ALVIN TOPPIN WEARS his passion for soca like an ‘S’ on his chest.
It’s what qualifies the veteran deejay to be the ultimate Soca Superman.
While the name came by chance, his drive to pushthe art form forward is intentional.
“The whole Soca Superman [name] came about by accident. By 2008, I was established as one of the better soca deejays. I went to a lime at Wicketkeeper . . . before going to Hott 95.3 FM to do a soca marathon, and a lady came up to me and asked me, don’t you have a marathon do to? You should be home sleeping! I told her that I was not much of a sleeper so I came out to catch a vibe. She replied, ‘Man, you must feel you is a real soca superman,’ and I told her I would copyright it,” he recalled duringa recent interview at Tiami dockside, location of the weekly Bacchanal Thursdays. It was a party he helpedto organise, and was a popular Crop Over event.
As the last embers of the “feeling” die down untilnext year, Alvin goes back to Keep Rockin’ Toppin, where a bit of everything can be heard on his regular gigs on Starcom Network’s Hott 95.3 FM and VOB 92.9.
“The challenge for me is marketing both brands simultaneously, just like Porgie and Murda/Leadpipe and Saddis,” he opened up.
But he was willing to learn for the profession which gave him opportunities to travel around the world and included a stint as Rupert Rupee Clarke’s touring DJfor three and a half years. Alvin credits his love of music to his parents and their radiogram. He said he got his start when he was still a student at Harrison College,at the age of 17.
“ . . . Two brothers, Rommel and Randy Edwards, myself and Shawn (Farrell) who now works at CBC, started a group called Icecrew International,”he recalled.
“My brother also bought turntables . . . and that is where the passion was. I am still passionate about it now but when you are young, there is more fire in your belly.”
Reggae was the beat and dub was the force in the early 1990s. However, the group realised soca needed to bein the rotation after landing a gig with the Universityof the West Indies, catering to students from various Caribbean islands.
Soon, he was deejaying for the likes ofPower X Four during Congaline and Wednesday 2000on Kadooment Day.
From then till now, Soca Superman has soared. And six years ago, he left behind his job in the claims department of a general insurance company to pursue his passionin entertainment.
Describing his deejay persona, Alvin said: “I always like to play from a position where I can see the crowd and the crowd can see me. For soca, it is action musicand getting people to do the actions and move and get them to put more than their hands in the air. People pick up on your vibe, so when you just stand there and play[they will not respond]. If you are interactive and dancing on the stage, they pick up on your vibe.”
“It is not about the style, but there are idiosyncrasies which people cannot replicate, and that gives the competitive advantage. For example, when it comesto soca, I have been told that I play with more passion and energy . . . People like the fact that I am crazyin a good way.
“I find people are jumping on the soca train and outside of the season they don’t care about soca music. It is evident when I play that I have a love and passion for the genre,” he continued.
“If I am only doing this for money, then it is time for me to do something else. You don’t want to lose that passion and drive . . .”
Alvin also hopes to pursue passions in media management, with an eventual aim of pursuing a masters degree in mass communication, in addition to growing his event management portfolio.