Mumbai: A native of Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo grew up playing cricket in his village and idolising the legendary Brian Lara. But being a Caribbean, music is close to his soul. And true to his roots, the flamboyant sportsperson is also a performer outside the cricket field. After his single Chalo Chalo last year, the 31-year-old recently launched his official ICC World Twenty20 anthem titled Champion under the sobriquet DJ Bravo. He spoke to us exclusively sitting in his hotel room at Marine Drive. Excerpts…
How did music happen to Bravo — the cricketer?
Music is a part of our living. Our national music includes soca, calypso, reggae and dancehall. There is no cricket match in the Caribbean without music. When you entertain on field, it is a good feeling to hear music in the stands.
Who are the inspirations behind the rapper and DJ Bravo?
Beenie Man, Machel Montano, Bounty Killer are all big names. Whenever I have attended their concerts in Trinidad and Jamaica, I wished to be like them. I used to tell myself that ‘one day, I should be there on stage’. So, I gave it a shot.
Why did you launch your anthem in India?
I have the largest fan base in India. The country has been good to me and my family thanks to IPL. The tournament has a contribution to how I live my life now. It has done a lot to me personally. Hence, I wanted to give back something to the country, which has done so much for me.
Why did you name Michael Jordan and Barack Obama in your song?
I did so because they are champions in their own right. They have done a lot of good to the society. I also used Lara, Kieron Pollard and Chris Gayle in the lyrics.
The crime rate in Trinidad is very high, how was your childhood in the midst of everything?
I know, it is dangerous but it wasn’t as bad during my childhood. There were positive things happening in Trinidad that time. Cricket is a unifying force — it brought people together and got us success.
How much of an influence was Lara?
Lara is my childhood hero. We both come from the same village in Santa Cruz. When I was growing up, people called me the right-handed Lara till they watched my brother Darren who is a left-hander. (laughs)
Tell us about your first interaction with Lara…
When I came to know him, he was already playing for West Indies. So I couldn’t speak much when I met him in person. I only watched him, how he walks and talks. I thought I was sitting beside a hero. He left me speechless. But the more we met, the more we came closer. There is an age gap, but he treats me like a younger brother. He still plays a big part in my life.
Any other cricketing name which caught your fancy during childhood?
When I started being aware of cricket and players, Sachin Tendulkar was the other name apart from Lara which caught my ears.
The Caribbeans are the most flamboyant, jovial and expressive on the field. Have you ever thought of being misunderstood at times?
It depends on the country you are in at a time. Every country has a different culture and people perceive situations differently.
I’m talking about Chris Gayle’s ‘Don’t blush baby interview’ during Big Bash League…
Yes, I know what you meant. See, Chris, myself and many of our guys are all easy going and fun people. At times, people do tend to go overboard but trust me, Chris never meant any harm in that interview (for which Gayle came under fire for his flirtatious remarks) with the female TV presenter.
Your favourite songs and artistes from India?
I like Shah Rukh Khan’s Chammak Challo and Lungi Dance and also Salman’s Dhinka Chika....