Soca for life!
If you were at the Sweet Soca Semi-finals two Fridays ago you would have seen Katalyst – she could not be missed in a flamboyant red costume.
Katalyst is a strong word. And Janelle Waithe says the moniker fits her personality well.
“I am happy to have made it to the semi-finals in my first time back out after a couple of years’ break”, she told EASY while relaxing on a bench at King George V Memorial Park in St Philip Of her competition song Choir, she explained that the song spoke to her.
“When Basil Yarde Jr gave me the song, I said yes. It reminded me of the Brewsters Road Crew, the revellers, those who came each year. They are the choir – every one who has ever participated,” she explained, adding that the song was also a celebration of the ten years she has spent in the calypso and music arenas.
She was out for a while because as a young lady in her 20s she wanted to see what else she could do besides sing.
“I went from Junior Monarch to Headliners to Square One. I was also still writing and in the studio a lot.”
She dropped off the scene for a while and went into the working world.
“Music, as much as I love it, cannot sustain me. I was working, going school and singing. Then I couldn’t juggle all, so music took a back seat.”
But Janelle missed music so she warmed up her vocal cords and returned to the stage.
“I had a song called Bashment Wine on Blood’s album last year. But time to push it and promote it was the problem. But this year is different,” she said. It is her tenth year in the business.
“I am celebrating it. Actively going out and performing,” said the supervisor of the bridal section at Dwellings.
The “Philipian,” who has written songs for many Bajan and overseas artistes, says she has the choir director at Foundation to thank for her start.
“I was put in the choir as punishment and I never stopped singing from then,” she said, laughing, and her parents were always very supportive in letting their 17-year-old daughter join the band Square One.
“It was all about balance – follow rules and do good in school for them.”
During her break from the music scene, Janelle said she was happy to see Crop Over as an audience member: “In all that time I never got to sit back and watch. If I wasn’t performing, I was doing something in Crop Over. It is good sometimes to just stop and watch.”
Janelle likes to travel and calls herself an exercise enthusiast.
“I don’t do the gym but beach training with Mac Fingall and I [eat] a good diet,” she said, adding that wukking up at fetes during Crop Over is good exercise. (NSH)