Last year’s winner, Mark Chepses of Kenya, will return to defend his crown at this year’s 35th edition of the T&T International Marathon (TTIM), scheduled for January 29 from St Mary’s...
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The young king of calypso - Marcelle rebrands
When the National Action Cultural Committee (NACC) holds the 2014 Young Kings Monarch final tonight, a new champion will be crowned.
In this competition, the winner cannot come back to defend the title, guaranteeing a new name on the trophy.
Last year, the title was won by Stephen Marcelle, currently a lead vocalist of Caribbean Traffik Jam. Marcelle, a veteran karaoke and lip synch performer, said his one-year reign changed his concept of the local music industry.
“One needs to have a name to go with the title for success. It’s as though promoters have no respect for the organisation that runs Young Kings or the title the monarch holds. The monarch has to promote himself. The upside is that the monarch does get more acceptance with audiences abroad.”
During the year, Marcelle has performed in Toronto, Curacao and Barbados, tours he said were initiated by himself. “In the major foreign carnivals, you would see the champions from T&T being the national calypso monarch and the winners of the International Soca Monarch, not the Young Kings monarch,” said Marcelle.
Marcelle added: “The past year has been good for me though. I gained more confidence in myself and I became more easily recognisable to John Public.”
For Carnival 2014, Marcelle has been performing with the Generation Next calypso tent, based at CWU Hall, Henry Street, Port-of-Spain. He is singing Almost Doesn’t Count, a song written by Kevin Marcano and which is attracting lots of encores nightly in the tent. His other songs are Culture Dying and What is a Big Song.
Marcelle said: “This year my focus is on the Big Yard and the band. When one avenue opens you gain confidence to open others. For me it forward ever backward never. My aim is to win the title of national monarch now held by Pink Panther.
“I have rebranded myself and I’m working on my image. My sobriquet is Stephen MAS. I have songs to release after Carnival, aimed at the dancehall, R&B and house music markets. I have songs for Carnival 2015, including two groovy soca, a power soca and a Chutney Soca.”
Always an artiste who readily shares his experience and advice to newcomers to the art form. He said: “I usually like giving advice when I sing calypso. For instance, in 2012, my advice was through song was Stand up and Be Counted. In 2013, my advice was Politics Does Spoil de Lime and as we all witnessed it really did spoil a few limes well. So, after summarising the whole local government elections held recently my advice this year is mainly to the politicians it is Almost Doesn’t Count. It was cleverly structured by Kevin Marcano who penned it, mixing history with politics. It was well received on judges’ night at the tent and had patrons asking for more however they were informed by the emcee that there will be no encores on judges night.”
Marcelle also had advice for the finalists in this year’s Young Kings Monarch contest. He said: “As a contestant you simply have to be confident in yourself, trust yourself and leave everything up to the judges. I think that NACC is doing a very good show proving a forum to calypsonians who will not get much profile in Carnival. What is nice about the competition is that the monarch isn’t allowed to return to compete. This causes there to be always space for another up and coming star.”
Marcelle is continuing school at Sital College, studying Human Resource Management. Hopefully he will get his degree in 2015, along with winning more calypso titles.
The 2014 Young Kings Calypso competition takes place tonight at Napa. For information contact the NACC offices at 40 Duke Street, Port-of-Spain or call 623-5470.
Past winners of the Young Kings Calypso competition
1985 Luta (Morel Peters)
1986 David Rudder
1987 Bally (Errol Ballantyne)
1988 Cro Cro (Weston Rawlins)
1989 Tambu (Chris Herbert) and Protector (Michael Legerton)
1990 Sugar Aloes (Michael Osuna), Denyse Plummer, De Fosto ( Winston Scarborough)
1991 Machel Montano
1992 Pink Panther (Eric Taylor)
1993 Kurt Allen
1994 Delamo (Franz Lambkin)
1995 Watchman (Wayne Hayde)
1996 Kerwin du Bois
1997 GB(Gregory Ballantyne)
1998 Sheldon Reid
1999 Wayne Rodriguez
2000 Tony Prescott
2001 Bunji Garlin (Ian Alavarez) and Rikki Jai (Samraj Jaimungal)
2002 Manchild (Carlton Collins)
2003 Roger George and Skatie (Carlos James)
2004 Brian London
2005 Impulse (Wayne Modeste)
2006 Sean Daniel
2007 Bodyguard (Roger Mohammed)
2008 Mighty Diamond (Patrick Lewis)
2009 Jervae Caesar
2010 Kwesi Jeffers
2011 Benjai (Rodney Le Blanc)
2012 Duanne O’Connor
2013 Stephen Marcelle