Barry Boom was born Paul Robinson in May 1964 in St Giles Hospital, Camberwell, south east London (UK); to Jamaican immigrants Ernest Robinson (a carpenter) and Sithel Robinson (a seamstress). He is the youngest of six boys.
Boom first appeared on record aged 13, as a drummer/lead vocalist in the Simeons band. The Simeons recorded one album entitled “Dub Conference in London” (Freedom Sounds Records).
In 1979 he formed part of “One Blood” alongside four of his older brothers. They cut two albums with Neville King Records, “In Love” (1980) and “Super Showcase” (1982). One Blood also released a series of successful singles throughout the period.
In late ‘82 Boom was approached by Nick Bailey of the Nick Straker Band” and asked to perform as featured vocalist (as Paul Robinson) and co-write four tracks for their album ‘The Nick Straker Band’, which was released on Pinnacle Records in 1982. This was a pivotal point for Boom, as he learned a lot of production techniques and developed his production skills from this association with Nick Straker.
In 1983 Boom moved into production for the first time scoring a certified reggae classic hit; with his production of Papa Levi on “Mi God Mi King”, staying at the number one spot in the UK reggae charts for 8 weeks.
“Mi God Mi King” was picked up by Island Records and was released in Jamaica on the Taxi Gang label. It sat atop the JA reggae charts for six weeks (the first British recording artist to hit the number one spot in JA) and Boom received his first recognition as a UK reggae producer.
In 1984 Boom started his own record label ‘Level Vibes Records’ and went on to produce singles for Maxi Priest (‘Throw mi Corn’, ‘Should I’ et al), which all went to the number one spot on the UK reggae charts.
Why Barry Boom?
After recording numerous dub plates using many different pseudonyms for various sound systems around the UK and Europe; the name ‘Boom’ became Paul’s main nickname and for some unknown reason ‘Barry’ was put at the front – hence the name: Barry Boom.
The notoriety of the dub plates created the demand for Barry Boom to become a recording artist. Barry Boom produced and released his first single “When You Smile” in 1984 on his own Level Vibes Label, which was his first solo number one in the UK reggae charts.
That same year Boom produced and sang the ‘One Blood’ hits; “Get in Touch” (Ensign Records), “It’s A Romance” and “Changed Man” (Level Vibes Records) and all achieved the number one spot in the UK reggae charts.
Also in 1984; Boom founded the Caution Band featuring Maxi Priest; where he performed as drummer/backing vocalist/musical director.
Boom went on to produce and compose all the music and co-write lyrics for the Maxi Priest debut album “You’re Safe”. It was obvious that Boom’s musical style and record production produced a unique sound that was instantly recognisable and this caught the attention of Virgin 10 Records. Maxi was signed and the rest is history.
Boom remained in the band One Blood with his brothers, but in 1987 tragedy struck when Boom’s elder brother and founder member of One Blood (Errol Robinson) died. The brothers disbanded, despite the best intentions of its members.
With the success of the Caution band and Maxi Priest debut album; Boom was subsequently approached by Polydor Records and commissioned to produce and co-write the debut album by Smiley Culture “Tongue n Cheek”, which went on to become a major success in the UK.
In 1988 Boom went on the Sly & Robbie/Taxi Gang world tour, with Freddie McGregor and Maxi Priest. This tour saw Boom shine in his capacity as a second tenor backing vocalist alongside Maxi (freeing him from his drum playing duties), which gave Boom the impetus to get back out front as a lead vocalist and do his thing.
On his return to the UK in December 1989 he recorded his anthem, “Making Love” on Fashion Records. It remained on the reggae charts at number one for 7 weeks and entered the British national charts.
In November 1990 Boom produced and co-wrote Barry Boom’s debut album “The Living Boom”, which was released on Fashion Records. The album went to number one in the UK reggae charts and stayed for a further 6 weeks. This led in turn to Barry Boom receiving the Radio One award for ‘Best Male Vocalist’ at the 1990 British Reggae Awards in London. VOX magazine described the album in its review as ‘Brilliant’.
Barry Boom received the 1991 Best British Reggae Album award. He was also nominated in a further 4 categories: Best Songwriter, Best Single, Best Producer and Best Musician. Two other artists Boom had been producing at the time Janet Lee-Davies and Mike Anthony received awards at the ceremony; Best Female Vocalist and Best Newcomer respectively.
In 1992 Barry Boom went to JA to record his sophomore album “Trust Me” at Tuff Gong Recording studios in Kingston; he worked with reggae giants Sly & Robbie, Robbie Lyn, Danny Brownie and Handel Tucker. The first single “Dial My Number” went to number one in the UK reggae charts. The single “Kissing You” featuring Cutty Ranks received heavy rotation on Jamaican radio.
In 1994 Barry Boom performed as tour support and worked as Musical Director for Chaka Demus and Pliers on the UB40 ‘Promises and Lies’ tour. The tour covered Japan, Australia, Europe and the Caribbean; playing to audiences between 5000 – 250,000 people.
In 1996 Barry Boom was offered a production deal with Buzz Productions/MCA. The album was entitled “Taste of Things to Come”; it was produced by Livingstone Brown and Gary Benson, featuring the singles, “Stand and Deliver” and “Taste of Things to Come”.
Boom spent his time between 1998 – 2001 touring on and off, writing songs and collaborating with acclaimed writers, such as Rick Knowles, Billy Steinburg and Troy Taylor, to name a few.
In 2001 Boom was working in a recording studio in NYC and touring, but took a break to return home for his wife’s graduation ceremony. A week later whilst home in the UK, 9/11 occurred and Boom made the decision to stop touring and take a hiatus from the music business to spend some quality time with his family. Boom has been happily married to his writing partner and wife Valerie for nearly 30 years and they have four children; 2 boys and 2 girls: – André, Renée-Louise, Ashley-Paul and Layla.
Boom has continued to write songs and perform live throughout the UK.
Revived, Refreshed and Renewed; Boom has emerged with an original musical bag of songs; giving birth to his new album “Everyday Life”.
Everyday Life speaks to the masses, as Boom delves into cultural matters, whilst remaining true to his fans by singing songs that deal with relationships and matters of the heart. Produced and co-written by Boom; the album captures the ‘old school’ vibe with a new flavour.
Boom has emerged as one of the cornerstones of British reggae music.
As a singer, producer, songwriter and musician he is a ‘quadruple’ threat with a musical pedigree that few in any musical genre can match.