Powerhouse singer/songwriter NeeNee Rushie fronts The Big Takeover, the roots reggae band that’s become a Hudson Valley institution.

Hello! Who are you? Tell us about yourself. What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing?

Hi! My name is NeeNee Rushie. I front The Big Takeover. The Big Takeover has been creating reggae-like, soul-type music for the past 12 years. We have released four full length albums, and will soon release a fifth. We have toured nationally and have been recognized as the Hudson Valley’s Best Band in 2018.

I am very passionate about the project overall — from writing, to recording, to touring, and everything in between. My favorite part is performing live. I love the feeling I get when I am allowed to channel all my passion into a microphone and hear and feel the passion of my bandmates.

How did you discover the Hudson Valley?

I went to college in New Paltz. I discovered New Paltz by chance, really. When I visited for the first time, something about the mountains in the background and the narrow main street that takes you through the bustling town, reminded me of the town I grew up in — Port Antonio, Jamaica.

NeeNee and The Big Takeover at Mountain Jam. Photo © Matthew Conde

Walk us through a typical day.

In addition to fronting The Big Takeover, I am also a public school teacher. I work in Poughkeepsie city. My typical day would include me balancing my two careers. I teach during the weekdays, and dedicate my weekends to touring with The Big Takeover. We usually tour regionally during the school year, and nationally during the summer months.


NeeNee and The Big Takeover. Photo © Arius Photography,

Where do you do your best creative work?

I feed very heavily off of my band mates. I rarely write independently, so I do my best creative work when I’m with Rob Kissner (the bassist, and primary music writer), or with more members of the band.

How has the Hudson Valley influenced or impacted your creative work?

The Hudson Valley is filled with quite unique, creative, and open-minded individuals. This has forced us a musical group to maintain a high standard with the music we publish and the stage shows we perform. We know that in the Hudson Valley, the audience that comes to see us play will have a sophisticated ear that is very familiar with a certain quality of music. So we try to impress with our recordings and performances. Our Hudson Valley musical colleagues publish and perform high-quality music as well, so they provide a proper bar for us to meet consistently. Being Hudson Valley-based has helped us to continue to refine our craft.

Anything you want to plug or promote?

The Big Takeover has recently released a single called Weight of the World [Spotify|Apple Music]. It is a song that we recorded remotely in response to the current quarantine and COVID situation. It is available on all streaming platforms. We also created a video remotely for this single.

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