It was no surprise that Ife Alleyne was crowned the winner of the 2014 National Calypso Queen competition which took place on January 19 at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.
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Machel confident of sweeping Soca Monarch 2013
It’s going to be a “fogging, floating Friday.” That is how defending Groovy and Power Soca Monarch champion Machel Montano described how he intends to transform the atmosphere at the National Stadium come February 8.
Montano was his usual high energy self in a visit to the Guardian Media Ltd office last week, when he spoke with the T&T Guardian and did an interview with Vibe City 105.1FM’s Chris Boynes.
The 2012 Monarch is adamant he has no competition at this year’s Digicel International Soca Monarch competitions. He views the return of soca veteran and former five time soca monarch winner Austin “Super Blue” Lyons as merely the student (himself) taking on the Master (Super Blue). Montano said it is a competition and he intends to pull out all the stops.
“I have a lot of respect for Super. I remember as a child I knew I always wanted to do music but I was more focused on reggae and R&B until I saw Super Blue during a performance at Spectacular Forum throwing the microphone from hand to hand and moving his feet the way he does, that is when I really fell in love with soca music,” he said.
He said his team remained focused despite the recent challenges he and his band, the “HD family” have faced. “It’s not just Machel going in there it’s Kernal (Roberts), the writers, the band members—everybody…it’s a team.”
Montano noted the competition is just 35 per cent of the HD family’s season as their main focus is first creating a great album.
The 38-year-old, who is known to be big on collaborations—having recorded several songs alongside many local, regional and international artistes—has really pushed the envelope this year as he ventured to South Africa to work with the celebrated all-male group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Montano described the collaboration as an epic experience.
“Working with Ladysmith Black Mambazo was a real achievement for me because the collaboration was really the group’s introduction to the world of soca. “They did not even know where T&T was, much less about the culture.”
He said it was his idea to work with the group.
“Kerwin (Dubois) sent me a song and when I listened to it I immediately heard their voices. I told him and we contacted their management,” said Montano.
“Within days they responded and the next thing I know we were on a plane to Africa.”
He said a full documentary was made on himself and the group doing the actual recording.
The song which is titled Possessed was released three weeks ago and is already a favourite among soca lovers.
He disclosed a collaboration was also done with American R&B Soul group Boyz II Men. The track was supposed to be released for Carnival but Montano and his team decided to hold it back because the season is so short.
The multiple Road March title holder who will be celebrating 31 years in the industry this year, said his mission has always been to showcase a Michael Jackson type show in the middle of Carnival where people can feel the music, culture and technology coming together to create a monster presentation.
He said he was happy Caribbean Prestige Foundation had the foresight to create such a forum where that kind of dream can become a reality.
The busy-bodied artiste said his plate is so full this season he thinks his next move will be to clone himself.
So far this year, he has released several songs including She Ready, Drinking Rum (on the Paradise Riddim), Indian Gyal with Chutney singer Drupatee Ramgoonai, The Fog, Possessed and Float.
Montano will defend his groovy title singing Fog and will hope to remain the monarch in the power category with Float.
“It is going to be a fogging, floating Friday,” he reiterated.
“I put in what I intend to get out. This time when I say hover, I will show what floating is—nothing keeping we down!”
• To vote for Montano in the Power Soca category text MMHD to 7622 and in the Groovy Soca category, text MMHD to 4768.
For more information to stay connected and follow Machel Montano on Twitter: @machelmontanohd or visit his Facebook page, Machel Montano.
Collaborations: Admiral T, Alison Hinds, Beenie Man, Calypso Rose, Burning Flames, Drupatee, Wyclef Jean, Canibus, Red Rat, Shaggy, Sparrow, Denise Belfon, Ken Marlon Charles (KMC), Destra, Walker Hornung, Vybz Kartel, Mohombi, G-Unit, Black Stalin, David Rudder, Buju Banton, Mr Vegas, Doug E Fresh Pitbull, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Boyz II Men.
Education: Presentation College
Lives in: Los Angeles
Home Town: Carenage/Siparia
Hit songs: Too many to list