Shontae Alleyne-Clarke has been bitten by the writing bug. She released a self-penned single called Have Hope and is already working on another song.
The reigning Junior Monarch (11-14) told Bajan Vibes that now, more than ever, she is motivated to get positive music out there. However, the 12-year-old is aware that the process can be costly.
“I am ecstatic that it is over and I am actually working on a new song. I am more motivated now with writing my songs and getting my music as well as positive messages out into the public. However, the releasing of music is a costly process and I have to depend on my mum Shontelle Alleyne’s finances in order to release music. With that being said, I would love to release a lot more music, but I am restricted financially.”
She added: “Music is soothing; it motivates, entertains and gives people a sense of belonging. Therefore, the need for music and entertainment is paramount during these times, especially for the relaxation of the mind and to allow persons not to become depressed.”
The circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic caused Shontae to pen her first song. “During the 24-hour lockdown in Barbados, my songwriting skills came into effect because I wanted to give some motivation to people especially the frontline workers who were out there putting themselves at risk for the benefit of the community and to an extent, the benefit of the world. I wrote the song Have Hope in approximately an hour and a half, and the melody was in my mind as well.
“The song was arranged and produced by Radar Sounds and Michael Bayley. The challenge was getting into the studio during the curfew and I had to wait until the restrictions on movement were lifted in order to record the song. When I was finally able to go into the studio, there was a sanitizing station in the studio and of course, we kept our physical distance as well.”
Since the release of the single about three weeks ago Shontae has been getting nothing but kudos, although some people couldn’t believe she penned the song herself. Last year, she co-wrote her winning Junior Monarch with Kareen and Trinity Clarke.
“People like the song and the concept of the song was good for these times. As it relates to my peers, some of them were in disbelief that I wrote the song because they know me as a singer but not as a songwriter.”
The minor who blew the judges and audience away on her first try on the Junior Monarch stage said the news of no Crop Over was disappointing.
“I was disappointed when the announcement was made because I was actually looking forward to defending my crown. Last year was my debut in the calypso arena, and it was a plethora of new and exciting things for me. With some experience now and knowing criteria beforehand, I was coming from a whole different approach and mindset.”
But that said, Shontae believes that health and safety are key. “I also was looking at it from the point of view of new entrants into the competition who would now have to wait an entire year in order to have the experience of a calypso competition. I totally understood the reason for the cancellation and agreed that the health and safety of all persons involved was the top priority.”
The monarch said that 75 per cent of her competing song was ready before the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. She said the song is a very relevant topic to society today.
Shontae, a student of Combermere, said the COVID-19 lockdown period was a lesson: “I have learnt to appreciate the small things in life (freedom to move around, family and friends) because nothing is constant and major changes can occur at any time.”
The song bird, who has performed on major stages such as Junior Monarch, Richard Stoute Teen Talent, Schools’ Music Festival, Digicel Kids Gospel Challenge and Baje to The World, said Rihanna is her favourite musical icon.
“My biggest influence is Rihanna because she is a successful Barbadian singer who has proved to all Barbadians that nothing is impossible. If you work hard and go after your dreams, then you can achieve anything that the mind conceives. Red Plastic Bag, Jennifer Hudson, and Beyonce are also influential with their music.”
She continued: “It is my desire to become an international singer, but I do not want to limit myself at this age to a particular genre of music as I am young and the world is still there for me to explore. I am also working on increasing my range and vocal abilities in order to reach my maximum potential.”
Shontae told Bajan Vibes that people looking to write songs, sing or just be involved in music generally must take the bitter with the sweet in order to grow.
“Be prepared to work hard in order to achieve their goals. Hard work and lots of practice are the requirements to achieving goals. If you really want it, go after it. Do not let criticism bring you down and have a mindset for yourself that you are going to be successful despite the critics. There are positive and negative critics, embrace the positive critics and if the negative critics are true, improve yourself but if they are false ignore them,” the Junior Monarch said. (IMC)
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