ABOUT VERSATILE EXCELL
Sekou Excell a.k.a. Versatile Excell was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. into a large Jamaican family with plenty talent. His mother, Patricia Pryce, was a reggae singer and his father, Donald Excell, was a writer and poet. Having to face reality early on, Versatile's father and uncle were both taken away from him at an early age to serve lengthy sentences in incarceration. Another uncle of his, Steve Excell, was also taken away from him when he was unjustly killed by police officers in Queens NY. This lead to him receiving some of his greatest influences from the strong women in his family. It also meant that himself and the young men in his family needed to teach themselves how to be men.
During his teenage years, Verse moved to Australia where he had plenty of downtime. He began writing songs, poems and scripts to relieve stress and keep himself out of trouble. These ideas were sparingly shared. Despite his present energy and confidence, Versatile was shy and humble when it came to his work early on. He had his focus on becoming a screenplay writer and an actor, but little did he know, that would soon change. The name "Versatile" stemmed from this period of his life. A young lady once asked him about his aspirations, to which he replied with all of the different aspects of entertaining he was interested in. She responded with 'versatile', and he felt this was just the word to describe himself.
Versatile returned to New York from Australia ready to network more. He decided to intern for VP Records, at the time home to legendary artists, such as, Capleton and the great Shabba Ranks. At this point, he still was entertaining the thought of pursuing music. In the beginning of 2008, he started jumping on beats and experimenting with freestyling. One of his defining moments was in April of 2008 when he was asked to perform with Princess Menen live at the Brooklyn Nightclub, Djumbala, for Sizzla's Earthstrong celebration. He was extremely nervous, unprepared and felt that it was way too soon. The crowd loved their performance and it was then that Versatile knew that he was meant to do music.
Since then, Versatile has gotten more comfortable performing in front of large crowds, opening up for then newcomer Serani at Temptations Nightclub, as well as opening for Foxy Brown in Newark, New Jersey. He went on to make his first video with Yung Joka and Princess Mennen on Timbaland's "Say Something" beat called "Smoke Something." He, then, joined his longtime friends in creating H.P.C.Ent (Hater Proof Certified). Under Hater Proof, he released his first mixtape, DivERSity hosted by Hot 97's DJ Cipha Sounds and comedian Haitian V in 2011. By this time, he had his own Producers including, Producer Yuki "Snow" Yano of Japan, Producer Charles Holt of Brazil, Tyshaon "Primacy" Wyatt, Duck Dodgers of New York and Vybz Kartel's Producer Tarik "Russian" Johnston of Jamaica (Head Concussion). All of these Producers helped Versatile create his later mixtape DiVERSity2: Growth. He likes to describe his work as "iPod shuffle music," a combination of Reggae, Hip Hop and R&B. Versatile has since performed in Europe, Australia, Jamaica and all throughout the United States.
Versatile's family of artists continue to be an inspiration to him both past and present. Along with his parents, his grandfather, the late Dudley "Grinjah" Excell, who was also a musician. He can be heard on the classic Mavado albums, Gangster for Life and Mr. Brooks (A Better Tomorrow), portraying Mavado's father. Versatile's siblings have also created lanes for themselves on their own artistic journeys. His brother, Gamal Excell, can be seen on the Tidal sponsored web series, Money and Violence as "The General". He is currently pursuing further roles and expanding his clothing designing ventures. Verse younger brother Jace "XL" of the Grammy nominated group, "Haitus Kaiyote", is also a musician. He recently teamed up with SilentJay to release the Sacrifice EP in January 2016. Jace is touring throughout Australia, Africa, Europe and Asia.
As for Verse, he is currently recording a project "Book of Verse", working on a new web-series and co-producing every chance he gets while still grinding to keep his head above water. "We gotta make it, whether it's one of us or all, we gotta just start grabbing them by the ears, 'cause talent is out there waiting to be heard. Progress is in session, money is to be made, people have to be met, Chess not Checkers..."
- Versatile Excell