Sammy Sammy Dello Odle is back in the Pic-O-De-Crop competition after a two-decade hiatus. People would remember him from his song She’s A Killer which he performed at Crop Over 1996.
This year, the singer-songwriter who has written Loyalty for Summa and Handle It for Mara Rose is vying for the Pic-O-De-Crop crown with his song Elected To Serve.
Speaking to Bajan Vibes, Sammy Dello said that after years of living overseas, he came back to the island because music kept “calling him.”
“I was living overseas for 18 years and I came back. I have always had the arts in my blood I guess and the energy from school days. But this year I was just driving, and the song ‘Elected to Serve’ came into my subconscious. I then reach out to Eleanor and asked, ‘What is happening this year?’ and she asked, ‘Sammy, are you back in the country’ and I said, ‘Yes’ and she said, ‘Come and do something.’ I said, ‘It is funny that you say that because I have this song in my head Elected To Serve. I sent her the song, she liked it and the rest is history,” he said.
Explaining the song, he said that he was heavily influenced by veteran calypsonians. Therefore, his content is lyrical while his melody is inspired by modern influences.
“My melodies and my rhythm and that sort of stuff [are] still very much, very youthful. But at the same time, the topic is fuelled by associations with the likes of Colin Spencer, Kid Site, Romeo, Gabby, John King [who are] consummate writers. So, I grew up in an era with them when I got into the finals in 1996. Therefore, I can write those hard-hitting social commentary lines because of my association with the founding fathers so to speak. And at the same time [I am] able to write rhythms, melody and grooves that [align] with the younger crop,” he said.
Sammy Dello said he did not decide to re-enter the competition this year because the stakes are higher with a prize of $100,000 or a Nissan X Trail; he entered the competition for his love of music.
“The stakes don’t matter to me. It could be $100,000, $10,000 or $1,000; the reality is for me the song came to my head. If it was two songs, I would still deliver it. If you are a creative person, you write music for the passion for the music. Whether there is prize money or not people will perform and give of their best but that is just me,” he said.
Sammy Dello added that calypsonians write songs for the love of the festival and not for the financial returns.
“I am sure that I can speak for many other entertainers and calypsonians because it is an expensive undertaking just to write a song and not even get to semi-finals or finals. So, a lot of people are just doing it for the love of Kaiso, the love of soca and the industry rather than the $100,00 that they are [waving] around. Only one, two or three people are winning any substantial prize money in the finals. Everybody else is going home having spent maybe $2,000 to record a song,” he said.