Dwayne Bravo says his ultimate goal is to have a successful cricket career; cricket enthusiasts will argue that he's already accomplished that aim. Only last week, the all-rounder shot into the spotlight again when he created history by becoming the first cricketer in the world to be nominated for the prestigious ESPY sport awards.
He earned the nomination in the Best Play category for his spectacular one-hand catch during a match in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL). And last month, Bravo had reason to celebrate when he copped the Purple Cap for taking the most wickets (26) in the IPL. Bravo's 2013 record of 32 wickets remains unbroken. So, we can safely move on to goal number two–and that is to take his music more seriously and launch it on the world's stage.
The former West Indies captain is wasting no time on that mission.
On June 11, he flew out to Los Angeles to meet with top producers and music executives to explore avenues to take his music to the next level.
"I always loved music but it was something I did as a hobby, now I do gigs in LA and Florida. I never saw myself reaching those places through music. I always thought cricket would take me there," Bravo shares in a recent interview at his Maraval home.
Bravo, or DJ Bravo as he dubs himself, says while he knows his music is not taken seriously in Trinidad, it is well-received outside of the country. His latest track, Chalo Chalo, a catchy chutney tune featuring Karma's Nisha B, became an instant hit in India–where Bravo has legions of loyal fans.
The song, which he dedicated to his supporters there, is also available on iTunes. With a few other tracks already under his belt including Go Gyal Go and Beenie Man and Bravo, a collaboration with his long-time friend, Jamaican dancehall artiste Beenie Man–Bravo believes that taking his music internationally is only the start of bigger and better things to come.
"I know people don't take me on locally and that's okay. My focus with music is outside of Trinidad. I plan to release more tracks for the Asian market because they really embrace my sound. It's great to know I'm loved around the world."
And that love runs deep. Bravo is often mobbed by hundreds of cricket lovers for selfies and autographs whenever he travels to countries like India and Bangladesh. The right-handed batsman says when he finally puts down his bat, he also plans to open a music studio to help other artistes realise their dreams.
"Doing music is very expensive and at home there aren't many places to have your songs professionally done at affordable prices. If you don't know the music business you can get ripped off," he explains.
"I want to give upcoming artistes the chance to follow their dreams. This is something on my agenda when I retire."
However, this by no means signifies that Bravo is ready to retire from cricket–far from it. The father of two, who thrills fans with his celebratory dance moves on the pitch, assures that he will continue to play the game until he can no longer do so.
Bravo's professional career spans well over a decade. He says he has experienced both highs and lows but admits that being dropped from the West Indies' World Cup squad was especially difficult. Just weeks after being dropped, Bravo also called it quits from Test Cricket. He played his last Test match against Sri Lanka in 2010.
"I felt really hurt about being dropped. It wasn't a good feeling at all," he says.
But the Chennai Super Kings cricketer bats on. Reflecting on his journey, he says he has come a long way from his days as a youth at the Queen's Park Coaching Clinic.
"I remember my parents couldn't afford to send me to the clinic but coach Charles Guillen said he will take care of it. I'll always be thankful to him and Richard Smith for giving me a chance and encouraging me to excel," he says.
Bravo attributes his humility to his "humble beginnings" and close-knit family. "My family wasn't poor but we weren't rich. My dad did his best to make sure his kids had enough. Money hasn't changed me and it never will."
One other thing that hasn't changed is Bravo's love for partying and having a good time. Whenever he's in Trinidad you can expect to see him at popular nightclubs like 51 Degrees–but don't expect him to get too "turned up" or carried away, though.
Bravo is always the designated driver as he does not drink alcohol or smoke.
"I just never saw the sense in smoking or drinking. Whenever I party, I drink orange juice or coconut water. People never believe me but it's true," he says.