The competition is on for tomorrow at Paradise Lawn for a spot in the finals.
This energiser bunny artiste has been in the soca vineyard for ages, as a front-man for El A Kru. His seemingly unlimited stamina while on the stage is legendary – from his running east to west and back again to climbing the trellis. Born Glenroy Joseph, the singer has also made a foray into the calypso arena.
A natural singer, Black Mahdi has been a staple of the annual summer festival for years, in both calypso and soca. While his luck at the eliminations stage has been patchy, he gets high marks for tenacity and smooth vocals.
A little woman with a big voice and the confidence to go along with it, Claudette “CP” Peters has a lock on the title Antigua’s Soca Queen. She also has multiple Jumpy and Groovy Party Monarch crowns to justify her claim to fame. A former Miss Teen Splash, this soca diva has made her mark with the Anglican Youth Choir and then as a lead singer with outfits like the Dread and the Baldhead and Da Bhann. She now resides with Taxik.
De Lyricks Man
He came of age with the legendary St Joseph’s Academy Glee Club and would go on to be crowned Junior Calypso Monarch. He made the crossover to the big stage and has been a worthy contender with the veterans. Not to be limited to one genre, this keyboardist with the distinctive wailing voice has also been a Party Monarch contender for several seasons, offering up noteworthy songs.
At home in several genres of music, the talented Jashan Hughes has been courting Party Monarch title honours for several seasons. The Chezekake Factory lead vocalist knows what it’s like to reach the Party Monarch winner’s circle, having had runner-up success.
This transplanted Jamaican is at home on reggae tracks as he is on R&B and soca. He’s been attached to Da Bhann, Taxik and Itchy Feet. His smooth-as-velvet voice has pumped out crowd favourites like My Love and Hearts.
With “hee” and “haw” as lyrical staples, Danskie’s name is preceded by king because he once lifted the Party Monarch crown, though back then he was known as Wanski. This artiste is proud of the fact he’s toured internationally, with a reggae outfit, and that he’s straddled the calypso and soca divide, annually, as a crowd favourite.
Laurena’s growth and development in her few short years in the soca arena have been evident. Coming from her breakout year when, by sound, she was regularly mistaken for the top female soca artiste, the Tonic Band lead vocalist has carved out her own niche. There’s no confusion now; her powerful vocals are matched by her confidence when she mounts the stage.
He’s second generation Jungle Family, with Lion, Leopard and Tiger from yesteryear fame as part of his tribe. Expect this artiste to deliver groovy, solid numbers that will make you … well … groove and sing. He’s a perennial contender on the night of the finals with engaging, fun performances.
By any other name, he’s a crowd-pleasing, hit-maker just the same. Whether you’re calling him David Edwards, Krokus, or Lord Satalyte, one can understand the logics in the moniker Natural Rampler. He’s never received the judges’ nod, but he is, obviously, the people’s choice, “rampling” up the place and getting the most crowd response year after year.
Maybe it’s the Trinidadian-Antiguan blend. Maybe it’s in the genes, passed on to him from his regional radio personality mom. Whatever it is, Ricardo Drue has soca prowess. From one year to the next, this polished artiste has raised his game, bringing it hard to the winners and making a case for being included among the cream of the crop.
This artiste proves that you can take the man out of Antigua but you can’t take Antigua out of the man and that culture, like blood, flows through his veins. A resident of USVI, Super Mario makes his way home annually, to contribute to the body of music and to get into the fray. A member of Taxik in recent times, he brings good vibes to the season and the Party Monarch stage.
A voice like liquid velvet, a sweet and equally unarming disposition and a 1,000 megawatt smile are some of the ways to describe this soca royalty. Tian Winter came of age in the Party Monarch arena with songs for the ladies and lyrical tips for men to raise their game. In short order, he would rise to the top, as the Jumpy and Groovy Monarch, and solidify his place as one of Antigua’s preeminent entertainers.
If this were strictly a singing competition, then few artistes could match Lincoln Stanislaus Jr. A one-time lead vocalist with El A Kru, Blade is a respected artiste on the local entertainment circuit. A natural crooner, he had displayed mastery, particularly in the Groovy contest. Blade has also spread his wings into the calypso arena, making runner-up waves on his debut a few years ago.
He’s a one-time Junior Calypso Monarch, King of the Calypso World and Calypso King. A perennial finalist on the calypso stage, Young Destroyer finds a way to let his life and the lessons he’s learned, influence his art. While calypso – where social and political commentary hold sway – shows his serious side, Leston Jacobs displays his lighter side as a Party Monarch hopeful.
Georgette “Baby Face” Mack is passionate about singing. She has been entering the Party Monarch Competition for several years, finally advancing to the semi-finals this year in both the groovy and jumpy segments. Baby Face also won the International Karaoke Competition that was held in Barbados in March 2012.
This artiste caught our eye in 1998 when after singing Machel Montano’s Footsteps. He became the first male to win the Optimist Petit Competition. Since then he went on to have some success in the Junior Calypso Monarch Competition placing in the 2nd runner-up position in 2002. Bernie now writes and arranges his own music and recently formed the Pure Pressure Band with friends.
Bless Iye’s love of music has had him singing reggae for many years, even recording with legend Junior Reid. Recently he threw his hat into the soca ring receiving some notice with last year’s Sing Gyal offering. This is Bless Iye’s first foray into the semi-finals.
General P is another long time reggae artiste whose love of music brought him over to the ever popular soca stage. General P advances to the semi-finals for the first time this year and hopes that soca fans will be seeing much more of him in the future.
Gordon “G-Flow” Finch entered the Party Monarch Competition for the first time in 2010. His Soca Trance song was so well received that he has been back ever since. G-Flow particularly enjoys singing groovy songs and plans to incorporate other genres of music into his soca in hopes of widening his fan base.
Janine Jarvis grew up in a musical family with a father who was the Carnival co-ordinator for many years. It is therefore not surprising that Janine, an avid singer for the past 10 years, has hopes of establishing herself as a soca artiste. This is Janine’s second year in the Party Monarch Competition and she promises that we will be hearing much more from her in the future.
Kay B is an entertainer in the Tourism sector who took her love of music to the stage. Kay B sang with the Tonik band for several years and with their encouragement and grooming entered the Party Monarch Competition. Her advancement to the semifinals is not always a given but her songs are always well received.
King Sonic has a passion for music that he indulges by writing, singing and playing music. Although he no longer resides in Antigua he enjoys the opportunity to showcase his talent through the Party Monarch Competition. King Sonic hopes the creative, energetic and fun vibes he brings to the Party Monarch stage will encourage other young Antiguans and Barbudans with musical talent to nurture those skills.
This “man of peace and joy” has been singing reggae for many years. When presented with a soca riddim in 2006 he decided to try something new and entered the Party Monarch Competition. Kiyode Erasto hopes his music can invoke the spirit of our ancestors in Carnival, encourage better moral values and promote positive vibes.
Nadia likes the energy associated with soca and as such has chosen to express herself via this genre of music. This is only her second time entering the competition and she has already made it to the semi-finals. She hopes she has what it takes to go all the way to Bacchanal Saturday.
Shani has sung with bands such as High Intensity and Tonik before launching a solo career. Shani thinks it takes a special personality to sing soca and she thinks she has just that and more. She entered the Party Monarch Competition with the advent of the groovy segment in 2007 and made it to the finals with the song Can’t Get Enough.
Tammy has never met a stranger in her life and if there were such a prize, she would be awarded Ms Congeniality every year that she enters the competition. The self-proclaimed “ladies defender”, this artiste admonishes us to “walk out the door” of bad relationships and to love ourselves more. After a one-year hiatus, Tammy is back in the competition and hopes to make it all the way to the finals again.
The multi-talented Promise is a singer, songwriter, recording/performing artiste and guitarist whose albums feature music from the dancehall, reggae, soca and techno genres. Promise has been entering the Party Monarch Competition for well over 5 years and is a regular on the semifinals stage.