by Donna Sealy
This year, soca artist Rameses Browne has a clear line to the Party Monarch finals.
Although he has been to the event before, it seemed to be a case of all circuits being busy in recent times as he found it hard to win the judges’ favour.
The member of Celebration Time tent told Barbados TODAY in an interview that he had not been planning to compete this year.
“To be honest with you, sometimes you feel you have the right song, you have a popular song and it gets a lot of air play and then you go out there and perform to the best and then the judges leave you out. Especially when I had Spellbound, it was number two and that night for judging I performed really well, I had dancers dressed to suit the song, like fairies and magic wands and I was really confident but them I didn’t get through.
“There were other years when not only me, but a lot of people, thought that I should have gone but I didn’t go but I never let it deter me because the song did really well overseas in Jamaica and New York,” he said.
He said despite not getting the judges’ favour in Barbados, Spellbound and Stamina were road march contenders in New York and Notting Hill and he toured with Machel Montano for a year as well as with krosfyah. Stamina also took him to the finals of the Soca Monarch competition in Trinidad.
“I find I do a lot better outside than in Barbados so I wasn’t focussing on the competition anymore. I was focussing on my music, pushing it to the world, not just for competition. Whereas the other artistes would focus on the competition I had stopped, in a way, caring about it and gearing towards it.
“This year I’ve been to Trinidad and recorded with Neil Bernard, who records for Machel Montano. He did Dead or Alive with Shurwayne Winchester and he does all of Destra’s [Garcia] music. I said I would try a different producer and see how it works. I did the song [Addicted] geared towards the world, not to be judged, but my tent manager Peter Boyce and Mr. Dale heard it and they were like ‘This is the hardest song’ we’ve heard for the Crop-Over’, and said it was a real Party Monarch song in terms of the criteria for judging.
“There are some songs that are not party songs but still get in, so I didn’t understand the competition any more or what the judges were looking for, so it was Peter Boyce, Dwayne Grazette because he manages Destra in Trinidad, and people in the music business that really know music were freaking out. They told me ‘We like we got more confidence in the song than you’ but after so many years and thinking you had a good chance of getting through and then you don’t make it then it becomes just another thing,” Browne said.
He added that when the tent faced the judges on July 4 he performed to the best of his ability and he made it.
He is now gearing up for Sunday’s performance and he did not want to give away any secrets but he knows exactly what he wants to do.
The morning the Pic-O-De-Crop semifinalists and Party Monarch finalists were announced, Browne recalled seeing a lot of “missed calls” and “started to get scared” and began wondering if something bad had happened because of the hour the people were calling.
Then he also saw several BB messages on his phone but it was after searching the radio stations and hearing a DJ play Addicted and say he was one of the Finalists that it sank it.
His inspiration to write the song came on a trip to Disney World with his daughter.
“Sometimes I’m sleeping and the song just comes to me and I record it. It is a gift from God. He controls everything so nothing doesn’t happen before it’s time and when it comes to music, whatever happens I don’t let it pull me down because at the end of the day it is God who gives me the talent to do these things so I make sure I use the talent.
“If I sing stuff and she catches on to it, I pay attention to it. I get inspiration from my kids, my daughter Znia and my son Christian because I find that if sing something and I hear them singing it I know that I should work on it. I was just doing the Oh, Oh, Oh part and I had the verses different but when I went to Trinidad to record Bernard said [to switch it around],” Browne explained.
His plans include collaborations with Destra which he would be doing this for Carnival but he is focussed on getting through the Party Monarch Finals first. [email protected]