At 18 years old, Barbadian hip-hop artist Rico Maserati already has a following.

You only have to see the reaction of local teens when they hear the first few beats of any one of his songs—particularly his first release and biggest hit, ‘Ten Toes Down’—to see how the young rapper is already building a fan base.

But if numbers are what you’re more concerned with, there’s the fact that even though he isn’t signed to any label, he has already garnered 15.3k followers on Instagram and his YouTube channel has almost 8 500 subscribers.

Rico started on his musical journey at the age of 17, choosing to follow his heart over going the academic route. And it’s safe to say, as he prepares to release his seventh single, that he has been enjoying the ride ever since.

M People Barbados: So, what’s your given name?

Rico Maserati: Rico Bourne.

MPB: Why the name Maserati?

RM: I’ve always liked the car and I thought the name was cool, so I named myself Young Maserati at first, then I changed it to Rico Maserati when I started buzzing.

MPB: What were you doing before you became a household name?

RM: I was working at The Tamarind Hotel as a houseman.

MPB: You chose a music career over obtaining your CXCs. Is that decision one you would recommend to someone pursuing his passion, and is it one that has worked in your favour?

RM: I believe if you are serious about the music business and willing to balance it with the school work, give it a try. I wouldn’t advise anyone to drop out.

MPB: Did you choose rap or did rap choose you?

RM: Rap chose me for sure. I was not looking to be an artiste, but I’ve always loved music. And I chose this genre because, to be honest, I like the vibe so I gravitate towards it.

MPB: Any plans to dabble in other genres?

RM: I just might, to show a bit of versatility, but not right now. Right now, rap is the main focus.

MPB: What’s the average day like for you?

RM: I go to the studio every day, so I’m always working. It if I’m not in the studio I’m out getting stuff together.

MPB: Do you write all of your songs and what do you use as inspiration?

RM: Yes, I write all of my songs. Past situations inspire me and being around good energies in the studio also inspires my writing.

MPB: Tell us the process, in a few words, from songwriting, to airwaves.

RM: First, get the beat, then I vibe on it for a minute (freestyle). Once I find a good melody, I put the words to it, I go and record it and get it mixed and mastered. Then I drop it on social media.

MPB: What’s the message in your songs?

RM: Each song has a different message. Take it in. Most of them are about relatable everyday situations.

MPB: Can you sense when your song is going to be a hit?

RM: Well, I aim for all my songs to be hits but it’s just the vibe that comes with the recording.

MPB: You’re a young artiste, fresh off the blocks. How do you plan to ensure your music remains relevant and keep interest levels high?

RM: I’d say that consistency is definitely key, and your relationship with your fans.

MPB: You’re aware of your fan base. Do you see yourself as a role model?

RM: I do have a nice fan base and yes, I would say I’m a role model to a lot of the younger kids. It is a lot of pressure and you have to be careful how you are seen in the public’s eyes, but I don’t mind.

MPB: What kind of influence do you hope to be in the lives of the young people who listen to your music?

RM: I hope to be a positive and inspiring person to younger kids coming up, not only in music. Remember, never give up.

MPB: Do your friends treat you like you’re a star or do they keep it real?

RM: My friends do treat me like a star and it’s nice to have that energy, knowing that someone believes in your dreams. It drives me even harder.

MPB: What about your parents and other family members, how are they reacting to your success so far?

RM: They are most definitely proud of me. When I left school I didn’t know what I was going to do. Now, I’m doing what I love, which is art, so they’re all cool about it.

MPB: What’s the strangest request you’ve had from a fan?

RM: One time, a lady was willing to pay me just to spend a day with her teenage daughter on her birthday. I mean, like, the whole day. That was pretty weird.

MPB: So, did you fulfil the request?

RM: No, of course not.

MPB: Any special someone?

RM: The only special person in my life now is my mother. I’m not really trying to get caught up right now.

MPB: Who’s been your greatest influence in your career, so far, in Barbados?

RM: I’d have to say Robyn (Rihanna). Just coming from the same place and watching her achievements—for example, getting a road named after her and her many other accomplishments – is inspiring.

MPB: What’s the most positive critique you’ve had of your music?

RM: A lot of people compliment my voice and say it’s unique. Others say I have an international sound.

MPB: Whose advice do you listen to more than anyone else’s?

RM: It depends on the situation but I do have a few friends I can depend on for good advice. One of the most important pieces of advice I’ve received is: “Never make moves when you’re in a mood.” In other words, you have to think before you act.

MPB: What kind of gigs are you asked to perform at?

RM: I’m asked to perform at parties, clubs, shows, cruises, teenage birthday parties and a few others.

MPB: What music sounds exciting to you right now?

RM: The Atlanta sound is growing on me. I like a few rappers, like Flow and Style, from there.

MPB: What’s up next for you musically?

RM: I just shot a video with Qwase Anderson for my new record, Murse—produced by Chris Rose, who is a local producer, and mixed and mastered by DBaseStudios. That video will be out soon.

MPB: Can you reach your full musical potential staying on these shores or do you need to explore the international market?

RM: I can’t [reach my full potential] as Barbados is pretty small and rap isn’t the number one genre here. So, I definitely need to go out and explore.

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