to make sure you have the right songs and team to turn heads. In today’s music that takes a lot of work,” he admitted.
While he is determined not to be pushed in the one-hit wonder bracket, Turn me On has kept Lyttle busy. These days, he plays mainly club and Caribbean festival dates in North America and has a loyal following in Germany and The Netherlands.
An only child, Lyttle grew up in St Vincent, listening to local calypsonians like Beckett as well as Trinidadian legend the Mighty Sparrow and soca pioneer Arrow of Montserrat.
But he also had a passion for the music of dancehall acts like Cocoa Tea, Tenor Saw, Flourgon and Nitty Gritty.
It was a blend of soca and the emerging ragga beat that made the world look at Lyttle whose recordings prior to Turn me On were sporadic.
His ‘combination’ with Spragga Benz was a smash and made Lyttle the most successful artiste from St Vincent. It earned him a deal with Atlantic Records who distributed his gold-selling debut album.
Turn me On set the pace for other EC acts, and songs, such as Barbadian Rupee’s Tempted to Touch.
Lyttle says though he is eyeing the mainstream, he always strives to keep a Caribbean flavour.
“I try to keep the sound people know me for, but it’s important to make an impact with a fresh feel.”