It was so nice she had to do it twice!
It has been a whirlwind of a year for 12-year-old Yahandje Daniel, having won the Richard Stoute junior competition, the Richard Stoute senior competition and placing fifth in the Junior Calypso Monarch during Crop Over earlier this year.
For Yahandje, it’s all a dream come true but she is taking it all in stride. “The feeling is slowly sinking in but I just remaining humble. But it feels really good if I’m being honest,” the shy Alleyne student said.
She told Bajan Vibes she is glad because she never thought she would win one competition, let alone both. She just went in looking to do her best.
“I never thought I would have won, I just wanted to do my best. I wasn’t going to enter the senior competition but when I won the juniors, I had enough points and I was eligible to enter,” she explained.
Yahandje, who started singing at eight years old, said the journey so far has been nothing but amazing. “I would say the journey was magnificent. If I didn’t enter, I wouldn’t have met a lot of the people I did and it taught me a lot of things like being punctual. So I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything,” she said.
Yahandje explained that joining the competition was a last minute decision, but she is glad she got the opportunity to do it.
“My mom saw an ad in the paper and she asked me if I wanted to sing and I told her ‘of course’. She told me about it a Wednesday and I went to practise the thursday.
“Practice was a bit nerve wracking because I knew no one there but it went smooth after that. I got my songs and I just kept going. I had practice every Thursday and Saturday, but it was great,” she added.
She noted that she made it her business to help choose her songs so she would be most comfortable. “For the most part, I chose my own songs. At the juniors, I sang Water Under The Bridge and Don’t You Remember. At the senior finals, I sang When We Were Young and Don’t You Remember. There are some favorite songs of mine, but I took my time and chose the perfect ones,” she explained.
As for Junior Monarch, Yahandje said that is her first love and she thoroughly enjoyed this year’s competition. Fans can definitely expect to see her on stage next year and beyond.
“Junior Monarch was a great experience for me. I felt good knowing that for my first year, I did so well because some people don’t usually make it out the semis.
“I prefer calypso now. In the past, I never liked moving around on stage and dancing but now it just comes naturally and sometimes I don’t even know I am,’ she explained, adding that she gets her inspiration from calypsonians Chrystal Cummins-Beckles and Ian Webster.
Although she cannot enter the Richard Stoute competition next year, she said, “I will still be a part of the Richard Stoute helping in anyway I can.”