TUNE UP & TURN OUT: LIVE & DIRECT WITH MYSTIC DAVIS

Music is a constant soundtrack of Port Antonio, whether it’s the reverb of bass echoing over the mountain peaks or the electric dancehall riddims at the weekly street dance. And by night, Port Antonio literally springs to life with a range of local sound systems, street dances and nightclubs offering vibrant outposts to enjoy a night on the town with in-the-know travelers and laid back locals. Road Block, Port Antonio’s Thursday night street dance, has become a popular destination where selectors play the latest and greatest while local dance crews bring authentic vibes and constant innovation to these weekly sessions.

We caught up with local dancehall queen Mystic Davis for some on-the-ground insight.

What are some of your sources of inspiration when dancing?

I love the idea of knowing that each step has the potential to change my life or someone else’s. I also draw inspiration from dancers I admire.

Who are some choreographers you respect and why?

I admired dancehall artist Tifa and another schoolmate Monique, because they would always dominate the Sixth Form Concerts. Years later, I was introduced to Tanisha Scott and I loved that she was her own brand. I didn’t know dancers could be so major, especially females.

What’s one of your favorite videos by a Jamaican artist?

Sean Paul’s “Gimme the Light” by Director X.

Why do you think dance in Jamaica is so consummately innovative?  It seems like there’s a new move out every week.

My culture is extremely creative. Everyone sings, everyone dances, writes, recites, everyone is always trying to create the next big thing. For dancers, it’s no different. New moves are created every day knowing that there is earning potential for when a new dance makes it big. It opens the market for that dancer, who attracts artists to create a new song, a new video, new shows, promotions, which can all work out well for the creator of the moves.

Who are some of the top dance crews at the weekly Road Block street dance in Port Antonio?

I think the dance crew “D Squad” dominates at the Road Block street dance.

Tell me about recording the “Bubble Butt” track with Diplo and what that experience was like.

My sis Timberlee had a session with Major Lazer at Geejam in Portland and invited me to come along. I had recorded the official remix with producer Leftside on the track “Want Yuh Body,” months before, and they loved the track. A couple of months later, I asked Diplo for a beat to do a demo for him and he sent the “Bubble Butt” track. So I recorded my verses and sent it back. The song blew up, and has been a really good start to my musical journey.

You spend a lot of time by the sea.  What does it give back to you?

I grew up near the beach. I spent a lot of time there even before I could swim. Then I lived in a valley by the river. Once I learned to swim, I went every day for years. I lived in the city for about 15 years, so now that I’m back home I go to the beach like it’s second nature.