by Donna Sealy
Pic-O-De-Crop fans will be seeing red this year but not in the way they had hoped.
Reigning Monarch Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire told Barbados TODAY that he had decided to step out of this competition but will remain in the Sweet Soca where he is one of the 16 semifinalists.
“I made the decision not to defend the calypso monarch title, this is not to say that maybe some years down the road I wouldn’t consider coming back into the competition. I want to say thanks to all the people who have supported me over the years in the competition. I received a lot of love from the people of Barbados over the years and for that I’m very thankful and I hope that I can continue to produce music and make them happy,” he said.
“But there comes a time when you need to make certain decisions and this is a time after giving it some long, hard thought, I decided the best thing for me to do at this time was to move away from the Pic-O-De Crop competition.
“I take this opportunity to wish my colleagues all the very best and I’m sure that, based on what I’ve been hearing people speaking of coming out of the tents, we’re going to have a wonderful competition this year, it is going to be competitive. I hope that some of the younger people would come to the fore and that the competition is going to be great,” the ten time monarch said.
Noting that the Pic-O-De Crop competition “puts you in … a box” given people’s expectations in relation to songs, he said that it was there and “who wants to stay in the competition or go in the competition can do so”.
He added: “It has served me well over the years and I gave some 30 years of my life around the calypso monarch competition and I really honestly and truly believe that based on what I’m feeling this decision is made purely on what I feel in terms of what I want to do.
“I don’t see it happening any time soon but I won’t go so far as to say I would never come back in the competition. I wouldn’t say never but based on what I’m feeling I don’t see myself as being part of the competition in the near future.
“I am just as excited about Crop-Over as I’ve ever been. I’m just as excited about seeing Crop-Over develop as I’ve ever been and to become what I know it can be and I will continue to make my contribution. There will always be changes, there will always be things that are not going to happen the way you want them to happen but this is a festival we need to continue to build on . . ..” he said.
RPB said he will be releasing material for 2013 but not the social commentary that he wrote but has not recorded.
“I’m not saying I won’t do social commentary but … I don’t want to be caught up at this point of my career.
“Without a doubt I’m still very much a part of De Big Show. I’m excited about the prospects for this year. We had a great opening night and I enjoyed that and I’m proud of being part of that, De Big Show will be there we’re still going to be performing … .
As for the future RPB noted that the Pic-O-De Crop competition did not lend to what he wanted to do musically.
“I have always said that competition maybe great for Crop-Over or maybe great for carnivals but [it] is not necessarily great for the music. Music has to be free. You should just make music and enjoy music, … based on the way you’re feeling or if you want to make a comment, you make your music, you put your music out… ,” he stated.
It was in 2011 that RPB did not enter the Pic-O-De Crop and won the Sweet Soca Monarch competition, with Once Upon A Wine and he said this aspect of the festival, was “an area that we need to clearly” support more.
“I think it is the sweet soca, the groovy songs that are extremely marketable and people respond to all over the world and maybe that an area that we should turn a lot more focus on. I’ve decided to stay in that competition because I want to make my contribution there because that factors into what I want to do with my music at this point.
“Whereas if you’re making music for the world to enjoy and love, you can’t be thinking in a small way. I’m not saying that we were told to create music for competition, but what is expected and what has obtained for all these years tends to force us to think down a certain road and if you’re going to be looking at development of music and if you’re going to be looking at moving forward we need to just make good music that is palatable to the world,” said the calypsonian.