Donald Waugh

Jamaican multi-instrumentalist on the art of playing bass and piano at the same time

Exclusive video interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
By David Sands

February 17, 2020

Multi-instrumentalist Donald Waugh is one of those musicians with so much going on, you secretly wonder if there aren’t two of him out there. He most definitely slaps bass and he also sings and plays drums, guitar, banjo, ukulele and piano. Beyond that skillset, Waugh also teaches and runs his own production company, Airplai, which takes on album production, song and jingle writing, composing and arranging, video editing and film scoring.

A native of Jamaica, he fell in love with the low end at the age of 17—after discovering his brother-in-law’s bass guitar—and never looked back. While studying bass, jazz theory and visual arts at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, he set his sights on a music career. He began to play with the Javier Latin Jazz Band, the Jill Gibson Trio and the Kathy Brown Band, which allowed him to tour all over Jamaica. As a college senior, he started his own group Airplai. Later he joined the Jolly Boys, a Jamaica folk music outfit founded in 1945, and with them toured all around Europe, the Caribbean and the Middle East. Around that time, he collaborated with songwriter Jim Belleau and the singer, songwriter and musician Maroghini on an album called Quantum Reggae. Waugh has also released several solo albums, most recently 2018’s Early Days.

FBPO’s Jon Liebman got a chance to catch up with Waugh during this year’s Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California. During their conversation, they discussed his most recent album, touring with Purple Haze and his unique bass-piano solo shows.

Watch our interview with Donald!


See Jon’s blog, with key takeaways from this interview, here.

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