Sir Prince Ramsey, prominent family physician who has made his mark in the music industry, has retired from entertainment to focus more attention on his work as the AIDS Clinical Care Co-ordinator for Antigua & Barbuda and spend more time with his family.
For over 30 years, he?s been composing award-winning songs and producing records for the heavy-hitters in calypso. Included among them are Obstinate, Smarty Jr, Mayfield, Onyan, De Bear, Calypso Jim, Blade, Sassy, and the list goes on.
?I started writing calypsos when I was in school in England as a teenager,? he told The Daily OBSERVER. ?I had a brother there who used to write songs and I just followed in his footsteps.
?I came home in 1976 and got a first-hand taste of the calypso. In 1979, I wrote my first song for Calypso Jim and it was released in 1980.?
Remember the tune Antigua, sung by Ambassador Rupert ?Baba? Blaize? The lyrics — In Antigua, we wake up to the sun, and my people, welcome everyone? — were written by Sir Prince. How about Stand Up For Antigua, which won Onyan his Calypso King crown in 1998? The doctor wrote that song as well. He has written over 100 songs for more than 50 artistes through the years and produced 45 albums.
?I tried in the earlier days to assist the younger calypsonians,? he said. ?I wasn?t thinking of writing in terms of winning the crown or anything like that. I just wanted to assist the younger ones. The most successful is Onyan and I?ve written for De Bear.?
The latter artiste, with the doctor?s song My Allegiance, copped the 2003 Independence Calypso crown .
In 2000, De Empress snagged a crown in the female calypso competition with two songs penned by Sir Prince entitled, We Don?t Want it Here and Power of a Woman.
However, the doctor believes his best song, written for De Bear, is Man is Nothing But Dust, which is one of two the artiste used to capture the 2007 Leeward Islands Calypso Competition.
Reflecting on his favourites, he said, ?I?m also fond of Stand Up For Antigua and there was Zero with Protect Yourself (a 2002 calypso monarch crown winner)?. Those I believe were the more popular ones but you see, when you write, you?re not too sure how the public is going to accept it. You may think you have a good song and then you don?t even hear it on the airwaves.?
He said he?s had no formal training in music but you wouldn?t be able to tell with the amount of plaques and awards lining his desks and walls at home and in his office. Last year, he received two awards from the Carnival Development Committee for best writer and best calypso for 2008, The Brink, sung by Blade that year.
In 2007, the Carnival Development Committee recognised his accomplishments with a lifetime achievement award. Sir Prince, in addition to working in several capacities on the committee, served as its official doctor, free of cost, for over 30 years. He did that for the Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show as well.
Other awards he?s received include the National Vibes Star Project Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006; recognition for his outstanding contribution to calypso in 2004 from US-based E&K Promotions and an award for his contribution to Jaycees in 1999.
Sir Prince is getting set to jet off to New York, where he?ll be accepting a lifetime achievement award from the Antigua Progressive Society Inc, for his work in the medical community and his contributions to carnival, culture, calypso and groups. The presentation will be made at the organisation?s 75th anniversary banquet on Saturday.
Speaking of his abilities, the doctor was quite humble.
?I don?t have the talent or the gift,? he said. ?I have a passion for calypso. People like Shelly Tobitt (songwriter for King Short Shirt in the ?70s and ?80s) they have a gift.
?I gave Shelly a song one time and he sat down and played the guitar and came up with the melody right away. That?s a gift. I can?t do that. People like Onyan can do that.?
Sir Prince?s retirement from the music business over the carnival came as disappointing news for Burning Flames, the band he?s managed for the past three years, after former bandleader Oungku?s departure.