Band has more to say
There are some people who know what they want in life and go after it and no matter how many times setbacks come their way, they never give up.
This is true for leader of the four-month old band More To Say, Gracon Belgrave, who is determined to take it places.
And after their performance at the NIFCA (National Independence Festival of Creative Arts) Performing Arts semi-finals on October 10 they are headed for the music finals on Monday where they will play their original songs – I Was Just Wondering and We Can’t Go On.
This is what Belgrave wanted for himself, vocalist Alisha Jones, percussionist Hugo Greaves and steel pannist Chad Bushell.
There was never any doubt in his mind that they would have earned a spot in the finals he told WEEKEND BUZZ.
“Before we started NIFCA because I know the guys, I know how they perform. I know how we get on with crowds. I told them before we even started that we are going to the finals, even if we don’t get gold . . . . We can promote ourselves just being on the NIFCA stage,” he said.
More To Say came from Jones while she and Belgrave were trying to come up with a name.
“We said reality, surreal; she said no, I was like ‘come on a lot of our songs are inspirational what should we say’. She said ‘more to say’. I liked it,” he said with a laugh.
The bandleader also noted that he, Bushell and Greaves have been playing together for more than nine years. Jones, Belgrave’s girlfriend, joined them this year to form the band.
“I decided that something has to be done. I thought that if she sang for us and I started the group it would’ve moved pretty smoothly. We’re trying to get to Canada, I’ve been there before performing the steel pan but now with More To Say, I feel we need to get out there and get ourselves more acquainted with the world.
“We’re trying to get ourselves into bars which have happy hours so we can play and perform, but that hasn’t happened yet. I’m not giving up,” he said
Prior to entering the national competition which showcases talent, Belgrave said they played free at a number of events to gain exposure.
“We did a lot of free events, we didn’t do it for pay, any opportunity we got to play we did. Any opportunity to get out on the stage to show what have we did because we had more to say. Any opportunity to get our name out there in Barbados, that is what we’ve been trying to do for the past two months before NIFCA started so when we got there people would be like ‘we know this band, they’re excellent, they’re awesome’.
“The reason I entered NIFCA with this band is after playing in 2012 (with another band) and getting two bronze medals I skipped 2013 because I was a bit upset and sad that after all the hard work and 17 people on stage, we only collected bronze. I decided to think about what NIFCA was looking at, how the [judges] were working to give the points and tried to understand how I could come back and fight again to see if I get gold,” he said.
When most youngsters were running around during vacation, Belgrave said he and Bushell could be found in the steel pan room at Holy Trinity Church. That continues today and his love has not waned.
The group rehearse every Saturday for about six hours to fine tune their sound. They have great chemistry, Belgrave said, and find it easy to play the original compositions, about eight to date, written by himself and Jones.
“At the moment we don’t want to do soca but we have soca and also reggae, jazz, rock, and alternative. When I’m writing songs I just have to find a rhythm. Once I sit there, sometimes I start humming a tune, I would just jump across to the guitar, which I’ve been playing for only five months . . . and I enjoy it,” he said.
A concert is being planned for the end of the year where they will show people just what they can do.
For Belgrave, there is no doubt they will make it to the next level; it is just a matter of when.
“I want that More To Say becomes one of those bands out there like Coldplay or even greater than them and we just travel and do what we have to do to make it because we can . . . . I believe so,” Belgrave said. (Green Bananas Media)