Known affectionately as 'Jougo', he has become a household name in the Virgin Islands due to his musical hits spanning more than two decades, business acumen and charitable work in the community. As the Chief Executive Officer and engineer of Homegrown Studios in Long Bush, Raul continues to coach up and coming musicians seeking to develop their musical career.
A few weeks ago, he was utterly surprised when the Virgin Gorda Festival Committee decided to name their annual Easter Festival the Raul “Jougo” Sprauve Easter Festiville 2022.
Raul told BVI Platinum News in an exclusive interview that he is “so excited” to have the festival named after him, which he described as “a very humbling experience”.
"It doesn’t feel real at the present time. I’m seeing the posters and getting congratulations, but until the village opens, that’s when it will really hit me. It’s so baffling, but at the same time, so exciting, it’s a very humbling experience,” Raul stated.
Raul's musical career commenced over 20 years ago in high school. He was an active member in numerous bands and did various "gigs', although it was not until 2014 that he embarked on his mission to pursue his love for music at Home Grown Studios.
When Raul stated that from a young age he was influenced by some of the great musical talents, which include local bands like Prime Time, Caribbean Ecstasy, System and LL Massive. Of the international influences, Raul recalled during the interview that his mother played Phil Collins at home during his early years.
From this experience, and exposure, he penned his first song entitled 'Africa' which was about emancipation and freedom from slavery. He has always been fully immersed in national cultural activities such as Festivals, Rise and Shine Tramps and he recalled never missing a Virgin Gorda Festival.
He has worked with many artists including Grammy award-winning Jamaican reggae artistes like Beenie Man, Beres Hammond and Charlie Wilson of the Gap Band. He has also collaborated with several BVI artistes and Bands such as Sistah Joyce, Pure Drive Squad and Pungee. He has performed internationally in Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and Milwaukee.
Jougo is the lead vocalist in the band, VIBE (Virgin Islands Based Entertainment) the reigning road march champions. Prior, he was an original member, vocalist and songwriter of The Showtime Band, where his influence reflected in the band's seven Road March titles.
When asked if the naming of the festival has inspired him to do more for his community and the people of the Virgin Islands in general, he responded with a resounding 'yes'. He promised that his fans can continue to expect his band, VIBE, to represent the people and culture of the Virgin Islands by producing original music that is universal.
“You can expect raw Virgin Islands music because we are not going to change the way we create our music. My band has been doing big things and putting our best foot forward when we are on the stage,” Raul said.
He added, "Although we appreciate other bands, we always strive to perform our own original songs even though sometimes we might do an occasional cover”.
Raul has also put his fans on alert for his performance at the Raul “Jougo” Sprauve Easter Festival this evening.
“It will be a great performance, with original music that people can relate to. I want to leave everything on the stage. I will have to crawl off the stage!” he stated.
Like his song, 'Good VIBE', Raul prefers to focus on the positives in spite of the criticisms mounted after the decision from the VG Festival Committee to name the village in his honour. He has not let any form of negativity deter him, placing his focus on the positive sentiments arising from the naming of the festival. He encouraged others to adopt a similar attitude.
Raul is a product of the Virgin Islands. He is the youngest of five children born to Darwin and Theolinda Sprauve. Contrary to popular belief, Raul confirmed that he was born in Virgin Gorda and has since relocated to Tortola at a young age.
"I have never missed a Virgin Gorda Festival in over 20 years, and I was born in a house in Virgin Gorda, so that is where I am from to be exact. I am 100% from Virgin Gorda, even though we are one BVI”. He added, “I will continue to do a lot for Virgin Gorda and for all of BVI,” Raul stated.
He grew up in Lower Estate and received his primary school education at the Seventh Day Adventist Primary School. He subsequently attended the BVI High School, now named the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS).
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and you have to accept that. At the end of the day, it is where you choose to place your focus whether it will be on the few that are against, or the majority that are supportive," Raul stated.
He added, "Some people don’t know what you do for the community because you might not be a person that brags or publicizes everything that you do for another person or for the community itself.”
Although he has persisted through the challenges of COVID-19, he laments that it has prevented him from giving back to the community in a capacity that he wants.
For example, the annual "How VIBE Stole Christmas", a Christmas event where 4,000 gifts distributed to the children of Tortola and Virgin Gorda, had to be cancelled. However, the husband and father of two remains a dedicated advocate for the youth.
He has previously served as a Big Brother in the Social Development Big Brother, Big Sister Program for many years and served as an assessor for the Youth Court, and continues to promote youth empowerment.