Bamboo is a pervasive species of plant that takes time and effort to establish its root system, but once it does, it grows at record speed. Ricci Bamboo has built a similar foundation that will stand the test of time. A product of his Toronto roots, Miami upbringing, and West Indian background, he has the experience and versatility to flourish with confidence in the music industry. As for his peers, they grew up listening to southern hip-hop. Growing up in a “rough” environment pushed him to be bold, confident, and unapologetically authentic. He gravitates towards originality and uniqueness, as he has seen practiced by his favorite artists. Bamboo recognizes that “Music has always been used as a form of entertainment and an influence. Regardless of what your message is, you’re influencing people. Their moods, their belief systems… you’re influencing something in their life.” His mission is to make music that he is proud to stand behind as it outlives him and reaches generations to come.
“Papa,” a ballad on top of an afrobeat, derives from the many inspirational men Ricci Bamboo has been surrounded by throughout his life. This unique sentiment is paired with a distinct sound resulting from a collaboration between himself and artist David Meli. Our youth, which Bamboo refers to as the “lost generation,” requires immense guidance and support during this tumultuous time – support from father figures. He confesses to speaking with many young people who refer to music from previous eras because they feel songs today fail to provide them with substance. Drawing from his own experiences, he understands what it means to be a fan of an artist. You grab on to everything they say within their music and truly take it to heart. Bamboo has accepted this responsibility and is creating tracks with a profound message. Papa addresses the role of strength that fathers play within their families’ structure; and the reality that many live in homes where the father is not present for various reasons. The track not only reminds listeners of the powerful presence of a father figure but also the need for men to recognize this responsibility and become unified within it.
Beginning with male dancers covered in paint that spells out the words “intelligent,” “powerful,” and “brave,” there is an essence of male empowerment in the “Papa” video. Bamboo is familiar with the difficulty of breaking through barriers as a male from a minority community. He explains, “It’s hard to find resources; there are hidden walls left, right, and center.” He encourages men to live with purpose and believe in themselves despite the inequalities. This self-confidence will allow men to be better mentors, fathers, brothers, and humans. The dancers reflect this as they perform with masculine movements and gather their hands, raising them to the sky, signifying men’s ability to uplift future generations. The video, with its short film feel, shows the impactful bond between a father and son – a bond that is vital to the growth and prosperity of men in our world.
Can you explain the process of creating the concept behind “Papa”? When did the idea strike and how did the song come to fruition?
The concept of “Papa” was birthed from the devaluation of fathers in this generation of youth. They’re desensitized to their absence. “Masculinity” is paramount for men in roles of fatherhood.
There are elements of afrobeat and dancing in the song and visuals, why were those factors important to include?
A major key for all my projects is that I need the “music” to move you when you hear it & the “visuals” to stick with you forever.
Afro beat is like a universal language right now.
Furthermore, I like to incorporate dance with everything I produce musically.
The art of dance is really undervalued in my opinion and I hope to connect more with the dance community.
Shoutout to TOMXFILM for directing and producing Papa with Me.
Such an amazing team!!
“Papa” is slightly over a minute long; can you explain why you decided to make the song shorter than average?
I can answer that in three words…… people’s attention span
Everyone’s time is valuable with today’s “on-the -go” lifestyle.
That’s why we wanted to give something that’s easy to digest and meaningful.
When did you begin your musical journey? When did you know that your talent in music was what you dreamed to do as a career?
Age 15 was that year when the lightbulb turned on. I heard everything differently and became curious about every sound I heard in my favorite songs.
That being said, it’s been one heck of a journey.
How does the message behind “Papa” apply to human connections and relationships in our world today?
The disconnect between “modern culture” and the significance of fathers has left a whole generation stranded.
Bringing awareness without focusing on the negative/ political side of it was key.
What do you hope fans feel and take away from “Papa” after both listening and viewing?
I hope fans and viewers are inspired to embrace the great men in their lives and trust that Ricci Bamboo will always strive to share “Timeless Gems” with the world regardless of what’s trending and what’s not.