This month we turn our spotlight on one of Nassau's foremost entertainers, a singer/songwriter whose dream is to be remembered for bringing Bahamian music to the world. He is David Fergusson, better known as Funky D.
By day, he is a mild-mannered, bespectacled Customer Services Representative at the Bank of the Bahamas. But by night, he is transformed into a wild and crazy showman with a flair for performing Junkanoo music and taking it to new heights. Funky D was voted Bahamian Entertainer of the Year for 1993 by the Association of Performing Artists of the Bahamas, and his latest release, "At the Centre" received the Best Goombay Song of the Year award. More than five hundred people had to be turned away at his last concert appearance because promoters had underestimated the overwhelming response from the Bahamian public. A concert planned for December however, will run for three consecutive nights to make sure all of his fans get a chance to see him in action. The concert is scheduled for December 24th, 25th and 26th at the Cable Beach Convention Centre, beginning nightly at 9 p.m. The concert is billed "Start Me Up Part Two," named after a popular song Funky D released earlier this year from a collection of his songs called "The Fun Starts Here" which is available on cassette tape in all fine music stores in Nassau. Two more songs are due to be released come 1994. Both "Lazy" and "Feeling Free" are Junkanoo dance tunes, a mode of musical expression fast becoming synonymous with Funky D. In fact, his concert-goers know they won't spend much time sitting down once the curtain goes up. He is proud to say that his performance is no fabrication, just one hundred per cent authentic Bahama talent in all its untamed glory. "Nobody can beat being me," he says. "I decided to create something that's unique. You can imitate the Michael Jacksons and the Luther Vandrosses, but nobody can beat Funky D being Funky D. I really go out to please my audience. I do all that it takes to make sure that they have a good time." David Fergusson has been performing and recording as Funky D for the past two years. He has many sold-out concerts to his credit, and a string of hit recordings including Crazy Boy-O (1992), At The Centre (1993), Start Me Up (1993) and Break Back Wine (1993). But David has been playing the club circuit for much longer than that. He began singing and writing songs back in 1973 when he was a student at St Augustine's College. With his band "Sweet Love" he cut his musical teeth, playing parties and school dances for free. Upon graduation in 1979, he enrolled at the College of the Bahamas, and two years later he received an Associate's Degree in Natural Science. Soon after, he joined the group The Backstabbers, a showband that headlined at nearly every major hotel and resort in Nassau for several years to follow. It was Linc Scavella, lead singer of the Backstabbers, who christened David "Funky D" because of his wildly energetic performing style. When the Backstabbers disbanded in 1985, Funky D joined the Summer Breeze Band, one of the first local groups to take the soca music of the southern Caribbean and infuse it with Bahamian junkanoo rhythms and lyrics with a local flavour. Some say that Bahamian music was in the doldrums until Summer Breeze released "Never Been So Cold" with Funky D singing lead vocals. When the Bahamian public quickly bought up all the recordings, demonstrating their wholehearted support of a fresh new sound they could call their own, Funky D knew he was finally on his way. The Summer Breeze Band released another hit record, The Piña Colada Song, with Funky D singing lead, before he decided to begin performing as a solo act. Now his successful solo career runs simultaneously with his nightly gigs with Summer Breeze in the Radisson Hotel's Goombay Bar in Cable Beach. "At the Radisson I'm known more for my balads than for my crazy songs," he says. "We do one called 'You and Me Tonight' that the people really love." Funky D's schedule is hectic, to say the least. A banker by day, a singer by night, and weaved into that heavy load are his regular appearances as Funky D. He pushes himself to the limit for a reason: he wants great things to happen in the Bahamian music industry. He wants to bring it to the world, make it as distinctive and popular as Jamaican reggae. He knows that only hard work and a united front among performers can make this dream come true. "The good thing about Bahamian music is that it is happy music. When you hear it you want to dance. But before we can succeed in the world market, all the musicians and entertainers and writers need to connect together as one," he says. "Jamaica sent their music out as a country, rather than one artist at a time. If we get together as a group we can make it in the international market."