Chrystal Cummins-Beckles-Holder has been waving the Barbadian flag high in Montserrat for the past four years at the Regional Queen of Queens Calypso Monarch Competition.
With her exceptional vocal range and perfect stage presentation, Cummins-Beckles-Holder has continuously raised the bar on the Festival Village stage to be the three times monarch of the Queens of Queens.
However, her reign came to a stop last month when the newcomers dominated the stage. Karene Asche from Trinidad and Tobago scooped the crown and was declared winner of the competition while Fya Empress of St Vincent and the Grenadines was announced as the first runner up and Cummins-Beckles-Holder second runner up.
Although she failed to retain her crown, the veteran calypsonian is not bitter or saddened by the loss but rather is grateful that she was able to share the stage with other talented and outstanding female calypsonians.
“When I saw who was in the line up, it was not even about winning anymore. It was about just going and being a part of the competition with the Caribbean greatest females,” she told Bajan Vibes.
“The year before I wanted to get the three, I wanted to do the hat trick and I did that. Last year it was about going out there and representing my country to the best of my ability and placing in the top three and I did just that.”
Cummins-Beckles-Holder’ competitors also included Samantha “Sammie C” Cummings-Tahir of Antigua & Barbuda, Laura Lisa “Laura Lisa” Richardson of Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis’ Kimara Martin aka Lady Diva, Roxanne Roxxy Webster of Anguilla and Silvina Khandi Malone of Montserrat.
“I love the regional competition because I got to meet some fantastic women in the Caribbean,” said Cummins-Beckles- Holder. “I don’t even feel like if I lost. I feel like if I just did the competition and I won”.
With her family, management team of Akil Ifill and Paul Clarke of Trident 10 behind her, Cummins-Beckles-Holder once again delivered a commendable performance that stood out among the others.
”I know there is a standard that I set because the first year I did it, people had hardly any presentation or any props,” she indicated.
Taking last year’s loss in stride, Cummins-Beckles-Holder revealed that she will be back in Montserrat once again this year to compete and possible steal back her crown.
“I look forward to the regional competition not only because I get to share my talent with Montserrat and the rest of the Caribbean but I get to hear other styles of calypso because every Caribbean island, even though it is calypso, I find all of us sing differently,” she said.
In the meantime, the singer-songwriter is constructing songs for Anguilla and St Martin carnival, as well as Crop Over pieces for Pic o de Crop and the Junior Monarch Competition.
In light of her experiences in the Queens of Queen competition as the only regional monarch without winning a national title, Cummins-Beckles-Holder voiced that she would like to see more females stepping up to the plate in Barbados.
“Here in Barbados, we could do a lot more for the women in calypso . . . . We need to be recognized a lot more. When I step into Montserrat and when I step into Antigua, even when I did a show in St Vincent and the Grenadines . . . the kind of response that I got, I felt as if …you have done something great and you keep doing something good,” she said.
“I would like to see women in calypso just keep pushing on, pressing on, bringing good music. Don’t expect for a crown to be handed to you,” the stalwart musician added.