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Mr Vegas

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Mr Vegas

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Real Name: Clifford Smith
Born: c. 1975
Place of Birth:
St. Andrew, Jamaica
Official website: unknown

Smith spent his adolescence nurturing his soccer skills, and his tackling proficiency led to the nickname of Vegas, a reference to the twisting skills of the go-go dancers at the local Las Vegas Club. Smith began his musical career in 1986 when he visited a recording studio in Kingston. His recording career was put on hold until he completed his education, and by the time he was 21 he was singing his interpretation of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song" at Freddie McGregor's Big Ship Studio. The DJ/producer Don Yute brought him into the studio to work on the song, and the session led to a further collaboration for a version of Az Yet's "Last Night". At this point Yute suggested the addition to his name of "Mr.", to give the artist and his sound more authority. Up until 1997, Vegas was primarily a reggae singer, although his career changed course when he broke his jaw, which was subsequently wired up for several weeks. Undeterred, he persevered with his singing career and returned to the recording studio. The wired jaw resulted in a new and unique singing-cum-DJ style. This characteristic sound impressed the up-and-coming producer Jeremy Harding, who enrolled Vegas to perform "Nike Air" over the "Playground" rhythm (Harding had already taken the rhythm into the UK Top 10 in February 1998 with Beenie Man's "Who Am I (Zim Zimmer)").

Following on from the runaway success of "Nike Air", Vegas went on to enjoy a run of hits in Jamaica, New York, Miami and London. In 1998, his releases included "Jump Around" and "Everywhere I Go" for Richie Stephens' "Latest News" on Steely And Clevie's Bagpipe rhythm, "Sweet Pineapple" for Colin Fat Eyes, and the irrepressible "Heads High" for Danny Browne. The success of the single led to national radio exposure and the exceptional "Kill 'Em With It" remix. Further hits followed, including the double a-side with Italee, "Got To Be Me", "Hand In The Air", "Big Things A Gwaan", "Hit Him Back" and "Are Yu Sure".

Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 2005
Source - BBC Music Profiles

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