Contrary to popular belief, J’anne Lizzie Jay Greenidge is no stranger to the calypso stage. However, this year she puts aside her trumpet to stand center stage with a lone microphone in the MQI/98.1 The One Soca Monarch semifinals.
The 27-year-old debuted her Sweet
Soca single, Infeteuated, this Crop Over season and lady luck was on her side. The multi-talented singer, composer and producer made it to the semifinals on her first try.
However, Lizzie Jay is a seasoned musician. She was the bandleader for the Super Gladiators Tent for four years, a position that was handed to her by the late Peter Roy Byer, one of her biggest supporters. She is also a trumpeter who specializes in pop and classical trumpet and a former Richard Stoute Teen Talent competitor.
Speaking to Bajan Vibes, Lizzie Jay confessed she was a “born musician”. She started playing the clarinet when she was seven and the trumpet at the age of 13. From the age of 14, she was playing in the Party Monarch band during competition. She started vocal training from an early age in the St Leonard’s Church and went on to complete her Associate Degree in Music at the Barbados Community College.
Lizzie Jay revealed that because of Roy Byer’s encouragement and motivation she decided to stand on stage as a vocalist and not as an instrumentalist.
“He gave me exposure that nobody else gave me and he also used to motivate me and tell me ‘if you could play the trumpet and you have such a good ear and speaking voice, you probably could sing as well. Just put down the trumpet and pick up the microphone and give it a try’ and here I am trying it,” Lizzie Jay said.
For the past five years, she has toyed with the idea of entering the Crop Over Festival. At first, she wanted to compete in the Pic-O-De-Crop Competition and even went as far as to compose a song about bullying in schools but never released it.
The ease with which the pen glided across the paper and the melody came to her mind made Lizzie Jay think maybe she had a talent that she needed to explore.
“I said if I can pen this easily and the melody is already coming and I can hear the band playing and the arrangement, that means I have a vast component of my creative repertoire that I can do full arrangements, so why not try it,” she shared.
Don’t expect that because she is a newcomer that she is going to be a bundle of nerves on stage. As Lizzie Jay said, “There is nothing new about this to me.” The talented musician said her musical ear, confidence and sound mind will help her on competition day, this Friday.
Recounting the moment when she received the result, Lizzie Jay told Bajan Vibes she was “over the moon” and in disbelief.
“I could not believe that on my first time, I put in so much work and it paid off.”
Her biggest supporter and motivator has been her two-year-old son, Nathaniel. She shared that she was not only singing for herself but to see her son’s beaming smile whenever he heard her sing.
“I started singing for him as a baby and seeing his facial reactions when he heard my voice made me say, if he loves to hear this and other people tell me they love to hear it, I really think I should put it out there and carry my talent a little further… get my talent to benefit me and benefit him.”