A total of ten first-timers have secured places in this year’s Sweet Soca and Party Monarch semifinals announced by the National Cultural Foundation last weekend.
Among them, Mr Veejay who will be performing ‘Twin Brother’ during next week’s Party Monarch semifinal.
He told Bajan Vibes that initially he was not planning to enter the competition as he was unsure if his Indian-Barbadian fusion would make it past the preliminary judging stage.
“I was not going to enter because I thought that my song was a bit different and I was not sure if I would have gotten through, [but] I just followed my mind and said, ‘I am going to enter’.
“It is something different, it is not just a plain soca song, actually it is a mixture of Indian culture into the soca music, which is called Chutney music, and that is the reason why I entered,” he said, while urging patrons to next week’s Phenomenal Friday event to prepare for the spectacle that he will be delivering on stage during the Party Monarch competition.
“Look out for some unexpected stuff. You know it is going to be very unique,” he said.
Also competing for the first time in Party Monarch is Kas Katee, who is singing ‘Issa Vybe’. He told Bajan Vibes he decided to enter to contest to show the public that the younger generation was capable of carrying forward the music industry.
“A part of that is achieving titles and crowns,” he said, adding that “all the big names had to do it, from Machel Montano to Edwin, Lil Rick and Peter Ram.
“Everyone had to go through this process to show their capabilities [and] I decided that I would walk that same path,” he said.
Asked about nervousness, Kas Katee said that performing as lead singer in a local musical band over the past three years had boosted his stage confidence.
“The only stage that I have not performed on is the Soca Royale stage. I have performed on everything else – the reggae festivals and all of the big stages,” he said.
However, another first time semifinalist, Chrissy D, said she was still shocked about her inclusion in the Party Monarch semis.
“Honestly, it has not sunk in yet. I feel like Friday [during the actual competition] is probably when it will sink in, but for right now I feel like it is not happening,” she said.
However, the artiste who will be performing ‘Rum and Bass’ said that she intended to give of her best.
Also joining her on the big Party Monarch stage will be the little-known Ashawyna who will be singing Mess. She told Bajan Vibes she decided to enter the competition as it was a direction she always wanted to take to further her musical career.
“A party song is something that I had always wanted to do, so I decided that I would take a shot at it this year,” said the high-energy performer who is hoping to go all the way to the finals to compete against defending monarch Lil Rick.
Also hoping to make it all the way is Ray Dainja, who is performing ‘We Festival’. He said that after a fail attempt at sweet soca, he decided to try his hand at party.
“I have never done a Party Monarch song before. I have tried for [the] Sweet Soca [competition] before, but this year is my first year trying to attack 160 BPMs and it was successful I guess, as it got me to the semifinals,” he said.
Another virtual unknown, B Moore Specific, will be bringing up the rear in next week’s Party Monarch semis, singing ‘Outta Road’.
For him, performing last is a blessing not a curse.
“I believe that there is a possibility it could work to my advantage as it gives me an opportunity to see what everyone else is bringing to the table and then I can feed off their energy, he said. (LG)