Musical success: Victims of Existence members John Eric Amaral, left, and Khari ‘Otis’ Thornhill have landed a distribution deal that will give them international exposure. *Photo supplied
Musical success: Victims of Existence members John Eric Amaral, left, and Khari ‘Otis’ Thornhill have landed a distribution deal that will give them international exposure. *Photo supplied

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 5: Two Bermudian music artists are ecstatic after landing a digital distribution deal associated with Sony Music that will give them international exposure.

Rapper Khari ‘Otis’ Thornhill and singer John Eric Amaral formed their hip-hop influenced band Victims of Existence in 2002 and are now hoping to pursue professional careers in the music industry. 

Speaking exclusively to the Bermuda Sun, Thornhill said: “It is shocking to tell you the truth — I wasn’t expecting anything like this at all and it kind of puts a little more fire into everything and wanting to pursue this fully.”

The pair’s success has rocketed since they were signed by local management company PlayList Management based in Sandys.

It was through the company’s CEO Theresa Minors that they won the contract with SunToucher Entertainment LLC in collaboration with Sony Music.

The deal will see their music sold through digital download sites including iTunes, AOL’s Music Net, the new Napster, Rhapsody, Buy Music, Emusic, MusicMatch to name a few.

What’s more, one of the singles on their upcoming album Against All Odds has been nominated in the Rap/Hip Hop category of the Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA). The winner will be announced in November.

“Before we met Theresa things were kind of rocky in so far as us trying to pursue music as a professional career,” recalls Thornhill. “But ever since we met up with her it has been one move after the next pushing us closer to leaving the real world and doing music full time.

“With the HMMA Awards and the distribution deal it is just amazing. At the beginning of this year I didn’t think that would be possible.”

According to Amaral, the band’s music blends hip-hop, electronica and R&B yet can be categorised into many different genres.

New flavour

“It is definitely something you haven’t heard before — it’s a new flavour,” he said.

“I say its like hip-hop but if you listened to it you wouldn’t necessarily classify it as hip-hop — the drums and rapping are hip-hop oriented but it also sounds like pop.

“The songs are about love and life — it’s party music. There is nothing about money or ‘bling’ like what you see on TV — it is just wholesome music really.”

While much of the music is created through computer programming, there are some live elements including vocals by Thornhill and Amaral, and piano and guitar on a few songs by producer Craig Simons.

“I listen to a wide variety of music and there are a lot of influences. The instrumentation, if there is a guitar you might hear influence from country music, or if you hear an electronic sound it is definitely house oriented or has dub step influences.

“I was brought up in Bermuda and we listened to reggae and the crooners really influenced me like Sanchez, Wayne Wonder, Bob Marley — the singers, as well as pop music like Michael Jackson. All genres influence our music. It is unique but it is catchy.

Their song A Place With A Vibe, featuring Simons, was written about Bermuda and has been at the top of the charts on HOTT 1075 and Tha Underground radio stations. This weekend the band recorded a new music video on the island to go with the song which is due to be released at an upcoming party on September 18. “The film was shot here from Friday to Sunday and we all had a good time,” says Amaral.

“We shot at Moon Bar (now the Cosmopolitan) and at a private pool party and there is other local scenery including Dockyard and Hog’s Bay.”

Amaral and Thornhill have known each other since school having attended Mount Saint Agnes together. They performed at BeachFest this year and last year and opened for Ziggy Marley in 2010 at the Bermuda Music Festival.

They say with news of the distribution deal and award nomination that they hope to perform at more events locally in future.

• The album Against All Odds will have 15 songs and as well as digital version there will be some hard copies available in local stores. Keep an eye out for updates of details of the release party scheduled for Flanagans on September 18. For more information visit: http://www.playlistmanagement.net.