With a music career spanning over 40 years, Tony Chin is a true founding father of reggae music. Born in Kingston and raised in Trenchtown and Greenwich Farm, Tony’s career started in the rocksteady era and progressed into reggae in the 1970s as an original member of Soul Syndicate Band, the prime studio and stage band in the Golden Era of reggae. It is hard to imagine a chart-topping song that Tony Chin didn’t perform on or a producer or artist that didn’t have Tony Chin on board for musical creation and support. Tony worked for producers including Bunny Lee, Niney the Observer, Lee Scratch Perry, Joe Gibbs, Duke Reid, JoJo from Channel One, Randy’s Records, Miss Sonia Pottinger, and others creating music for Dennis Brown, Burning Spear, The Wailers, Big Youth, Gregory Issacs, Johnny Clarke, Don Carlos, Ken Boothe, Max Romeo, the Melodians, the Mighty Diamonds, Freddie McGregor, Judy Mowatt, and countless others.
Rooted in Kingston 13, Tony Chin alongside George Fully Fullwood, Earl Chinna Smith, and Carlton Santa Davis, known as the Soul Syndicate Band, has created some of the legendary and classic sounds of reggae music that still gets recycled today. One of the most noted is Stalag 17, written by Ansell Collins, and now more commonly referred to as the Bam Bam riddim due to the crossover success of Sister Nancy’s Bam Bam. Also, many people don’t know that Soul Syndicate is the originator of the Taxi Riddim. Tony Chin was prominent in creating the sound that defined roots reggae and his legacy includes the fact that it was he who developed the ‘flyers” rhythm guitar style that became such a craze in reggae with classic songs such as Dennis Brown’s Cassandra and West Bound Train and Johnny Clarke’s Move Out of Babylon featuring Tony’s work.
Tony Chin has been blessed to travel the world over the years playing reggae music and backing artists such as U Roy, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, the Mighty Diamonds, Michael Rose, Andrew Tosh, Mikey Dread, Peter Rowan, and many others. In 1993, Tony joined the California-based reggae band Big Mountain giving the band the authentic reggae sound that made the band strong for many years to come. While helping with some of the musical arrangements, most notably the Billboard chart-topper Baby I Love Your Way, a Peter Frampton remake, and writing and working on several Big Mountain albums proved successful for Tony. Tony continues to keep busy recording and performing with Fully and Santa on various projects and collaborations with artists such as Sshh and Zak Starkey.
Tony’s love and passion for reggae music have not diminished at all over the years, and Tony continues to write songs and work in his studio on a regular basis.
In the last year, Tony has released 3 albums, “Unstoppable”, “Jamaican Classics Two” and his latest “All About Love”, as well as 3 singles. Obviously, Tony Chin is not slowing down and will be a force to be reckoned with for hopefully many years to come.