An unmatched combination of innate talent, conscious lyrics, high-energy performances and pure charisma is the hallmark of reggae singer, I-Octane, whose music has made a resounding impact across the continents.
Bestowed with the task of setting the pace for the next generation of troubadours, this smooth Rastafarian singer who has amassed an impressive slew of hits songs in a few short years, has skillfully positioned himself as an ambassador of culture/reality/message music, while maintaining a strong appeal in the dancehall, where his songs have become anthems. With his recognizably powerful voice and versatile lyrics, I-Octane, christened Byiome Muir, is equally convincing whether he is singing his breakout single, the no-nonsense “Stab Vampire”, the haunting, blockbuster tribute “Lose A Friend”, pulsating dancehall anthems “No Love Inna Them” and “Puff It” or the soulfully passionate “L-O-V-E You”.
Possessing a clean image and keeping his standards consistently high, I-Octane has endeared himself to fans the world over, while simultaneously breaking the proverbial glass ceiling and making steady inroads into the corporate arena.
It came as no surprise, therefore, when telecoms giant, Digicel, signed him in 2010 as their official Brand Ambassador, a role he enjoys tremendously and executes with care and diligence. Currently signed to an historic two-year contract with Digicel, I-Octane has been scouted by other corporate brands, eager to be associated with this brilliant reggae artiste. As a measure of his influence outside of Jamaica, the internationally acclaimed singer was signed as the ‘voice’ of hugely popular brew, Guinness, within the Caribbean, and more recently tied up a deal with the Caribbean’s favourite soft drink, Busta, as their Brand Ambassador.
Recognizing the value of Brand I-Octane, the artiste, who is managed by Khool International, has upped his game and is leaving no stones unturned as he boldly embarks on carving out his own legacy. His catalogue has continued to grow, likewise his accolades, and he has received numerous awards and nominations in recognition of his work. With only a five-year stint in the industry he is already being compared to some of the legends in reggae.
Before he became known to the world as I-Octane, young Byiome Muir was just another youth growing up in Sandy Bay, Clarendon with big dreams. He earned the reputation of being a noisy little boy who was constantly belting out a tune, much to the annoyance of his mother and siblings. He took this passion for music and singing to school and before long, the casual performances gained Byiome quite a bit of respect and no schoolyard clash, concert, or function was complete without him.
Despite his blossoming reputation as a talented singer, Muir still didn’t consider performing professionally as a viable career choice. Understanding the financial hardships that his family faced, he took on the role of ‘man of the house’ and focused on helping his mother raise his brothers and sister. However, education was the key and his mother encouraged him to work hard at school. Byiome had an aptitude for the sciences and technical drawing and actually considered becoming an architect but he couldn’t seem to escape the call of the music.
Upon completing high school, he took the plunge into the music industry and very soon, an upcoming dancehall artiste named Richie Rich was introduced to famed producer Donovan Germaine of Penthouse Records. Spending time at Penthouse and rubbing shoulders with more established artistes such as Buju Banton and Tony Rebel gave Richie the opportunity to hone his talent and focus on his musical path. He was inspired to do a name change and, after high-level scientific consultation, I-Octane was born. The science student knew that the properties of high octane gas included high energy and performance – two of the qualities which epitomized the type of performer he wanted to be. He then personalized it by substituting the ‘high’ for ‘I’, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Three years after linking with Penthouse, I-Octane caught the interest of Arrows Recording Company and, upon signing, steadily transitioned from dancehall music to a more cultural vibe and his first hit single ‘Stab Vampire’ cemented his position as a notable reggae artiste. Not surprisingly, that song went to number one and received the award for Video of the Year at the ‘Excellence in Music Awards (EME). I-Octane put out hit after hit, winning over skeptics and gaining many new fans. Songs such as “Different Page”, “Hurt Mi”, and “Mama You Alone” connected with people all over and as his reputation soared his fan base increased and the demands grew beyond the Jamaican soil. In no time I-Octane was performing to his international fan base on his first European tour. Inevitably, he soon began to link with notable producers who were all clamoring to work with the young artiste and his list of hit songs just kept getting longer.
The year 2012 was a landmark in the career of the singer, who is equally at home performing in the corporate boardroom as he is holding a microphone at an outdoor dancehall session. It saw the release of his debut album, ‘Crying To The Nation,’ a Scikron/VP Records production infused with roots reggae and dancehall at its purest.
Critics labelled it a traditional reggae album which cemented I-Octane’s position as one of the next generation of leaders of the conscious dancehall movement. Following in a similar vein of his predecessors Sizzla, Capleton and Buju Banton, his lyrics express sentiments of faith, romance, social justice and compassion for the ghetto youth.
Interestingly, 2012 also saw I-Octane in collaboration mode, as he flipped the script and teamed up with Dancehall’s best loved Warlord, Bounty Killer, for a mega combination entitled “Badmind Dem A Pree”; he collaborated with Agent Sasco on a remix of the hit single “Missing You”; linked with singer Tarrus Riley for “All We Need Is Love” and appeared on Wayne Marshall’s “Go Hard” single which also featured Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley, Bounty Killer, Aidonia and Vybz Kartel.
Extensive touring within the Caribbean, Europe and Asia has paid off handsomely for I-Octane and 2013 has started out with a bang – songs at the top of the charts, copping the Youth View Awards for Cultural Artiste of the Year and Celebrity Role Model of the Year (for which he tied with Olympian Usain Bolt), the partnership with Busta and a high school tour extolling the virtues of education, as laid out in his recent single of the same name. The demand for the artiste has seen him booked for the big shows locally, as well as the major reggae festivals overseas.
Even with his incredible success to date, it is clear that I-Octane has just scratched the surface of all he is meant to achieve. His music has captured the attention and hearts of people of every colour, creed and class and this artiste has undoubtedly unleashed a fire that will eternally blaze.