Jamar Walkes or Walkes, as he is commonly known, has gone from drummer boy to rising soca star.
The 27-year-old has skyrocketed this year, making it to the Yello International Bashment Soca Finals on his first try with I Waan Meet Meat. This year would also mark his second time in the semifinals of the Soca Monarch Competition with Champions of Colour.
“This time around the buzz is larger than 2017, the popularity, people knowing my music off hand, the public has my back… so that gives me motivation to keep pushing forward,” Walkes told Bajan Vibes.
His Bashment Soca Single, I Waan Meet Meat, was popular at local fetes and cruises even before it officially hit the airwaves. Walkes explained that the song was based off his dancehall tune, Hickles of Life which he released in March.
“The first song I did for the season was called Hickles of Life which was a dancehall reggae tune and it was received very well by the public. However, one of the most catchy lines of the song was ‘I want to meet meat’ at the beginning. At the intro you would hear ‘I want to meet meat’ and everyone captured that moment of the song,” he revealed.
While doing the advertisement for the party cruise Beads and Hickle Juice, Walkes did a freestyle with the popular phrase and it stuck – I Waan Meet Meat was created. The public response was overwhelming, and he decided to record the song.
“This is the people’s tune. This is not a tune that I really wanted to do but because of the respect and the love from the people and the public, I did it,” he continued.
However, despite the popularity of his Bashment Soca tunes, the genre isn’t his first love. Walkes debuted in 2015 with We Ain’t Leaving, a power soca single. He was recognized as Best New Artiste in 2015 during the Hott 95.3 FM Cavalcade as well.
“Everyone believes I started with the bashment but I have to let them know where I started and what I love and believe in [and] that is power soca… I believe in power soca,” he emphasized.
Although he is a new face to the Barbadian public, those in the entertainment sector know that Walkes is familiar to the stage, notoriously working behind the scenes as a drummer. He started playing tuk at interschool sports while attending Lester Vaughan Secondary and eventually went on to join the Tuk Band Drummers’ Federation and later Tuk Revolution.
He then wanted to try something new, and with the help of Randy Eastmond of Quantum Productions, he launched his singing career.
“You make plans from school to be something but as you finish school and go on and live your life, things change. Although I dropped music at school, I was still with the music when I left school,” Walkes reflected.
The young entertainer expressed he wanted to leave a legacy on the Barbadian entertainment scene that would make his daughter proud.
“I want her to grow up knowing that her father was or is a legend; he did what he loved; he actually did it from his heart without any support in the beginning. It was by choice and as success comes, I am inspired and motivated more to go forward,” he continued.
Speaking with vibrato in his voice, the 27-year-old also urged the youth of Barbados to do better and “put down the guns, put down the knives and to work hard and progress”. He encouraged them to never give up on their dreams, no matter how long it takes.
“I would say to the youth of today, don’t give up on your dreams or your goals. Even if they don’t happen in one day or a week, it is going to come once you believe and you pray and keep focused,” he advised.