Adrian 'AC' Clarke. (Picture by Christoff Griffith.)
If you missed Adrian Clarke last year, it was because he took a mental break.
“Taking time ain’t laziness. Last year I didn’t record any party music per se. I didn’t have any drive to do it, and the only recording I remember doing was for Deepu Panjwani of Lethal Studios. He did a track that included Stabby, Holla Bak. Gabby was featured with Square One and Alison Hinds, and I did a song called More Gyal,” Clarke told EASY during an interview in Maxwell, Christ Church.
Describing the song as a “bashment rhythm with an Indian feel”, he said he had since heard the rhythm played, but didn’t remember ever hearing his song being played.
“I’ve chalked it down to nobody expected me to be singing on that rhythm. I have wondered if when DJs see my name on it, they think that it isn’t a social commentary, so just put it one side and not play it. I don’t dig,” he said shrugging nonchalantly.
Another part of him having missed last year’s competition was the anticipation of the birth of his granddaughter Zakyrah, who he refers to as Zoe.
“She got me chupid. It feels like when I had my daughter Azizi, and was a father for the first time. I love every minute of being a granddaddy-o. Zoe is very smart at nine months; and, if I’m not home to see what she does, I get a video a few minutes later. Right now my storage is almost to capacity with all of her photos and videos,” he said smiling broadly.
AC, as he is known on the calypso stage, decided on two recordings for this year’s sweetest summer festival. And last Friday he would have competed in the Sweet Soca arena with Soca Her, and at EASY magazine press time the competition was still ongoing.
“The ragga soca, which was composed second, was the first one to be recorded. The party song he Band Coming was written last year, and I decided not to record it because of time. The response to Soca You has been good. The last time I was in Sweet Soca semis was 2016,” he said, laughing, adding that he did not make the cut for Party Monarch this year.
AC, whose signature song is Nice Time, said he liked writing songs that made people draw their own conclusions.
“I got the idea walking from the bathroom to my closet. The melody started to come, and the hook kept ringing in my ears; so I kept playing with it until I got what you hear now,” he said.
The consensus regarding the song was that of a provocative nature, but he said it was open to interpretation. Referring to a song he wrote in 2003 called Hot, he said that song was considered provocative as well.
“In Barbados, once it’s soca and it has any sort of provocative connotations, it can be deemed not suitable for airplay; and that’s where an artiste’s craftiness has to come into play. Soca You has no words or verses that would get the song banned,” he stressed.
“I guess Soca You is one of those songs that draw on people’s imaginations. There ain’t one single line in there that is naughty, although I’ve had people coming to me and saying the song is nice but naughty. And I’m saying to myself: ‘Wunna too wutless-minded. That is the problem’. The song from start to finish tells a story, and if people listen they would understand that,” AC said, winking slyly.
He added that part of the inspiration for the song came after listening to the offerings from this year’s Trinidad and Tobago Carnival season.
“All the songs that have lower beats per minute stand out – Kes, Machel, Voice and Margaret Blackman. But the one that did it for me was Shal Marshall’s Splinters,” he said.
This year is also a milestone for the two-time Pic-O-De-Crop king as he celebrates 25 years in the arena.
“This year I have a song called Post Mortem. It is a political post mortem of the recent General Election. I was talking with [Red Plastic] Bag and told him I had a song called Election Review, and I wanted something completely different. After hearing it, he said Post Mortem and I said thanks.
“I didn’t want the song to be too serious. People don’t want to be bombarded by the sad news that goes on. They like a little comic relief at some point, and you can do that without being a clown. So I got some ideas from Carl ‘Alff’ Padmore, passed by Gabby and wrote the song over,” AC said, adding that competition was very stiff this year.
Pressed for an idea of what he had planned for judging night tomorrow, he said he only hoped to make the finals as he did last year.
“I was hitting really hard in 2000 with a song called Search For Intelligent Life and came fourth. I was hitting really hard in 1995 with a song called Nice Time; I came fourth. I don’t intend to be just another number in the competition this year. And for 25 years I better try and make the finals too, because it would look real bad that I made it all the other years, and at 25 years my stumps go flying,” he said. (RA)