Etceterathecompany's Blog

The one woman media powerhouse…. talk is cheap but good publicity is impacting!

World Cup Fever Hits T&T June 16, 2010

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Despite the fact that the smallest nation to have ever qualified for a World Cup Finals, did not pull a hat trick in 2010, the people of Trinidad and Tobago remain a part of the World Cup action.

With many Brazil supporters flaunting the ever-popular yellow and green football jerseys, it’s also safe to say that many others are also backing the underdogs in this year’s campaign.

Yesterday’s match between the #1 world ranked football team Brazil and North Korea- proved a true attention grabber as across the country, cheers for the underdogs seemed synonymous to cheers for the Soca Warriors when they played Sweden in their first game in the first leg of World Cup Finals competition back in 2006.

Soca island remains pumped during this, the 2010 leg of the FIFA World Cup being hosted in South Africa. Many have their personal bets on and one thing’s for sure and that’s the fact that SONY plasma TV’s along with other brands are almost extinct at electronic shops across the island.


What is Soca Music, Really? December 2, 2009

Is it easily identifiable- yes!
Is it easily created- no!

While many artistes in the industry seem to think it’s all about a good, catchy hook- I think you’ve got it wrong. The hook works for mere fly by nights who aren’t seeking longevity in the biz. A good soca track’s got to have relatable lyrics, a feel good melody and yes, the hook! Yes, I know- in recent years, it’s been all about ‘de bam bam, de rag, de flag and de wining, but in between in it all, there’ve been some good music.

One of T&T's foremost vocalists and songwriters, Shurwayne Winchester.

I personally appreciate artistes like Kerwin Dubois, Allison Hinds, Shurwayne Winchester, Destra Garcia and Nadia Batson. Consistent in all of the areas outlined above, these artistes have shown their capabilities, time and time again.

Now, mind you- while the hook alone has worked for some, among them, Iwer George- reality is, not all soca artistes have that natural knack for getting the ground to follow- and by ground, I do mean the man on the street. You must know that before the music gets into the all inclusive fetes that you all dream to perform at, the ground must approve!

A lil silly tune could do it for you, that’s no doubt, but question remains- will you make it into another year with another one of those?

Take a moment to think, absorb and understand that the more crap that hits the airwaves in T&T, the less good music we have to market ourselves to the international public…. STOP, THINK, THEN SING!


Dey Riding De Riddum Hard! November 27, 2009

'Soca Sensation'- Machel Montano

Soca collaborations, riding rhythms– are these new techniques being attempted among Caribbean artistes, in a bid to catch the attention of the mainstream music industry? Machel Montano, the youngster who at age 9, was chastised by the elders of that time for his involvement in the artform, is today revered as the trendsetter. He single handedly made strides in recent years to collaborate with Jamaicans ( who, mind you- have been heard mainstream and are well received, despite their accent or “demeanor”) and even Americans, as in the case of Doug E Fresh and Latinos- I recall a track with Pitbull (a favourite for many)!


Following Montano’s effort to introduce the concept of collaboration, there was a sudden venture into riding ‘riddums.’ Now, mind you, it’d been done with Soca Parang music, but hard core Soca- no. Basically, a producer would create his masterful rhythm and invite artistes, so fit, to compose tracks and vocalize. In the end, you’d come out with maybe 5 or 6 artistes singing a variation of lyrics to one melody. It’d work for the season, as the artistes on the tracks, stood to benefit during the season when promoters would be looking for the artistes who’s been given the most airplay- which in most instances would be those riding ‘riddums.’

It’s a great strategy, especially when used together. Think of it as a marketing ploy- piggybacking off the success of an already established brand- for example: Jamaica’s dancehall crooner, Beenie Man’s collaboration with superstar, Janet Jackson or in simpler forms- LG Electronics partnership with the highly acclaimed Prada brand- cross branding at its best!

I’m no expert on the music business however, I do understand a strategy when I see one. This in itself has proven ideal for Caribbean Soca artistes- all it needs however is packaging, from PR to elements of physical structuring- a TEAM is required for tantamount success. Only then, will mainstream music execs see and feel the music….


A Sweet Soca Sensation Stinks Without Solidification. October 17, 2009

In Trinidad and Tobago, the soca and calypso industries have been somewhat hindered. Many may say, in recent years artistes have made some leeway, among them, Rupee, Kevin Little, Machel Montano and FireBall.

Now although the artistes mentioned have managed to secure either record deals or the mere attention of international audiences, the fact remains that Soca as a mainstream genre of music, is nowhere near where we would like it to be.

Many local philosophers, eager to share their view, argue that the music is too fast and as such, audiences across Europe, the US and Canada will never relate to it. Some others say, the local dialect is a problem, the international crowds won’t understand what’s being sung. I beg to differ… strongly differ.

The music, ‘in my opinion’ must be collectively sold. There needs to be a clear- cut local medium for distribution, publicity, promotion and management. One, Two or Three artistes cannot penetrate the world in a bid to engage millions to embrace a NEW genre of music. Educating our artistes on the importance of various facets of media, is foremost important as without publicity, marketing and branding- there is nothing.

Rather than approach the wider world in mono fashion, approach the world as a team of professionals- artistes, musicians, PR agents, Managers etc- a corporate entity that in a boldfaced way, tells the masses what they WILL listen to.

The artistes can only sing- the agents behind the product posses the power to persuade, sell and sensationalize to suit.