People familiar with reggae music specifically, and Caribbean culture in general, know there exists a sharp rivalry between Jamaican reggae artists, musicians and record producers and those from anywhere else in the Caribbean whom some still see as outsiders or imitators of “their" music. And Hartford, CT, has a significant Caribbean population -- with no shortage of recording studios owned and operated by Jamaican producer-engineers; and yet Jamaican recording artists from Hartford, as well as from all over the U.S., Jamaica itself, Canada, Europe and Africa flock to the Dominica-born Ifield’s little digital studio in Hartford for the chance to work with him, affirmative proof that Ifield is truly the ultimate musician’s musician and producer’s producer.
An integral part of the renowned Calabash Band, Ifield accompanied touring international reggae stars like Gregory Isaacs, Judy Mowat, Nasio Fontaine, Sanchez, Glen Washington, Sister Carol, Yami Bolo, and calypso giants like The Mighty Sparrow, The Baron, Lazo, Errol Blackwood and Ellsworth James all over the western hemisphere.
He has produced and played guitar and keyboards on albums with Don Minot, Carolyn Adams, Kathleen Clark, Brian Rocque and Desi Hyson as well as many of those named above. As comfortable working on pop, rhythm and blues, modern country and gospel projects as he is in reggae, calypso, and zouk, Ifield studied at the Kairy and Bathurst Heights schools in Toronto in association with the Royal Conservatory of Music, matriculating at York University as a music major.
Growing up in Dominica in a family where music was the primary source of discipline, Ifield’s first stage performance was at the age of four. “Our grandfather was the organist for the district church. He had 16 children and over 70 grandchildren. At least 30 percent of his progeny were involved in music at some point in their lives, playing instruments or singing. The guitar was the choice of instrument for many of us because it was more accessible and cheaper to buy. Sometimes we would build our own guitars from wood and nylon strings. I started playing guitar at age 12 and the piano at 13.
“After migrating from Dominica to Canada in 1983, we formed a group called Steady Vibes, traveling all over Canada from 1983-1996 My grandfather’s name was Steady. All the members of the band were his grandchildren, so the name was actually an effort to perpetuate his memory and legacy.”
As the owner, engineer and lead producer in a major recording facility for reggae and other Caribbean music, Ifield is in a unique position to cherry-pick/recruit new artists for Capsicum Records. He will also have primary responsibility for training new artists for the label, and in consultation with A & R and Publishing Director Meltzer, for promoting the use of Capsicum’s songwriters, and new or catalogue repertoire. As a songwriter/musician/producer, Joseph will be proactive in the creation of new repertoire or structured rhythm tracks which foster its creation with other staff writers and composers.