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Sweet Success

Yvette Best

Sweet Success

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?AFTER 15 YEARS in the business, one of Barbados’ more consistent artistes is reinventing himself.
?Known as Mr Dale up to last Crop Over season, he has decided to tweak his sobriquet, but the purpose for which it was chosen still remains the same.
“It is about marketability and doing things different. There was a time when people queried, ‘Wait, why you put Mr in front your name?’. The Mr is my mother’s initials (Maureen Rudder), really, and then it became popular. . . . For me it’s about not losing your identity and who you are.
“I still using it but [the spelling] is more aesthetic than anything else. It is also meant to symbolise a change. Not a departure for all things Dale, so Dale fans don’t have to worry, but it’s more a change in focus musically, and how I market myself,” he explained.
In celebration of the milestone Mistah Dale, who is in De Big Show cast, is releasing a compilation with some of his more successful songs over time and at least five new tracks, including Stressless and De Dawg, which helped him to the semi-final rounds of the Sweet Soca and Party Monarch, respectively.
His Diary Of A Soka Junkie compilation, which chronicles the journey of Mistah Dale, is expected to be in stores soon, and should have at least 18 songs, most of which were penned by him. It is also a showcase of the current “who is who” of producers including Chris Allman, Dwayne Antrobus and Shawn Layne.
“It’s like a collector’s item . . . . This is really targeted for the world market,” he said.
His increased focus on getting the right team of people to work alongside him, and concentration on the Mistah Dale brand has seen an “ease” off in writing for other people from last year. Along with his own songs, Mistah Dale penned Mad Or Wha for Lorenzo and Stalker for tentmate Leah, with whom he has had a working relationship from her days in the Scotiabank Junior Calypso Monarch competition.
Mistah Dale competed in the Pic-O-De-Crop competition last year after a break of several years, but has opted out again this season because “the spirit is not there”.
While continuing to get his own house in order, he has limited his focus to Sweet Soca and the Party Monarch competitions, in which he placed in the top three for both at the highest. The popular Drop It took him to third in Sweet Soca, while Soka Junkie helped him to first runner-up.
Though he has enjoyed some success in all the competitions at Crop Over winning Road March on one occasion, People’s Monarch twice and Songwriter Of The Year on at least three occasions, Mistah Dale said he is not really “studying any competition”.
“People base everything on winning. . . . You’re nothing unless you win this or do this or that but you can’t really, at the end of the day, let those things define you . . . . Competition is good as an outlet and a launching pad to really boost your songs or your product.”
Having said that, he said if he were to drive away with one or both of the two cars up for grabs at Soca Royale on July 27, it would be “high time”.