i am impatiently waiting for it to appear in my inbox so i could make my lil riddiMIX…
on that note i am pleased to see one of the minds behind the Cosmic Riddim get a lil write up in the papers… go Jarrod… no not the Subway dude… this is the man behind JRod Records… yeah the 2nd Chances, Life Lessons and the BarCode Riddims… i glad he say it and that it in print… i eh no producer so my rants are usually limited to the 50 folk who subscribe to this blog… thanks to you all… here is what J-Rod had to say…
“If you look on the Internet right now, you will see soca listed under world music. That has to change. We need to see soca standing on its own.” Touching on the current rift in the local industry with some artistes complaining of unfair airplay, Faria says “there is no real proof” that a “soca mafia” exists. “It’s such a saturated market that it really just boils down to the work you put in and the relationships you build,” he reasoned. And in an industry where an artiste can be “in today and out tomorrow,” the QRC graduate believes that it’s also necessary for aspiring soca stars to take advantage of all avenues available in this technological era. “When you look at it, all the big acts have a Facebook and Twitter page. New artistes need to put in the ground-work and market themselves,” he advised. “It’s a very competitive industry and I don’t think anybody can deny that.”
Jarrod’s taking soca to the world One beat at a time
Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012
some say that it is Cosmic Shi
ft… like you eh listen to Garlin intro… i do say islandPOOP at times… only coz i doh like the genre separation… music is music… strength and powers to you and all associated bredren…
From fete to fete, artistes like Machel Montano, Iwer George, Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons, Kees Dieffenthaller, Rodney “Benjai” Le Blanc, Destra Garcia and Dexter Stewart (Blaxx) pleased partygoers. For C2k12, they are set to ignite passions with the infectious music known as soca. As the countdown to Carnivalesque celebrations intensifies, other artistes have thrown their hats in the rings. They, too, can lay claim to producing sweet soca songs and thought-provoking calypsoes. However, there is a major setback—the lack of airplay. Wringing their hands in frustration, artistes have complained vehemently that they are not getting airplay. Even if they do, airplay is inadequate.
For C2K12, the situation is even more grave. Popular artistes like Denise Belfon have registered their angst at disc jockeys. In a Guardian interview (January 12) Belfon said: “What happen? Is only Machel Montano it has as an artiste in Trinidad? I am not taking anything away from him. He had done a whole heap of music for the season. But there are other artistes and the songs that can be played between his whole repertoire that they want to push.” While die-hard fans lament the lack of airplay for their beloved soca sons and daughters, artistes have to count their financial losses, too. They have to deal with the loss of dollars and cents on their soca product and battle the buffeting winds of a global economic downturn.
Among those who shed insight into the grave situation affecting artistes was ace arranger Leston Paul. He has been riding a crest of popularity based on “Archbishop of Pan.” It is a collaborative effort between pannist Len “Boogsie” Sharpe and composer Gregory Ballantyne. It has been vocalised by the Lydian Singers. Paul spoke with a great deal of authority since he is inside the core of the industry and has produced mega hits like the late Arrow’s Hot! Hot! Hot! Interviewed on Thursday, Paul said: “The lack of airplay had been a major problem for years.” He was impressed at the proliferation of artistes who had sought the nearest studio.
Paul added: “This year, more artistes recorded. A lot of them got inspiration from last year. The young fellas are recording helter skelter. They are hoping to bombard the airwaves with products just for Carnival.” Paul painted a sobering picture of the reality of demand and supply. He said: “Now the scenario is really and truly, T&T is too small to accommodate a barrage of artistes. There are too many artistes for disc jockeys to play for a two-month period. It is automatic good artistes will fall by the wayside and beautiful tunes will not be heard and enjoyed.”
He felt the problem could be addressed with proper planning and a prolonged playing time that precursed the Carnival season. Paul said: “You cannot expect to have all these CDs and artistes to be played in a two-month period unless they make it mandatory for it to be played.” At the same time, Paul said they are vying for top honours in the coveted competitions like the Soca Monarch, Dimanche Gras and Road March titles. He said: “While the focus is on these competitions, they are not looking at the holistic survival of the industry. They are using the music industry as a springboard to be heard and to promote and advertise themselves.”
$$ to record
Zeroing on the dollars and cents, Paul said: “A novice might spend about $5,000 to $6,000 to record a song. It depends upon who is producing it and what company they are going to. They might gravitate to a reputable producer: ie, one who has produced hits for the last five years or so. No matter if they are new or established, artistes still pay their monies for the works they are producing. Even if they are an established artiste and their career is at the lowest ebb they would still have to pay. “It does not matter if they are in the mix like Kees or Machel. They get a quotation, but it would be a lot more than $6,000.” Paul noted artistes were “taking a gamble” each time they recorded a song. He said: “It’s either you make something or do something and if nothing happens that is the reality for the season. It is back to the drawing board for another year.”
There is the need to create a year-long listening audience. Paul added: “If soca music was playing right through the year and people could make it more sustainable, it would benefit the artistes. The majority of people who are recording would not lose out. They might be assimilated in other ways like videos, jingles, lectures and fetes.” But the grim reality is only a few are getting airplay. “The rotation is airplay only for a few.”
He posed a burning question: “What about the ones who got played last year? What about those who will only get played this year? The lack of airplay only becomes news when a popular person’s career is at an ebb or an all time low. The problem of lack of adequate never exists even when they have a hit.” Paul said it was important for the relevant stakeholders to understand the entertainment industry was “bigger than the individual”. He said: “You have to look at in a holistic manner. If the industry was more unified everybody would gain from it. If you are looking at the business when Carnival time comes again, the majority of people would be crying. It’s only a few people that are benefiting.”
Paul appealed for solidarity and unity among artistes. He said: “Hundreds of CDs come out. A lot of people record stuff and the situation would get worse, if the artistes don’t get together as a unified body.” Comparing artistes to masmen and promoters, Paul said: “The average artiste just makes crumbs compared to other people in the industry. The guy who is singing in the tent just makes crumbs compared to the money other people make. That is the reality of the situation. It is left to the artistes to change it.”
Soca artform must be sustainable
Chairman of Caribbean Prestige Foundation (CPF) William Munro says he had approached radio manager Brian Haynes to ensure a couple of hours per day were allotted to playing the beautiful soca music. Munro said: “I feel the hurt for the young people. The office has pointed out to me the lovely tunes which are not getting airplay. Everybody wants a number one. They want all the hits but they are not giving the younger artistes a chance to be heard. It is easy to see why some of them get frustrated. You go into the studio and people are not hearing your work.” Munro spoke about a more sustainable intervention.
He said: “I am working on a document to make some recommendations in terms of agriculture, sports and entertainment.” Commenting on the judging structure of the Soca Monarch competition, Munro said: “You have to judge by the CDs. You can’t ask everybody to sing. Some of them are frustrated when they don’t make it to the semis.” Meanwhile, Munro vowed to do whatever was within his power to contribute to the development, maintenance and sustainability of the artform. Guardian Media Limited is the official media sponsor of the soca monarch competition.
Ajala hoping for airplay
Another artiste who chose to vent his frustration at not getting airplay for C2k12 was Keith Sutherland (Ajala). In his heyday, he ruled the roost with gems like Tidal Wave, Bring Down the Riddim, White Horse and Jump Up and Get On Bad. To date, he has recorded Hey Pray (a nation building song), Dutty Meh Up (J’Ouvert Jam), Horsey Remix and a pan song Return of the Marsicans (Tribute To the late Lord Kitchener). He said: “I feel the pain of people like Denise Belfon. So many good artistes are not hearing their work. What is happening? How long can it continue? Machel is saying he is going to release a song a week. I find the situation is ridiculous?”
Sutherland felt the authorities should get involved to prevent the situation from escalating into “something unpleasant” or heading for a downward spiral. He said: “Something has to be done. The stakeholders, the media all have to come on board. Why is it only the same artistes are on rotation?” Zeroing on the financial aspect, Sutherland said: “Recording costs have gone up from $9,000 to $12,000. You can’t be spending your hard-owned monies and not getting it back. “You can’t be dropping off your music to the radio stations and it is not being played.”
He felt T&T should take a page from the royal treatment meted out to Jamaican artistes. “T&T should do like Jamaica. It is 90 per cent reggae and ten per cent foreign. You hear a lot of dub. Soca/calypso needs help to grow internationally. The Latin markets are growing. But the soca music is just there. Even the Grenadians are supporting their artistes. You see posters. Other islands are booming it up. Just now the outside world would say T&T is killing the mecca.” Sutherland said: “T&T is the mecca. But it is ridiculous what they are doing to the industry. There are about 12 radio stations. So what is going on?”
He said the long term growth of the industry would be affected if it continues. He added: “The recording rate has increased by 300 per cent. People are tapping into their talents because of the recession. Some people can’t get an 8 am to 4 pm job, so they are picking up a guitar and making music.” He noted Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Peters had been doing a “great job,” but there was still more work to be done in the calypso arena. On a lighter note, he said people meet him and say, “What happen Ajala you stop singing? I respond: “Does a bird stop flying?”
Internet saves the day
Paul noted the Internet was saving the day for frustrated artistes who were not hearing their work on the radio. He urged them to avail themselves on that site. He said: “There is an emerging medium…Facebook and the social networking sites. A lot of artistes are using it to promote their stuff. A lot of people have computers and cell phones with the social media and they are playing songs they want to hear from their favourite artiste. They are searching for artistes they want to hear.” Paul said it should be used as a spinoff to get work out of the Carnival season.
“After Carnival everybody knows those same stations switch off to play urban popular music from the North. The avalanche of tunes are lost.” He appealed to the conglomerates and the business community to intervene and assist the artistes. Meanwhile, Sutherland has sensibly taken advantage of the Internet and launched his work there. “It was launched on 500 radio stations worldwide. DJs and programme directors have access to it.”
the comments on the Guardian website tell various stories…
The majority of these songs are geared towards the Carnival season so why should they be played throughout the year? Carnival is not the time for an interesting thought provoking song. Soca is not the only genre of local music. Machel may be many things, but he doesn’t have international recognition outside of his genre eg. Barbados’ Rihanna and the handful of Jamaican artistes.
Machel Montano is killing Soca as much as he is helping it. We have now built an industry around 1 person. Beyond the shores of the specific Caribbean islands that play Soca and a diaspora in a few metropolitan cities Soca is virtually unknown and not taken seriously.
Worst yet is the fact that Trinidad Soca performers seem to want to run before they can walk. All of them seem to be hussling based upon their current hit fame, charging silly prices and making unreasonable demands for Limos, Grey goose and massive traveling entourages when they should be focusing on building their careers and getting exposure. As a result, only the non-Trini names have really made it into mainstream and usually for 1 or 2 songs. e.g. Kevin Little, Rupee, Alison Hinds. All of the others including Machel Montano still talk of going mainstream as if it is illusive Vision 2020.
Sadly enough, people who make money in Trinidad in general seem to be extremely narrow minded, usually contented with their small empires usually spanning the Caribbean and that’s it. This mentality is quite prevalant in the Entertainment and Music industry. I don’t see this changing anytime soon. So until then, Soca performers will continue to starve or be happy with thousands and not millions both money and fans, and we will only be wowed at Carnival time with a handful of large shows and call it a Soca music industry.
Its sad that it has come to this I agree that in order for this to change it must be made mandatory.
Its a real spring board and those with the high jump in terms of more money to spend win…once I contacted a station they said 9000 per month for air play think about it that’s 1500 us per month for air play think how many blasted struggling artiste can pay it, after the heavy cost of production.
I have seen first hand how stations refuse to play your songs, one program director told me a week of air play once a day was enough free play for that song lol
These people have made a new meaning to the word Payola it now called compulsory to make it lol….Oh well its up to the youths to come and change that
and the crowning glory
Do like Iwer, start your own station
- Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann opt out of SOCA Monarch (bandwagonist.wordpress.com)
- Machel & Kes on PRES Honour Roll (bandwagonist.wordpress.com)
- Machel Montano Nominated for Soul Train Award 2011 (bandwagonist.wordpress.com)
- Before They Were Stars with Macka Diamond (naisentertainment.wordpress.com)
- RedBull riddiMIX (bandwagonist.wordpress.com)
- Super Red 20 (bandwagonist.wordpress.com)
JUNGLE, ACE , AND SIR SKARZ….
LABEL: BRAVA ENTERTAINMENT
A SLAUGHTER ARTS STUDIOS PRODUCTION
A KINGDOMHOUSE CONCEPTS VIDEO
its not always about drinkin…
The Soul Train Music Awards for 2011, have nominated Machel Montano for the prestigious award for the category of Best Caribbean Performance with his hit single, “Bend Over”. One of Montano’s more popular songs for 2011, “Bend Over” has left an indelible mark on many fans and concertgoers due to the catchy rhythms, lyrics and most of all, their spectacular performance. At every show, all are left with their jaws open as Machel Montano and his dancer Brithany Dookie performs to this song. Everyone stops and stares, literally. In this category, along side Machel Montano, the other nominees are:
All nominees are top performing artists and worthy contenders in the Best Caribbean Performance category. Machel commented on his nomination, “ both myself and Team HD feel honored and delighted that “Bend Over” has been nominated as we know how much energy that is pumped into each time we perform, always keeping it fresh for each show and always keeping the audience mesmerized.” The Soul Train Music Awards honors the best in Black music and entertainment and the voting committee comprises of active professionals from the arena of radio programming, music retail and management and recording artists with records that have charted in designated music trade publications in the year prior to proceedings.
For interviews, photos, music and press kit contact manager, James Walton at email@example.com or (818)517-5958.
Story by – Rachel Hitlal
interesting to me is that Machel and Movado don’t have any official music videos of their songs!
- Machel in the LIVE Lounge (bandwagonist.wordpress.com)
- 2011 Soul Train Awards Nominees Unveiled; Kanye West, Chris Brown & Beyonce Lead The Way (hiphopwired.com)
- Chris Brown, Beyonce Lead Soul Train Award Nods (mtv.com)
- MadMen Productions are Creating Musical History with Island Pop (bandwagonist.wordpress.com)
- UPDATED: Soca Monarch Results – Trinidad’s Power & Groovy Champions for Carnival 2011 (carolinetaylor.info)
- Fantastic Friday in Trinidad: the Soca Monarch Special (carolinetaylor.info)
Island Pop has been the hot buzzword circulating on the tongues of who’s who on the TnT music scene for the past few months.
However, unknown to many listeners they have been happily grooving to this brand new genre of local music since Carnival 2011. The Electro Lights Riddim, created by our very own MadMen was the true start of this evolutionary upgrade in Soca music.
But then what exactly is Island Pop, and how did this irresistible vibe come about?
“Well Island Pop is really the fusion of our music, culture, style with popular music and/or dance music. The island part could be just the artiste’s voice with our unique accent on a pop track, but for us, it is mainly when we fuse the drums, bass, the kick, the percussion, our way of doing that with pop, house, and dance music, to make this new sound that is still very us but musically available and enticing to the world market, “ explains Johann ‘MadMan’ Seaton.
The seeds of Island Pop were actually planted last year while Kees Dieffenthaller of KesTheBand was in MadMen’s studio putting together the band’s newest album Stereotype. Kees and Johann worked with a lot of Pop music and the process inspired the MadMen to try something new and never done before for the Carnival season.
After much back and forth among the MadMen team, the Electro Lights Riddim was born. They knew the sound was unique as well as very catchy, but worried that it may have been rejected by the notoriously critical TnT Soca crowd. For the riddim to be embraced, it required local professionals who could share the team’s vision of bringing our music to international standards, but who were still so authentically ‘Trini’ that the audience would at least give it a chance.
Calling Kees was a no-brainer, but seeking out Machel Montano was a little more risky. However, when Machel heard the riddim and spoke to Johann, he quickly realized that this was truly the way forward if Soca music was to ever permanently hold its own well-earned place in the ears of the world music audience. Both artistes felt the future as they listened to what the MadMen had produced.
The phenomenal popularity of the riddim for Carnival 2011 and beyond speaks volumes.
Johann excitedly proclaimed, “It has been Fantastic! Both Kees and Machel are on tour right now and all over the U.S. and in the UK, people are responding very enthusiastically to ‘Where Yuh From’ and ‘AOA’…which tells us we are on the right track to take this as we always say To The World!”
Having now found the formula to truly and lastingly place Soca music on the international stage, the MadMen are fervently working to step up their musical game even more. “We know Trinis, we cannot come with the same thing next year, I mean Trinis will push you to be the best possible, if you let them… they do not let you settle at all!” Johann continued, “So next year we want everyone to be prepared for…MadMen The Upgrade! New music, even more artistes, and always a higher quality of musical standard with each new song we put out.”
The MadMen openly revealed that it has taken six years of trial and error for them to get to the point where their musical diversity and intensity could create the sound that is Island Pop. Ever persistent though, the focus of the work was always on taking Soca out of a two month window of time for the year and building it into year round music that was wanted and appreciated not just by those who grew up with it, but also by people who have never heard of Soca before.
As with all new things there are critics to this progression of Soca, which is appreciated by the guys, as they see it as a way to keep themselves grounded while ensuring that they always keep a steadfast hold to their roots as they grow. Johann wanted one thing to be clear, ”To us, what we have here in TnT, our music is something that could stand up and excel next to the best the world has to offer. But, it is not enough to just keep doing the same type of festival songs year after year, music is about growth and challenging yourself to be and do more…”
With this in mind, the team wants its supporters to expect and listen out for favourite artistes of theirs like, Maximus Dan aka Mx Prime, Destra, and Umi Marcano, alongside Machel and Kees, on new MadMen produced Island Pop releases within the next few months. These will be the pioneering voices that carry this new genre beyond the Caribbean Music Diaspora to all of the melodic corners of the earth… A journey that the MadMen promise their fans, they will be able to follow all the way through.
Written by Mystie Thongs
- Machel in the LIVE Lounge (bandwagonist.wordpress.com)
- Machel Montano – Gyal Wuk (Marc Marfan) Roadmix (Soca) 2011 (jam2vibes.com)
- Machel Montano – Doh Fraid (DJ Yns Indiflo) (Soca) Remix 2011 (jam2vibes.com)
- Mohombi Feat. Machel Montano – The Power Of The _tail (Club-Dance) 2011 (jam2vibes.com)