It’s no secret that Savage is a local star with two # 1 records under his belt for 2005’s “Swing” and “Moonshine”, but it was a breakthrough international placement in hit US comedy “Knocked Up” that turned our local hero into an overnight star in America.
“Swing” was placed in a pivotal bar scene in the blockbuster movie that let the rest of the world know what us Kiwi’s have been saying for a long time - Savage is a platinum star, a big man with a big voice and even bigger talent.
Home in New Zealand to release his debut US album “Savage Island”, the South Auckland MC is adapting back to life outside of the fast paced world of Hollywood & New York.
A recap for the un-initiated: Savage is a founding member of New Zealand most prolific Hip Hop group the Deceptikonz that first stormed the NZ Top 10 chart with the # 2 debut album “Elimination” in 2002. Fame and acclaim followed quickly and with this strong foundation in place it wasn’t long before Savage’s powerful voice found itself on Gold & Platinum certified hit’s “Stop, Drop & Roll” and a scene stealing guest feature on Scribe’s “Not Many Remix”.
No doubt about it Savage was on a quick path to the top and he proved in late 2004 that he had what it takes as a solo artist delivering his biggest hit “Swing” which instantly went # 1 in New Zealand. With his big voice at the front of his solo project “Moonshine” Savage followed that success with another # 1 single that spent 7 weeks in the top spot and introduced the world to future superstar called Akon. “Moonshine” was certified Platinum in June 2005 and was Akon’s first # 1 hit record anywhere in the world.
Fast forward to 2008 and local independent label Dawn Raid notices a huge spike in the number of international visitors to Savage’s MySpace site and views on YouTube of his video “Swing”, the label CEO’s sense a huge opportunity is being missed and approach Universal New Zealand to do a back door listing onto the US iTunes store to see if their hunch is correct. “SWING” goes live on iTunes late March 2008 and by April the infectious single has landed in the Top 100 US iTunes chart and a bidding war erupts between Major Labels TVT, Koch Records, Konvict Muzik and Universal Republic for Savage’s signature.
Universal Republic were victorious in the exciting label negotiations, signing Savage to a 4 album deal in April 2008 and quickly embarked on getting the infectious hit single “Swing” out to radio stations across America, by June 17th “Swing” was the # 1 most added Rhythmic song in America.
“I flew into Los Angeles from a promo run in San Francisco, when I arrived at the airport the radio rep was there to pick me up, the first thing she said was -“You have the # 1 most added song in America”, I was so happy I didn’t know what to say!!” Laughs Savage.
With Momentum on his side Savage was put on the road to promote the single and performed in over 42 cities across the United States including regional stops in the Mid-west, Down South, west coast, East coast, Hawaii, Mexico and extended stays in LA & New York. The performances including supporting slots with superstars like The Game, David Banner, Flo-Rida, Pitbull, Soulja Boy and a host of other A-List celebrities, in short a life changing experience.
Sounds Incredible? It was, and by August 2008 Savage had a RIAA certified Gold Single (500,000) and was whisked away to Atlanta to record what would become his debut US album “Savage Island” and his second album for New Zealand and Australia fans.
“Savage Island” was recorded in Atlanta at Solar Sound Studios where Savage spent nearly two months working with top US producers to craft his new album.
Long term friend and ex-pat record executive Kirk Harding suggested Dawn Raid hire Benny D from Akon’s Konvict music camp to come onboard as executive producer for the album and the results are explosive.
“Benny D has produced platinum hit’s for artist’s like Akon so as soon as I knew he was involved with the record I was relaxed and looking forward to getting in the studio” Says Savage
Benny D’s guidance lead to guest features from current US hit song writers Rock City (who penned “When I grow up” for Pussy Cat Dolls) on the club anthem and current NZ single “Hot Like Fire” and united Savage with super producer Dallas Austin backed rapper A-Leon from Da Backwudz.
Conscious that the American public found it hard to appreciate a New Zealand / Samoan rapper selling an American made music genre, Savage made the choice to purposely draw a line in the sand and put his unique culture and exotic homeland at the forefront of the album look and sound which resulted in two Polynesian themed hit’s, his NZ Top 10 single “Wild Out” feat Baby Bash and the captivating ode to the pacific “I Love The Islands”.
Spending a short time recording in Hollywood and New York refining “Savage Island” also resulted in production services from Sol Messiah, FBI Productions and The Cold Chamber and guest features from hip hop legends Boo Yaa Tribe and new comers Pitbull, Soulja Boy Tell’em and Sean P (Youngbloodz).
The Result? Savage’s hit single went on to be RIAA certified platinum in November 2008 and currently stands at over 1.8 million singles sold, the highest selling New Zealand single in American history. The album ‘Savage Island” was released in America and instantly hit the Billboard Heat Seekers chart at # 12 and the Billboard R&B / Hip Hop chart at # 25, another history making milestone for a New Zealand artist.
We’re sure you’ll agree that Savage has made a major breakthrough for New Zealand music and we look forward to you sharing in this incredible New Zealand success story.