Having fun with Deputy
Songwriter/artist Rommel Sanctuary Bennett, says his Crop Over song, Deputy, has been misunderstood.
The overall concept of the song was fuelled by the new beer, Deputy, and it plays on the Caribbean meaning of having a woman on the side.
But many people have misinterpreted the concept of the song, he said.
“I’m not promoting rudeness, the song came about as just having fun, I saw the beer and I said I wanted to be sheriff,” he told WEEKEND BUZZ.
Sanctuary, 34, urges fans to listen carefully to the lyrics of his song.
But it’s the popular Mega Monday tune which has given him, for the first time, a pick to be on the Sweet Soca stage – not as a guest performer but competing.
Sanctuary has tasted Sweet Soca fame though as he wrote the winning songs for the competition for two consecutive years: Michael Mikey Mercer’s We Loose in 2012 which also won Starcom Network’s People’s Monarch and Road March that year, as well as Anderson Blood Armstrong’s Ah Can’t Wait in 2013. He also wrote Biggie Irie’s Cyaan Be Over which placed second in the 2011 Sweet Soca competition. Growing up as a product of block culture, he “hustled” to get by, with jobs ranging from cutting lawns and picking coconuts. Sanctuary’s songwriting career began after the death in 2002 of his cousin Henderson Collymore, who was also a writer.
A year later, he heard about songwriting and voice training classes and decided to apply. The course was then offered by the Ministry of Education. Graduating as the best of the 50 students, Sanctuary moved from studio to studio and then joined competitions throughout the island.
To his surprise, he knew a friend whom he was shocked to discover played keyboards for Machel Montano’s band Xtatik which led to his first songwriting gig, Push Back/Love De Carnival sung by local artiste Tarah Holdipp.
From there, Sanctuary had the opportunity to work with popular artistes such as Montano, John King, and Red Plastic Bag.
“They taught me a lot about the music business; basically who to write for and what to look for in an artist to portray your songs,” he said.
“The business aspect is very complicated, you need more than one teacher and you need to ask everybody . . . . And even if you think you know, you need to ask again.”
This year, Sanctuary has written 30 songs, 20 of which have been taken by various artistes.
Soca Animal – sung by Hinds (he loves writing for Hinds as “she can really sing”), Next To De Rope by Mikey, which is in the Sweet Soca semi-finals and his own Mega Monday.
The Sweet Soca semis take place next Friday at Kensington Oval. (BA/ZD)