Out of exile
Published: Dec 23, 2016
As a child, Aneuyron “Charlie Brown” Russell gravitated toward all things music. He almost couldn’t avoid loving music having grown up in a home where both his parents played classical piano. The influence was there, but he chose his own genres.
“While I enjoyed music in all its forms, I wanted to do it a little differently,” said Charlie Brown. “My neighbor Terrance “DJ Ching” Cargill was a club deejay in Nassau at the time. I started going over to his house to watch him and learn what I could. It was something about the control a deejay had over the music and crowd that attracted me to the craft.”
Years later, Charlie Brown’s name had become synonymous with local deejaying. A knock came to his front door one day, and his dad informed him that it was Scooby Doo, a senior deejay in Nassau at the time. Charlie Brown was in awe. At that time, a visit from Scooby Doo would be like Jay Z dropping by.
Scooby Doo hired Charlie Brown on the spot, and the rest is history.
“After working as a deejay for many years, I started to notice that the Bahamian sound that I grew to love had no place in my sets when I would travel outside The Bahamas to play gigs,” Charlie Brown explained. “I vowed that I would do something to change that, and decided to start producing Bahamian music with a sound that I felt would generate that international appeal.”
The birth of Exile Media Group this year was a vision of Charlie Brown’s for some time.
Exile Media Group is a music production company with a focus on the musically inclined youth of our nation. It was formed by Charlie Brown and famed radio personality Handel “Reality” Sands with its main thrust being to bridge the gap between Bahamian music and culture and the Bahamian youth, through business ventures and promotions.
“Our objective is mainly to mentor and engage the young men of The Bahamas,” said Charlie Brown. “We felt if they were busy doing something constructive that they were passionate about, they wouldn’t have time to get into trouble. We also create Bahamian content for the world — depicting our culture without compromise. We cater to anyone that likes fun — edgy, at times, but clean music, films. Besides myself and Reality, ‘Mystro’ Miller is also involved in Exile; he is my partner, chief operating officer and artist ‘Mystro Miller’, known as the exile general.”
Artists on the Exile label and their songs include Peewee – “Too Slack”, BahaMian Trae – “Muggle Like Mi”, Faddah Fred – “Break Ya Back”, Mystro Miller – “Cry”, Spicy Dee – “Scoyoy” and Shad Fer – “Wutz Yo Excuse”.
In the 1990s Charlie Brown and Reality were known for creating Hip Hop music in Bahamian dialect. History is repeating itself as the Exile artists are doing the same thing now with no fear. Charlie Brown says he sees a lot of himself and Reality in them.
“I’m known for being blunt, so I’ll try not to disappoint,” said Charlie Brown on his feelings of today’s youth. “They are lost in many different cultures, many of which have very little to do with our own culture. We have very talented young people in The Bahamas, but people only see what you show them. So far, most of what we have come to expect from our youth in general is negative.
“I think the islands of The Bahamas are teeming with young talented musicians. Moreover, I think the island of New Providence has a very high concentration of artists — both musical and visual, actors, writers, etc.”
Charlie Brown says most of what Exile is working on is secret, but he revealed that the media company is working on three projects currently that involve various artists. Futuristically he sees Exile doing more of what it has been doing, and he hopes to improve upon the company’s model and be in a position to help more Bahamian youth.
One of the major plans for Exile in 2017 is implementing a flight-training program for children who want to become pilots. This is a really big deal for the young company.
When asked about his thoughts on Exile being involved in the international music market, Charlie Brown said he only thinks about what’s right in front of him and his partners, and that is the youth of The Bahamas. As far as the international market is concerned, he said, most of his colleagues in the United States and the United Kingdom have expressed interest in Exile’s young artists, but says until they have learned how to conduct themselves with the local fans, they will definitely not be able to handle the success of dealing with an international fan base. He said that, for now, they will settle for their Caribbean fan base.
When asked about the group’s competition, Charlie Brown said, “Competition is a very touchy subject for me. I feel strongly that we in The Bahamas spend way too much time competing against each other creatively speaking in a small pond, while other nations compete against the world. I guess it’s like my father always told me regarding the game of chess, He said, ‘You will never get any better playing against people you know you can beat.’
In just one year, Exile Media Group has positioned itself as the leader in events for Bahamian youth. They have produced the largest teen following through music, events and productions such as Muggle Mania I and II and “Teen Scene”.
Songs like, "You Can't Muggle Like Me", “Scoyoy", "Break Ya Back" and the Ronnie Butler featured "Teef" have become more than just favorites for many listeners, but in fact created a new subculture with the Bahamian youth. These artists have established a devoted fan base throughout the entire Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad, Turks and Caicos and are now infiltrating new territories, such as Asia and the UK.