Costi Ioniță, Romanian Producer Of Spice’s Latest Song, Wants To Make More Dancehall Hits

Costi Ioniță, Spice in New York

Constantin “Costi” Ioniță is the producer of Spice’s latest Dancehall hit with Shaggy and Sean Paul, Go Down Deh, which was released on April 30 ahead of her upcoming debut album, TEN.

Go Down Deh is currently No. 1 on the US Reggae iTunes chart. The Jay Will (Game Over) directed music video, shot at MECA in Kingston, Jamaica, is also currently trending No. 1 on YouTube Jamaica with almost 1 million views since its release one day ago.

Costi, 43, of Romania, is never short on enthusiasm. In his distinct Eastern European accent, he shared his love for Jamaican culture and how he makes hits for some of the top artists in the world.

Hey Costi, Where are you now?

Romania, Eastern Europe, driving.

You have a hit song smashing down the other side of the world right now?

Bro, music has no boundaries, everything now is on the internet. The most important thing is to be inspired.

Where are you from and how did you connect with dancehall?

I am a Romanian music producer, artist, and singer. I met Shaggy a few years ago and he is now one of my best friends in the International music market. I work with a lot of people in the Latin world. Nicky Jam, Pitbull, and last year I did some top tens (music) in the world.

Shaggy was who made the connection for the Spice record (Go Down Deh)?

Yes, he was the one. He brought me into the Ranch Studio in New York, and there I met Spice. And I played some beats and then we started to flow and play and that’s it. They liked the vibe and energy and here it is “guh dung deh”.

Where did you get the inspiration for that beat, is that part of your cultural heritage? Where did that baseline come from?

Here in Romania we have a confluence of a lot of cultures, that beat and rhythm is part of our education and part of our culture. We have Balcanica sounds which are absolutely special for this part of the world.

What is the Balcanica sound?

It’s this type of Rhythm, it sounds like Reggaeton but it’s not Reggaeton because we have a percussion that is very special for this part of the world. We are also influenced by the oriental and middle east and Asia and Europe so we are kinda in the middle of everything.

Is this your first dancehall song?

Nope, I also did I need your love for Shaggy, that song went to the billboard hot 100, UK top three, everywhere that was a smash worldwide hit. I also did something for Putbull and Nicky Jam, Forgot a Recession. That song crossed over in a lot of territories. The Balcanic culture and our style of music is going worldwide.

Yes, I realize you have a lot of views too.

Yes, the music is beyond the color of the skin, and social levels, and language. It’s just the vibe and good energy.

Who do you listen to?

I listen to a lot of Jamaican sounds like the Dancehall, the Reggae. When I was little I was a fan of Shaggy. I was crazy about the Jamaican flow, the fast flow. That Jamaican flow I put in my music and make it a ‘Costi Specialty’.

Where did you study music?

I studied in Romania. I play four instruments. I have been in a choir and was in the Philharmonic orchestra. I was a prime soloist in the choir, I was a tenor. I play accordion, piano and drums and a little flute.

You are probably one of few Romanian producers that crossed over. What advice do you give to people from Jamaica who want to make it worldwide?

They’d have to contact me (laughs) Just joking.

They have to be open to different kinds of vibes. Don’t be stuck on a special genre and say ‘hey we only use these types of drums’. If you are like that you will just follow the others, You want to break barriers and be the first.

So you advise artists to cross pollinate and to go outside their comfort zone?

I am working on mixing the cultures, between the Caribbean, US, Latin and Asian and if that beat makes you dance and it’s about joy and peace you have to do it bro, it doesn’t matter where you are from just go with the flow and express yourself into the music. Then the people will feel this energy and love it.

How do you feel about Jamaica?

My second country is Jamaica. I know I don’t have the accent but I know a lot of artists from Jamaica and I been on the streets with Ding Dong. I was at Shaggy and Friends last time, I was with Ding Dong onstage.

Do you think streaming is good for the music industry especially for artists?

I don’t know maybe for right now it’s better because it’s a pandemic and you can’t go to the store so at-least your money can come through the internet. It’s much easier, but artists don’t have concerts so the money is not enough. Before this was the peanuts and now this(streaming) is the main course.

Do you think artists should own their masters?

The most important thing is to have some income. If you have some income it doesn’t matter what you have. You can have 200 percent of the masters and don’t have two dollars. It’s important to have some income, dollars.

The way to do that is to make hits right?

Exactly. When you have that stabilized financial situation then you can make hits and you don’t have to think how am I gonna pay my rent or how I’m gonna pay the electricity. It’s important to have something to take care of your necessities.

Who else are you planning to work with in Dancehall?

I am gonna work with a lot of Jamaicans, I know a lot of artists there. I can’t say who is next but I am working on that. Thanks to Shaggy of course who is my brother who takes care of me.

Big up Costi.

Forta! Thank you bro!!




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