Tizzy & El-a-Kru ready to jumpstart Carnival

Soca sensation Tanzania "Tizzy" Sebastian

The Carnival season is upon us once again and Tanzania “Tizzy” Sebastian and El A Kru, with three hard-hitting tunes already heating up the airwaves, are getting ready to jumpstart the Carnival.

OBSERVER Entertainment sat down with the lead singer on her return from Atlanta Carnival to get insight into plans for the upcoming season and find out what she’s been up to since Carnival 2012.

“Since I have been back (from Atlanta) I have been in rehearsals nonstop because Girl Power is coming up this weekend and then all the other shows so we getting ready for the season,” Sebastian said.

“We have quite a few tricks up our sleeve so just know things are going to be mad and just know for sure whenever Tizzy and El A Kru come, the Carnival now start,” she revealed.

But while the focus has now returned home for the experienced songstress, work never really stopped.

“You might have thought Carnival stuff finished in August but everything I was doing in Carnival I was doing after it until now – recording, promotions, travelling, the whole bit,” Sebastian said.

“When Carnival is done, we have music to get ready for Trinidad, New York Labour Day is going on, Miami Carnival, Cayman Islands Carnival, St Thomas, all the different carnivals,” she explained.

The entertainer – who has been with El A Kru since she joined in 1999 – said over the years, the band’s calendar has gotten busier and the work to keep growing has become year-round.

“You want to touch on and make sure your music is being heard in all the different carnivals so you have to make sure your material is up to date and can stand on its own,” Sebastian explained.

El A Kru’s growing reputation worldwide means Tizzy has been able to meet many of the targets she set herself when starting out in the business, but the young singer said she still has plans to go further yet.

“I used to always say my goal was to take soca music internationally. We have gone as far as Belgium and France, which is quite an achievement …When you can take your music to those countries and be able to wow the crowds the way we did, that is a great, great accomplishment,” Sebastian said.

“I intend to do more things like that. We haven’t been to Australia. We haven’t been to Africa. We haven’t been to other parts of the world for them to be able to hear soca music from Antigua. They have heard maybe Machel and some of the others and we want to be able to follow in those footsteps,” she added.

And fueling the seasoned soca artiste’s burning desire to keep growing is the memory of her late father, who passed earlier this year after losing a long and hard-fought battle with cancer.

“My father is a musician first and foremost and was an amazing father. He has always told us to be strong, to work hard, to be committed in what you do and no matter what, try something. You never know what will happen if you don’t try,” Sebastian said.

“He has imparted some great knowledge on myself and the rest of my siblings and he was a great motivator and to see all of the struggles he has been through, I intend to make sure that none of my sisters have to go through and nobody coming after me has to go through that. So he is my motivation,” she added.

Sebastian has always kept family close to her and she is proud that after years of working with her sisters and watching them mature as part of El A Kru’s Soca Animal dancers they have been able to move on and stand independently.

“I tried to build up my sisters and give them a platform to be able to harness their talent and just the way they have been given the platform and develop, they have reached a standard where they can move on and do their own thing. So now we have to groom some other people,” Sebastian said.

It means new dancers will be joining up with Tizzy this Carnival season and while the entertainer is revealing very little else of what is to come, she is promising it will be worthwhile to stay tuned.