The streets have stamped their seals of approval on Kes The Band and its groundbreaking collaboration with hip hop sensation Snoop Dogg on the song, Stress Away. From the moment the single was released on Wednesday, fans have not stopped talking, "tweeting" and "facebooking" about the fact that the multi-platinum rapper, real name, Calvin Broadus, was actually featured on a soca track. And with the original song and video, filmed by local director Ryan Khan, gaining more than 34,000 views on Youtube, many are saying that Kees and his band have succeeded in raising the soca bar. Kees agrees. Speaking with the T&T Guardian on Friday, the reigning Groovy Soca Monarch, who placed most of the praise for the historic collaboration squarely at the feet of industry heavyweights Jonathan Paty and Scot Sardinha, said he's all about progression and pushing the envelope.
Stating that the world has now become more acquainted with T&T and soca music, Kees said the time has come for local artistes to seize every opportunity to expand their horizons with open arms. "Soca and T&T are actually on a buzz right now. People are looking to collaborate with Trinidad and we need to take advantage of it," he added. Although the 30-year-old artiste has been in the music grind for years, 2011 was undoubtedly his year to shine. His "it" moment, he said, came in September when Kes The Band appeared and performed on Good Day NY on the US television network, FOX. "We were kinda surprised that a lot of people on the streets knew who we were. We would be in the subway and all of a sudden end up signing autographs," he joked.
"New York is a new market for us and it continues to grow." Next on Kees' increasingly hectic agenda is defending his title against 13 of Soca's best on Carnival Friday when the finals of the C2K12 instalment of the International Soca Monarch kick off at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain. Making it clear that he's preparing to "come correct" and put on a show for the crowd, Kees has gone into competition mode-but don't expect him to engage in any soca picong. "If it happens that I win again then it happens. If not, I'm still gonna have a ball, I'm really just gonna have fun," he said. Even before he lights up the Soca Monarch stage, the "busy-as-a-bee" singer is gearing up to stage Kes The Band's 3rd annual concert, Under The Trees, at the Hotel Normandie, St Ann's, on February 9.
The event promises to be a grand affair and boasts a number of "surprise" acts as well as performances from artistes such as David Rudder, Lord Nelson, JW & Blaze, K-Rich, TC and Shal. So, here's the big question: When does Kees ever sleep? "Anytime and anywhere I get the chance," he said. These days, he's averaging five hours, which he admits, "isn't too bad."