In the last year, local entertainers have had their passports stamped more than ever before.
That’s because their music was in heavy rotation both regionally and internationally and the requests for live performances were rolling in.
From two-time Yello Bashment Soca winner Stiffy, the orange-haired songbird Nikita and Marzville, who has been giving it to worldwide audiences, these entertainers have not missed any opportunity to fly the Barbadian flag high.
Shane Atkinson, who is better known by his stage name Stiffy, said he had to ring in the New Year on a high note partying with his StarQuality Team after a year of hard work and success.
“We just continued on the same path we set in 2016. We had a plan and executed it. I was able to experience different carnivals, meet new people in St Lucia, Trinidad and St Vincent in Easter,” he said. It was his first time in each of the locations.
This year, his plan is to do the hat-trick. In 2016 it was Tek Off Something and last year it was Tip And Ben Ova.
“This year the plan is to continue and try to retain the title again and do the [hat-trick] because every time you win something you get more recognised and respected. We might be known now, but we want to make it bigger and let people know that we here to stay,” he added.
In recent years, it was hard to attend any regional or international carnivals and not hear the phrase Bang Bim or Give It To Ya.
And Omar Marzville McQuilkin has no plans of easing off the gas, and for the second year in a row his bookings in Trinidad have been keeping him busy.
“Coming off of Bang Bim, Toc Tic, Gas It Up, and Give It To Ya, I had a great 2017 musically.”
He has performed in Belize, Connecticut in the United States, St Lucia and Grenada, and was received well in New York and Miami.
“Bookings are already looking good. People are looking to get me out of Trinidad but I’m looking to stay in the Caribbean and go to the US later,” he said. His next release could come as early as April.
Songbird Nikita would be the first to admit that things were a bit rocky for her during the middle of last year.
But that initial misfortune soon turned in her favour and she was able to place second in the Sweet Soca competition with Carry Festival, behind Red Plastic Bag.
“I was able to perform on a lot of stages that I was not on before . . . Hennessey Artistry and honouring Rihanna, for example.”
She recalled that she closed out last year performing with the Arturo Tappin band in Antigua and walked away even more determined to succeed.
“I left there with a new drive and a new vibe of determination for this year in taking it beyond the end goal, which is to leave a lasting legacy, and so far this year is looking good.”
Reminiscing on her performance in various Canadian cities and Trinidad, Jamaica and London, Nikita also hinted that fans could expect an early release from her.
The band 2 Mile Hill also reported that their 2017 was a successful one. Members performed at the Bequia Music Festival and the Barbados On The Water event in Canada, and lead vocalist Mahalia even got the chance to sing the US National Anthem at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn.
Musical director Andre Clarke said this year is all about new music and taking their sound to the world, starting with their new release next week. (TG)