Despite the vast number of sweet soca tunes that resonated throughout the National Botanical Gardens in Waterford on Sunday, none of them quite hit the mark like Mikey’s Action Time Again.
This was said to be the year of sweet soca, but the power soca stalwarts of Mikey and Lil Rick showed that the genre was here to stay.
Earning his 12th career title to become first-ever MQI/98.1 The One 2019 Soca Monarch, Mikey copped the top prize of $20,000 and a Mazda BT 50 pickup truck. As he received the envelope from Prime Minister Mia Mottley and chief executive officer of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) Carol Roberts-Reifer, Mikey shouted: “This is a victory for power soca.”
He earned the title with a score of 98 points, after delivering a rousing performance to the hundreds gathered. The last contestant of the evening at number 16, Mikey’s presentation kicked off with a hilarious skit featuring Eric The Queen Lewis and as he leapt on the stage, backed by the infectious beat, Mikey encouraged the crowd to chant “poussez”. Flags, placards, and inflated balloons were jumping and waving as the crowd answered Mikey’s call. A sudden burst of showers couldn’t stop the jam session as they continued to dance without a care.
Coming second with 75 points, six-time Party Monarch Lil Rick had the crowd ready to Jam Down. He was the second competitor to grace the stage and one of the more memorable. Lil Rick paid tribute to the Mighty Grynner and the newly renamed Mighty Grynner Highway during his presentation. At the end of his performance, he was joined on stage by the King Of De Road himself as he jumped behind the music truck and departed from the stage, but not before giving a lyrical tongue-lashing to the other performers. Lil Rick went home with a cash prize of $30,000.
Leadpipe was a clear crowd favourite and anticipated to be in the top three out the gate. His song Sometime has become the summer anthem and it was evident as the crowd sang the song word-for-word at the top of their voices. Numerous placards and flags could be seen in the audience naming Leadpipe as the winner of the inaugural Soca Monarch Competition. But he placed third, winning $20,000.
The newcomers came prepared to compete, delivering high energy and unique performances. Betty B and her dancers looked stunning in their carnival costumes. She didn’t miss a beat and keep the audience engaged during her performance of Nah Going Home.
The youngest contestant in the competition, Jamal Jslo Slocombe leapt on stage with a ferocity and high energy for his performance of Alive that instantly grabbed the attention of patrons.
Skung Yung – real name Ian Alleyne – stole centre stage with his guitar solo. The goateed artist went from playing centre guitar in a band to being centre stage as a singer. His melodic and groovy performance of So Happy was a solid performance for a first-timer. Seasoned veterans, Biggie Irie (Magic), Adrian Clarke (Ah Like It) and Nathalee (Why We Live) gave solid performances.
Also giving a stellar performance, was the “groom” of the evening, Shaquille, who performed Darlin’. He brought elements of the wedding chapel to the Soca Monarch stage, as he professed his love. TC dazzled in red for her performance of Music. Energetic and jovial, the former monarch brought on stage saxophonist Mylon Clarke for a musical mashup and jamming session.
Sanctuary, Marzville, Damian Marvay, Faith and Jus D also gave consistent performances at the inaugural event.