At age three, Jeromy Rodriguez got his first taste of the stage after being called up from the crowd at a concert to sing with Denise Belfon. It was then that he fell in love with performing.
The Moruga-based young king said he looks up to artistes like Iwer George, Machel Montano and Kerwin Du Bois. "I always saw soca artistes on TV and I wanted to be like them. I asked my mom for an idea and the rest is history," he said. That is how Rodriguez came to write his first song On the Ground.
Rodriguez, 11, has gone on to win numerous titles including this year's National Junior Soca Monarch. The winning song, Colour Me Carnival, was also an original composition by Rodriguez. During an interview at last week, Rodriguez shared that he was overjoyed by the win. "I felt happy, elated and excited about winning," he said.
He emerged the winner in only his second year participating in the competition. The youngster also holds the 2012 Junior Calypso Monarch in Couva and Princes Town/Tableland. Apart from his titles, Rodriguez is also slowly building a career in music.
Already on his resume is work on Machel Montano's Going for Gold album. Rodriguez joined Aaron Duncan, Timel Rivas and Devyn Tyson for the remake of Montano's I Love My Country.
Rodriguez also shot three music videos last year, including one for his song Doh Take Me. The video has received more than 135,000 views on YouTube.
Rodriguez wrote the song after being continually mistaken for Duncan, who he dethroned in the junior soca monarch this year. Additionally, the young star is taking piano, guitar and music recording lessons from his father, Junior Joseph, a musician. "I want to be an entertainer and a producer," he added.
This Carnival season, Rodriguez performed at major shows like Machel Monday, Iwer Wednesday and the International Soca Monarch. The busy schedule of gigs does not distract from school, however.
Rodriguez's mother, Ivonne, keeps him on a tight schedule. "I have a schedule on a chart so I can manage my time. That way I can perform well with my books," he said.
Rodriguez, who's in Standard Five, is a class prefect and the junior spokesperson for It's Up to Me Nvironmental–a recycling campaign.
Now that Carnival is over, Rodriguez will take a break from performing and hit the books. In May, he'll write the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam. Rodriguez has his sights set on the prestigious Presentation College, Machel Montano's alma mater.
He already has plans to represent Presentation College at the 2014 Junior Soca Monarch and winning the crown in the secondary schools category of the competition.