Kirkland Bodie was born to businessman Ortland Bodie and Beatrice Outten in Nassau. The date? He discloses only as “the early seventies”. He received his primary education at the Martin Town Primary School in Grand Bahama and was later relocated to Miami, Florida at about the age of four. He said that one-day, his father picked up the entire family and just took off to Miami. This move introduced KB to a lot of what he calls "middle of the road white music". Among his favorite artists were Frankie Avalon, Elvis Presley, and pop stars Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. His dad, however, played the piano and organ and did read music quite well, according to KB.
Having no interest in playing music as a child, KB enjoyed riding around with his dad and listening to AM radio which featured some of his favorite artists. Upon his completion of high school, KB returned home to Grand Bahama where he held several odd jobs including being a bus boy at the Bahama Princess, and stock boy at AID (Industrial & Automotive Distributors). He also began singing in talent shows and other special events in Grand Bahama.
He was well into his teens when his childhood friend Sid Rolle approached him about starting a band. KB admits that he hadn't a clue as to what that entailed. He quickly found out that you had to set up equipment, practice for long hours and of course use a microphone, especially when the band is playing rock music. Along with two other friends Dave Cooper and George Delancy, the group "Ego Tripp" was born. They all decided to quit their jobs and try the music business. They performed at Family Island regattas, weddings, and just about anything that came up. Their repertoire consisted of mostly rock, R&B, and little Bahamian music. The band went on to win a song contest early in their career and began recording with GBI Recording Studio under the watchful eye of Frank Penn.
Click play to hear Frank penn Talk about KB -
The band gradually bought into playing more Bahamian music with a bit of convincing from Penn. This proved to add to their growing popularity in Freeport. KB, being a lead singer, became interested in writing his own songs, which prompted him to learn the keyboards. That along with not being able to find a committed keyboardist forced him to advance quite rapidly on that instrument. Pretty soon songs like "Turn Her Loose And Let Her Go", and "You Winin'" gave the band national attention.
With Ego Tripp band going through difficulties of string jobs among other things, KB sought to pursue a solo career after much frustration. It was around that time in the early 90's that he moved to Nassau at the invitation of Rudy Grant and made his debut appearance at The Family Island Lounge, Soldier Road, Nassau. During this period, he achieved perhaps his greatest hit "She Fat” recorded by Fred Ferguson (formerly of High Voltage which later became Baha-Men) at his home studio. This was the beginning of a string of hits by this Bahamian renaissance man. Songs like "All The Meat", "Start Me Up", "Bush Mechanic" and "Annie" all told stories of island folk and folklore.
Approximately two years of success had gone by at The Family Island Lounge when KB met manager Gary Burnstein. Gary had heard some of KB's music while on vacation in the Bahamas and sought him out. At his invitation, KB made a move to Boston where he performed for audiences all over the New England area. It was quite an adventure to learn about the integration of so many West Indian & Caribbean people. This lasted for the best of four years before KB got homesick and returned home in the mid 90's. During those many years, KB attributes his success locally to Rudy Grant who continued to promote his music.
KB admits that although it's been challenging at times, his greatest contribution has been being able to stay focused, avoiding the use of drugs, and not giving up on his dream.
KB now has his own recording studio and just recently completed a project featuring the songs of some of the old Bahamian classics like "Eight Babies", “Delia Gone“, and "Honey Love". It is fair to say that KB started the rejuvenation of a movement which has led to many artists such as Geno D., Funky D., Stevie S., Sweet Emily, Ira Storr, and many others getting into the "Bahamian ting".
Local entertainers like Ronnie Butler, Eddie Minnis, Dr. Offff, and T-Connection influenced KB's music from the beginning. In particular Ronnie Butler was very instrumental in encouraging KB to continue on when he felt like giving it all up. Like Frank Penn says, there were times when local musicians had to wage war with the Government owned ZNS just to get our music played. Today however, with private radio stations in the mix, particularly 102.9 Island FM and Love 97, the future of Bahamian music seems a little brighter.
KB now dreams of going to a Family Island where he can live a life of serenity. He feels as if death came today, he would be satisfied with how his life turned out.
With all of the uncertainties facing the future of Bahamian music, KB is to be commended for committing himself to the preservation of his brand of the music of these Bahama Islands.