Baha Men’s Isaiah Taylor elevated

Isaiah Taylor, leader of the Grammy-award winning Baha Men will be awarded the Ronnie Butler Lifetime Achievement Award when the 2020 Elevation Awards are held later this year.

It’s an award Taylor said means a lot to him, and not because he’s receiving an award, but because he said there are always people that are just as worthy of and can receive the award.

“It’s also good to know that all the work you put in, that someone notices,” said Taylor who also added that it was great to be alive to receive it.

“Anytime someone gives you a candy you learn to appreciate it, because they didn’t have to give it to you. When I got the call, I was shocked,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting it, but I honestly do appreciate it.”

Andrew “Drew” Harmony Gardiner III, co-founder and president of The Music Project and Artist Cave International will be bestowed with the Trailblazer Award. Tim Daniels, founder and organizer of SoundWaves will be given the Culture Award at the Elevation Awards.

Among the nominees, Bahamian gospel hip hop artist Najie Dunn leads the list of awards nominees with five nominations – Male Artist of the Year, Gospel Artist of the Year, Hip Hop Artist of the Year, Gospel Song of the Year, and Gospel Music Video of the Year.

Gospel hip hop artist Eman has four nominations – Gospel Artist of the Year, Hip Hop Artist of the Year, Gospel Collaboration of the Year, Gospel Music Video of the Year.

Also receiving multiple nominations were Wendi, TonAsh, Judah Da Lion, Timico “Sawyer Boy” Sawyer, Dyson Knight, Patrice Murrell, Bodine, Charisa, Rik Carey, Chase Fernander, Cara T. Newton, Ricardo Clarke, Jaquay Adderley and Latoya Dean.

Ten new categories – Soca Song of the Year, Party DJ of the Year, TV Commercial of the Year, Gospel Collaboration of the Year, Sketch Comedian of the Year, Fashion Designer of the Year were added to the Saturday, April 4 event at the Sapodilla Estate; along with Caribbean Artist of the Year, Caribbean Gospel Song of the Year, Caribbean Gospel Music Video of the Year, Caribbean Music Video of the Year bringing the total to 37 categories.

Among the Caribbean nominees are Machel Montano, Kes, Destra, Patrice Roberts Koffee, Farmer Nappy, Nailah Blackman, Sherwin Gardner and Positive.

Taylor is a household name and music legend as the leader and bass player of the globally successful Baha Men — a group that has earned a number of international awards — a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording for the 2000 song “Who Let the Dogs Out?”; Billboard Music Awards for World Music Artist of the Year and World Music Album of the Year; and a two-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for Favorite Song and another Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Band.

The Ronnie Butler Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is known as a no-nonsense person who is known for saying exactly what is on his mind, how he feels and what he wants. He does not beat around the bush. While he leads a successful group that enjoys global appeal, he is still simply Isaiah, who was born in Simms, Long Island, and grew up between Kemp Road and Bernard Road.

“I do not believe in walking around with your head high and having this ego,” said Taylor in a previous interview with The Nassau Guardian. He said that was something he learnt very quickly in the entertainment field.

He leads a group that thrust The Bahamas into global appeal in the summer of 2000 with the runaway single hit “Who Let the Dogs Out?” an irresistible mix whose universal appeal became a sports stadium phenomenon and around the globe. And who can forget 2014s “Night & Day” which was selected for the FIFA and SONY Music Entertainment’s One Love, One Rhythm: The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Album which matched Taylor’s Baha Men alongside the likes of Pitbull featuring Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte, Santana and Wyclef featuring Avicii and Alexandre Pires, Ricky Martin, and Shakira, among many others.With so much success, Taylor would have every right to have an ego, but to him it does not make sense.

“No sense in having an ego because you can’t put it in the bank — and you cannot put it in the pot. So why have it?”

While he’s the leader of Baha Men, he’s also an individual, and a person who holds God and family near and dear above everything else.

Taylor has been leading successful groups for decades (before Baha Men) he led the popular High Voltage with Pat Carey, Portia Carey, and a number of other people that came together in 1977. They were regular performers in nightclubs and hotels around the country.

And while it may be known, it came as a shock to hear that this Grammy, Billboard and Nickelodeon award winner does not read sheet music. He plays by ear. He has that feel for the universal language.

“A lot of the great musicians in the United States could not read music,” says Taylor. “I play by ear. God blessed me where I can hear music, but I can’t read it.”

The Baha Men leader is not alone. A number of renowned musicians could not read or write sheet music. Not one member of The Beatles, one of the most influential bands of all time could read or write sheet music. Jimi Hendrix, who has been called one of the greatest musicians in history, was also not fluent on paper. Elvis Presley, who became known as the King of Rock and Roll could not read music and never received formal training. And Eric Clapton who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times, wrote in his autobiography “Slow Hand” that he could not read music.

Taylor also never even developed an interest in music until he was 21-years-old, even though he said as a child that God used to give him dreams of playing music and traveling.

“Back then your parents wanted you to have a trade … a mason, a carpenter, electrician, a plumber … that’s what they wanted you to be, and I didn’t really have much interest in that as much, but I had zero interest period in music, but I dreamt about playing music and traveling. And God so had it at 21 that I said I wanted to play music.”

His friend Anthony Munnings gave Taylor his first guitar. He played around with it and taught himself to play the instrument. Taylor’s first official gig playing bass guitar was with Lionel Lottmore at the Playboy Lounge in Oakes Field.

And as is usually said in the industry, the rest is history. For Taylor that at least holds true to form.

He went on to play a number of venues and gigs around town and in Grand Bahama with the likes of Jay Mitchell and Sonny Johnson at places like the Fish Net and at the Tradewinds, before putting together High Voltage which performed at the Emerald Beach between 1977 and 1979 when the hotel burned in a fire.

He then went on to perform off island with Marvin Henfield in Atlantic City, before telling drummer Colyn “Moe” Grant that it was time High Voltage got back together. With Herschell Small, Fred Ferguson, Mark Johnson and Sabrina Fawkes they played at the Backroom at the Balmoral Hotel, and the Junkanoo Lounge at the Cable Beach Hotel. While Taylor was doing what he did, industry professionals took notice.

“All of a sudden the big man from Atlantic City came to Nassau looking for me and said that the engineers who work at the resort in Atlantic City told him to not come back without Isaiah.”

High Voltage started performing in Atlantic City.

They were also sought after locally, even though he said some of the local hotel managers tried to push their luck. Being Isaiah, he gave it to them straight — no chaser.

“The drummer said one of the managers [from a local hotel] wanted us to come and do an audition. I sent a message back telling him we don’t do auditions, that we had stopped that. They came to where we were playing to hear us. When we took the break that manager came to me and said, ‘The big man wants to sit down and have a word with you.’ I went over. He said he would like me to come over to the hotel and that I could play by the pool in the day and play in the club at night. I said to the manager — didn’t know who he was, wasn’t even interested — I said ‘man you gat to be crazy, that’s two bands’ job’. Then he said ‘I like you, can you come see me, we can talk money and you can just work in the club.’ I said no problem.”

They talked, came to an agreement, High Voltage played the local hotel for approximately two years before moving on to play Club Waterloo where they stayed for about three years before Taylor became inspired to grow the band musically in terms of recording.

Unbeknownst to anyone in the band Taylor approached Charles Grant, the father of “Moe” Grant and spoke to him about what was in his head. The drummer’s father told Taylor to return to him the next day and everything Taylor asked him for he had.

Taylor called producer, Kenwood Stubbs who came down from New Jersey, they recorded at Compass Point, Stubbs took the recording back to the United States and shopped it at Atlantic Records. Steve Greenberg, artist(s) and repertory (A&R) for Atlantic Records took them on in 1992. He got High Voltage to change its name to Baha Men due to a number of groups in the United States and Canada with the name. From their initial signing with Greenberg, Taylor and Baha Men stayed with him — no matter which label he went to, including Greenberg starting up his own S-Curve label and having only one group that was of course Baha Men, which Taylor said worked for his group.

“We were the only act he had, so he had no other act to work but us. And he worked us, and he worked us, and he worked us. I never worked with anyone like him. He gave us 110 percent. Being on that label brought us three different awards, the Grammy for Best Dance Recording, two Billboard awards and two awards from Nickelodeon.”

Even though Taylor never developed an interest in music until he was a young adult, once it hit, he said he always believed his career would be lasting.

“We were doing a photo session for the ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’ album in Mason’s Addition and Steve Greenberg walked up to me and said, ‘Do you believe your career would have lasted this long?’ And my answer to him right away — didn’t even have to think about it, was yes. I said God gave me the dream, and God sent you to make sure the dream was fulfilled, so yes, I do believe it.”

Taylor and Baha Men were with Greenberg until 2002. Their last album, 2015’s “Ride with Me” was released on the Sony Music Latin label.

Taylor is joined on the current day Baha Men by vocalists Dyson Knight, Rik Carey and Leroy Butler; guitarists Herschell Small and Pat Carey; keyboardist Jeffrey Chea; drummer Ivan Prosper; and percussionist Anthony Flowers.

Former members have included the likes of Nehemiah Hield, Anwar Rolle, Cedric Poitier, Omerit Hield, Fred Ferguson, and Colyn “Moe” Grant and Ryan Andrews.

Besides “Who Let the Dogs Out?”, Baha Men’s body of work include “Ride with Me”, “Holla!”, “Move It Like This”, “Doong Spank” and “Kalik”. They’ve also produced soundtracks for the films “Garfield The Movie”, “Shrek” and “Around the World in 80 Days”.

And Taylor is proud of every project Baha Men has done, with the frontrunner being winning the Grammy’s Best Dance Recording category.

“That was momentous,” he said.

As for his musical idols — he has none. He said he just does him.

Looking back at the decades of his work, Taylor said God has been beyond good to him, and that he would always be grateful to him.

As for what he wants people to remember of him when he’s gone, it’s that he was a kindhearted person to everyone he came in contact with.

“You may call me a no-nonsense person, but when it comes to people, I have a weakness for [them].”

Of his music he wants people to remember that he made a difference.

Elevation Awards 2020 Nominees

Male Artist of the Year

Dyson Knight

Julien Believe


Judah Tha Lion

Rik Carey

Najie Dun

Female Artist of the Year


Patrice Murrell

Chase Fernander

Bodine Victoria


Lady E

Gospel Artist of the Year

Cara T. Newton

Najie Dun


Ricardo Clarke

Shanique Thurston


Music Producer of the Year

Rashad “Shaddy Einstein” McPhee

Freddie “Got Stykz” Seymour

Sammie “Starr” Poitier

Chris “Sketch” Carey

Junior “Minister Keys” Scott

Dillion “Mac in The Day” McKenzie Jr.

New Artist of the Year

Raven Roberts




Krazy Ringo

Evin Nazya

Bahamian International Artist of the Year

Jay Shephard


Monty G

Fourever 1


Dre Star

Hip Hop Artist of the Year

Ton Ash


Najie Dun


Sosa Man


Contemporary Song of the Year

Charisa – “Get Gone”

Chase – “100”

Angel – “Hello World”

Baha Men – “Let’s Go”

Judah Tha Lion – “Hallway”

Matthew Pinder – “Golden Hour”

Traditional Song of the Year

DMac – “Just Like So”

Blaudy -“Impress Me”

Leo – “Das Why I Single”

Ilsha – “Oh You Know”

Shine – “Feel Like Whining”

Visage – “Give It Up Baby”

Soca Song of the Year

Charisa – “Just Wine”

Patrice Murrell – “Cuz A Da Wine”

Wendi – “In Front of You”

Wendi – “Bang Bang”

Dyson Knight – “I Can Do It”

Rik Carey – “Wine Up For Me”

Hip Hop Song of the Year

Ton Ash – “Birthday”

Foots – “Spoiled”

Fury – “No Service”

Nahkaz – “I’m A Bahamian”

Ton Ash – “Beast”

Twindem – “Freedom Cry”

Collaboration of the Year

Leon – “On My Mind” ft. DJ Ovadose

Ton Ash – “Money” ft. Dro Capone

Julien Believe – “Goin’ Down On Bay” ft. Angelique Sabrina

Rik Carey and Fanshawn – “Big Deal”

Bantangy – “Wicked Intensions” ft. Sleepy Lexx

Twindem – “Garden” ft. Judah Tha Lion

Gospel Song of the Year

Ricardo Clarke – “Make A Move”

Cara T. Newton – “Faithful God”

Vanessa Clarke – “Plead My Cause”

Najie Dun – “Hallelujah”

Shanique Thurston – “Jesus”

VMac – “I Won’t Move”

Gospel Collaboration of the Year

Johnny B and Jai Sully – “One Wave”

Cara T. Newton and The Red Alert Band – “More Than Enough” ft. Oslien Jadorte

Pertina – “Never Left Me” ft. Monty G

Eman – “Make Me Over Remix” ft. Karrington McKenzie, Lyrically Blessed and Rico (MOG)

Rashad Rich – “F.O.A.U.” ft. Johnny B, Najie Dun and Eman

Mr. Blaxx – “Let Me Go” ft. Eman and Najie Du

Reggae/Dancehall Song of the Year

Militant Fyah – “Freedom”

Jay Shephard – “Real One”

MDeez – “La La”

MDeez – “Bad Company”

Ricardo Clarke – “Make A Move”

Benjie – “Stay Focus”

Video Producer of the Year

Kyle Ferguson – “Jiggy Productions”

Farreno Ferguson – “F Dot Photography”

Lavado Stubbs – “Conch Boy Film”

Sway Jay – “Swaygfxs”

Miguel Davis – “Davis The Camera Guy”

Judah Forbes – “NDO Films and Photography”

Music Video of the Year

Wendi – “In Front of You”

Chase – “100”

Julien Believe – “Goin’ Down On Bay”

Baha Men – “Let’s Go”

Bodine – “Juicy Fruit”

Raven Roberts – “Proud”

Short Film of the Year

CINE Morphosis – “Growing Up Gen”

Duet Studios – “Thirty”

Why Christ Media – “Waiting”

Anneisha Jones – “Behind The Beat- Unmasking The Bahamian Sound”

Travolta Cooper – “Where In The World Is Wally?”

Renee Caesar – “Trust”

Gospel Music Video of the Year

Johnny B and Jai Sully – “One Wave”

Eman – “Testify”

Mr. Blaxx – “My Life”

Stacs – “Jack In the Box”

Rashad Rich – “Matters of the Heart”

Najie Dun – “Hallelujah”

TV Talk Show of the Year

Bahamas at Sunrise

On The Record

Beyond The Headlines

Freedom March

Sofa Talk

The Rush

TV Series of The Year

Happy Foods 242

The New Sawyer Boy Show

Whatcha Cooking

Ordinary People

Fabulous Living: Bahamian Style

Cindy Central

TV Commercial of the Year

Domino’s Pizza – “A Slice of Passion”

BahaMar – “BahaMar Wild Flower”

Cash N’ Go – “Cash N’ Go”

Bamboo Shack – “Unwrap Your Favorite Bamboo Shack”

Bamboo Shack – “National Boyfriend Day”

Family Guardian – “Family Life Insurance”

Fashion Designer of the Year

Theodore Elyett

Kedar Clarke

Kevin Evans

David Rolle

Cardell McClam

Phylicia Ellis

Sketch Comedian of the Year

Das Quay

Sawyer Boy

Latoya Laughs


Vocab Bahamas

Vividly Val

Radio Talk Show of the Year

Freedom March with Rodney Moncur

Morning Blend with Dwight Strachan

The Revolution with Juan McCartney

Free Ya Mind with Natural Empress

The Hit Back with Nahaja Black

The Conversation with Shenique Miller

VLOG of the Year

Sawyer Boy TV

Tipsy Thursdays

Das Quay

Latoya Laughs


Harrison Vlogs

Party DJ of the Year

DJ Godson

DJ Ignite

DJ Tank

DJ Ovadose

DJ Fresh

Xtra Large

BLOG of the Year

Rogan Smith – “This Bahamian Gal”

Olivia Russell – “Life by Olivia”

Ianthia Ferguson – “MiniSkirts and Microphones”

Renaldo Dorsett – “10th Year Seniors”

Nik Barnes – “Stylezine Magazine”

Farreno Ferguson – “Elife 242”

Photographer of the Year

Gary Francis – “TFL Studios”

Stanley Babb – “Stanlo Photography”

Shawn Hanna – “Shawn Hanna Photography”

Blair J. Meadows – “Blair J. Meadows Photography”

Kristoff Rolle – “Churchboy Photography”

Braxton Gardiner – “Braxton Gardiner Photography”

Entertainer of the Year

Jaquay Adderley

Latoya Dean

Timico Sawyer

Rodney Moncur

The Essence Band

Solo to da Googal

Visual Artist of the Year

Allan Wallace

Minolta Butler

Monty Knowles

Jodi Minnis

Stefan Davis

Angelika Wallace

Caribbean Music Video of the Year

Kes – “Savannah Grass”

Skinny Fabulous, Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin – “Famalay”

Farmer Nappy – “Hookin Meh’”

Dexta Daps – “No Underwear”

Koffee – “Rapture (Remix)”

Jah Cure – “Royal Soldier”

Caribbean Gospel Song of the Year

Positive – “We Go Dancing”

Nehilet Blackman – “Take Over”

DJ Nicholas – “God a fi Everybody”

Kevin Downswell – “All the Way”

Samuel Medas – “Presence”

Sherwin Gardner – “Trouble”

Caribbean Gospel Music Video

Positive – “We Go Dancing”

Nehilet Blackman – “Legacy”

Jermaine Edwards – “I Will Follow”

Kevin Downswell – “Lights Out”

Jaron – “Fed Up”

Blessed Messenger – “Never Fail Me Yet”

Caribbean Song of the Year

Kes – “Savannah Grass”

Koffee – “Toast”

Nailah Blackman – “Games”

Skinny Fabulous, Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin – “Famalay”

Patrice Roberts – “Not One Thing”

Keno and Kaz – “Layaway”

Caribbean Artist of the Year



Farmer Nappy

Machel Montano


Jah Cure

Ronnie Butler Lifetime Achievement Award

Isaiah Taylor

Trail Blazer Award

Andrew “Drew Harmony” Gardiner Jr.

Culture Award

Tim Daniels

Show More

Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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