Former Richard Stoute Teen Talent Champion Faith “Imani” Hoyte has continued to create songs which can stand the test of time. The thirty-three-year-old soca artiste is no stranger to the Crop Over stage. She has recorded many songs which left a lasting impression such as 2014 Bacchanal Road, Fire Meh and her 2017 release Meh Heart. Bajan Vibes sat down with Imani to discuss who she is as an artiste and her 2018 Crop Over Release All Day Long which has received 11,506 views since it was uploaded to YouTube on May 28th, 2018.
Q: Who is Imani?
A: Faith “Imani” Hoyte is a music lover. Music has always been my saviour. I turned to music to drown out all the “noise” and that has given me strength. I’ve never looked back since. Music will always be my first choice. Imani is a reflection of living life through music, (even if it means you’re broke most of the time, lol)
Q: If you had to describe yourself in three words what would they be?
A. Strong, Bubbly, Adventurous
Q: What is one thing that the general public would not know about Imani?
A: I love to cook, I make an excellent chicken alfredo and I especially like to prepare vegetarian dishes.
Q: How did you become involved in music?
A: My journey started when I entered the Richard Stoute Teen Talent competition with my mum’s encouragement. I actually won it that year in 1997. After that I did ads, background work for singers like Machel, Destra, Biggie Irie and Rupee to name a few, and toured with Arturo Tappin. I came out as a solo artiste in 2013, with my big hit Bacchanal Road coming out in 2014 produced by the Red Boyz.
Q: What does Crop Over mean to you?
A: Everything. It’s our festival, a season I grew up anticipating all year round. [I would] see artistes I admired such as Edwin Yearwood [and I’d be] singing his songs word for word during Crop Over. It’s like Christmas to me, a season I get musically lost in every single year.
Q: Looking back, how was Crop Over 2017 for you?
A: Challenging. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue in the music industry due to so many obstacles I was facing. I had to reflect, figure out my next step but at the end of it all, once you love something you can’t give it up. Music has always been my dream and now I have a new team and a new outlook and I’m ready to hit the stage again.
Q: Are you excited for Crop Over 2018?
A: Absolutely!!! It’s been a long break, even before 2017. I’ve grown so much and learned a lot during that time and spent a great deal of time planning and putting together something that I believe people will love. It’s about making music that people will want to hear and can relate to. I miss seeing people sing my songs and being out there with them enjoying the music that other artists work so hard to produce.
Q: Tell Bajan Vibes about your song for 2018.
A: The name of the song is All Day long produced by Chris Allman, Alex Gooding, and Kit Israel and written by Bjorn Graham, Kit Israel and Chris Allman. It’s a happy song which would not have been possible without the support from the Barbados Cancer Society. Some of my favourite lyrics are “And if it so happen that ah sprain meh ankle that’s nothing because I’m jumping again.” That happened to me last year, so it was funny to see it in the actual lyrics. It speaks about the preparation for Crop Over from the first fete to Kadooment Day and how during that season we literally go “All Day Long”
Q: Will you be entering any soca competitions this year? Any new ones that Bajan Vibes should make a note of?
A: I will be but we haven’t decided which one as yet.
Q: What is one soca event that is the ‘go to’ for all socaholics this year?
A: That’s a tough one, there are so many good events to choose from. I plan to attend them all.
Q: Outside of being an entertainer, what does Imani do for fun?
A: I believe I’m a mermaid. I love the water. It calms and relaxes me. The beach is like my second home. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and having a good time.
Q: Are you inspired by any regional or international artiste? If so, who and why?
A: I love Biggie Irie, he’s like my big brother – talented and real. I have always looked up to Edwin Yearwood. His music is matchless and forever. I also like Destra and I’m a big fan of Rihanna obviously, she’s a Bajan. She works hard and is full of talent. She is relentless and unstoppable.
Q: How did Monique and Mechelle become your managers?
A: My father “Chris Allman” put that one together. He worked with them on previous projects and thought it would be a good pairing. We decided to re-brand, and it’s the best decision I ever made. [Those are] two incredible women.
Q: What is next for Imani?
A: I aspire to do great things. My focus is on not being a seasonal artist, I want to produce music all year round and travel with my own show. I’d love to create a fusion of soca that can be recognized internationally.
Q: Where can persons follow you on social media?
A: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all the same, under imani246.