For Kunley McCarthy, choosing a career path was quite simple – the love of music. Many may describe his style as different, but there’s no denying that Kunley’s musical genius is quite unique, something he accredits to life and his “twisted imagination”.
Kunley grew up in Waterhouse and Cross Roads and attended St George’s College. In 1996, he entered the music business as a professional sound system operator before graduating to a professional engineer and artiste in 1998, when the group Ward 21 was formed. “Ward 21’s name was chosen by me as a result of my mother telling Suku and I that we should be admitted to the actual ward after giving her hell while she was catering for an event. The name pretty much stuck after that.”
Throughout his career, Kunley has delivered a plethora of edgy hits. Tracks like Haters, Judgement Day, Blood Stain, Rhyme, Garrison, Anything A Anything, Anti-Spy, Petrol, Hey Gal, Lady Musgrave have given the artiste and the Ward 21 the opportunity to tour the world, time and time again. When asked what gives him this edge over a number of artistes in today’s music industry, Kunley will tell you simply, “my catalogue.” For him, it is all about maintaining that creativity even as the business changes. “I guess it really is how my brain works. My views and ideas are mainly different from the rest. I see different angles most times. My weird sense of humour also helps.” Unlike many artistes, Kunley is able to fuse a blend of traditional and unorthodox styles into dancehall, without limiting the genres authenticity, things he says he learned from artistes before him. Spragga Benz for his lyrical prowess and delivery, Bounty Killer for his entire aura and delivery and General Degree who’s vocal style Kunley adopted. He is also a great admirer of hip hop artistes Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and Eminem.
The entertainment industry hasn’t always been easy for Kunley but it sure has been rewarding. However, outside of music, the talented producer and artiste enjoys spending time with his family, watching his favourite football team, Manchester United and cooking, (who would have thunk it?)
Kunley hopes to continue to display the creativity in music that has propelled him to the heights that he has reached in his career. “It’s all about putting out the best at all times as an example for younger ones to follow.”