Last night Edwin Yearwood and Marzville received major accolades for their contributions to the development of the region’s soca scene at the 15th Annual International Soca Awards, which was held at Bay Gardens, Castries, St Lucia.
Boasting of more than 30 years in the business, Yearwood, affectionately known here as The General, received the Lifetime Achieve Award.
The gifted artiste who made his debut in the Richard Stoute Teen Talent Competition in 1983 at the age of 14, later went on to lead Krosfyah, which was formerly known as Higher Level.
Speaking to Bajan Vibes about his most recent achievement, The General said he was grateful for the recognition at the Caribbean equivalent of the American Grammy Awards.
“To be given a Lifetime Achievement Award at this time is a very proud moment in my life. It makes you feel as though the hard work you put in over the years hasn’t gone unnoticed everywhere, and that there’s still that love and appreciation for the contribution I’ve made.
“I am grateful to the organizers of the awards ceremony. I must also thank all those who have supported me and krosfyah over the years,” he said.
Omar McQuilkin, known as Marzville, was recognized for his breakout year in music. He tied with popular Trinidadian artiste Kes for the Soca Song of the Year Award and the Groovy Soca Song of the Year Award.
With his 2017 sweet soca hit Give It To You still creating waves internationally, Marzville has come a long way from his Junior Monarch debut in 2000. He told Bajan Vibes he was surprised by his latest win.
“I didn’t go thinking I would win anything. [However], the growth has been rapid. I never expected for it to happen so quick but the people like what they like. Countries that I figure wouldn’t know my music, know my music; countries that I have never heard about know my music; and now I’m being compared next to people like Kes, Machel, Skinny Fabulous – those type of people I actually look up to and share the stage with them,” he said, adding that he had found his home in the groovy soca and bashment soca genre after years of experimenting and trial and error.
“I started off in R&B, I tried pop music, I tried reggae and I came back into the bashment soca and back into ragga soca. Now I have found myself, I know what I have to do,” he told Bajan Vibes.
As for The General, he has not released any new music for Crop Over 2018.
It’s the first time since 1992 that the festival and fans will not benefit from his musical genius.
The lead singer with the band Krosfyah has decided to take a break, at least from releasing music.
“I did record music I just didn’t release it. I just decided I might need to take a break as I’ve recorded every year since 1992. So it is only natural to want to take a break after 26 years. I just felt the need to refresh,” he told Bajan Vibes.
However, the soca General is as busy as ever. He continues to travel extensively, flying the Bajan flag high and representing his chosen musical genre all over the world.
The love and appreciation for his music overseas remains overwhelming. Apart from receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award in St Lucia on Tuesday night, he was also honoured by the City of Atlanta on Saturday, May 26.
The entertainer was given a Certificate of Commendation from United States Senator Johnny Isakson of Atlanta and a Proclamation from the Atlanta City Council. The Atlanta City Council document bears the signatures of the 16-member council.
“I was honoured by the City of Atlanta for my continued contribution to the art forms that impact the people of Atlanta. I also received a Commendation Award from the Senator of Atlanta. This award is similar and on the same scale as when Krosfyah received the keys of the city of Boston years ago.”
It was 1996 that Krosfyah created history becoming the first Bajan soca band to receive the keys to Boston. To this day they remain the only local act to do so.
Not only is he being showered with major awards, Edwin has also secured some bookings for next year. But the break in releasing music has not affected his ability to rock fetes this Crop Over season.
“Taking the break didn’t exactly affect my Crop Over. I’ve continued to travel as usual, thank God. I’ve had bookings for the festival. I actually have bookings for January 2019 in England. Negotiations and bookings are always ongoing for sure.”
In the meantime he will enjoy as much of the Crop Over festival as his touring allows.
“Crop Over 2018 so far has been great. I’ve enjoyed the festival and the vibe. I’ll be at Soca on de Hill. I’ve already done a few others and they’re a few more to go.
On Saturday, while on stage at the Soca Legends, Edwin said he would like to hear more creativity in the writing of songs released by artistes.
“I’ve not been really listening to the radio specifically for 2018 music. What I said before about lyrics was a general statement. I’ve grown up on Sparrow, RPB and the likes of Gabby taking suggestive lyrics and turning them into great fun loving suggestive songs that were well written. I call it poetry and there’s room for that to return in our writing,” he said.
The five-time Party Monarch and six-time Road March king returned to the Pic-O-De-Crop stage last year after a 20 year break from that competition. He placed second.
Will we see the soca General in action next year and will he release new music?
“Time will tell when I’m back, but I’ll be back,” he said with a smile.