Just like his contemporaries Little John and Little Harry, Billy Boyo was still in his teens when he emerged in the early eighties. At that time a new era in Jamaican music had begun as roots reggae had become dancehall. Then one of the most prolific and influential producers in dancehall music was the late Henry "Junjo" Lawes. He more or less launched dancehall as a fully developed musical style and records on his "Arrival" and "Volcano" labels dominated the dancehall market for years.
Photo & parts of the text courtesy of Silver Kamel.
With the powerful Roots Radics Band and the innovative young engineer Hopeton "Overton" Brown aka Scientist working on the majority of his releases, "Junjo" Lawes began voicing a dazzling array of talent including Michael Prophet, Barry Brown, Frankie Paul, Wailing Souls and Johnny Osbourne. Quick to spot new talent he also employed rather unknown names like for example a young boy who called himself Billy Boyo. In 1982 "Junjo" Lawes recorded this talented youthman deejay together with Little Harry for a two artist "clash" album entitled "DJ Clash Volume 2", released by Greensleeves Records. Billy Boyo also became part of Junjo's famous Volcano sound system and performed alongside Burro Banton, Little John, Toyan, Josey Wales, Lee Van Cleef, Yellowman and others.
In 1983 Billy Boyo (together with Little John and Ranking Toyan) went to London where he linked up with producer Silver Kamel. The latter took him into the studio and recorded tracks for Boyo's second album. Due to various reasons the project got put on hold and it took almost twenty years before the album, "Zim Zim", was unleashed. Silver Kamel recalls... "What I liked most about Billy Boyo was his easy style and infectious ear-to-ear grin that would break out just about anytime. In the studio he was all-pro. He knew how to work the mike, what he wanted as a sound, and was prepared to experiment. Ridin riddim and stabbin toasts at the drum and bass... all the sessions were fast and fun-packed."
All in all Billy Boyo wasn't a prolific recording artist as he did not record much before or after the tracks for the aforementioned two albums. His musical career was short-lived and little was heard of Billy Boyo since the second half of the eighties. Although many rumors state that he had been shot, he actually died of a brain tumour in 2000.