Without exception, these six soca artists are taking soca, a genre of Caribbean musich from their home islands to the world.
Bunji Garlin is taking soca music onto new platforms. His 2013 hit Differentology won the Soul Train Award for Best International Performance and was featured in an episode of the popular ABC drama Grey’s Anatomy. Bunji has won the International Soca Monarch title four times and has released 10 albums, the latest of which is The Vikings. Recently he and his wife Fay-Ann Lyons lit up the crowd on BET’s 106 and Park before heading out to continue a world tour.
Teddyson John is an accomplished keyboardist and percussionist who has split his loyalties between soca and jazz. This mix has given him the ability to develop a likable lyrical sound which allows him to articulate the groovy soca tracks he favors. One of the 2014 headliners for the St Lucia Jazz Festival, John has ambitions of taking his brand of soca international.
Soca domination will shift from Trinidad to the smaller islands in the region if Gamal Doyle aka Skinny Fabulous has anything to do with it. The St Vincent & the Grenadines national flings his 135 pounds of pure steel all over stages and belts out tracks like Head Bad, Monster and General which gets even the stiffest of humans moving. His throaty voice, more reflective of a dancehall DJ, is commanding and it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort before you are obeying his instructions to have a good time.
Tian Winter’s love for R&B laces his tracks which has brought a new groovy sound to Antigua & Barbuda’s soca scene. Winter had a breakthrough year in 2008, with the help of powerhouse producers, who created hits for Machel, Alison Hinds, and Claudette Peters. He won the Jumpy and Groovy Soca Monarch titles at the 2012 Antigua Carnival and Groovy Soca title in 2013 with Roaming. Already selling out venues across the UK and North America, Tian with his lady dancers iCandy and the band iConic are about to push Antigua’s soca sound into overdrive.
Machel Montano is clearly one of the happiest men alive as year after year, he delivers hit after hit to soca music lovers. With a rag in his hand and his feet off the ground, Machel continues to bring music to an industry that he’s made his home for more than 30 years. He’s won both the Power Soca and Groovy Soca categories at the International Soca Monarch show. Selling out shows at Madison Square Gardens, his artistry and stage presence is unmatched. Machel’s musical collaborations include Pit Bull, Shaggy, Patrice Roberts, David Rudder, and Beenie Man.
Kerwin Dubois is one of Trinidad’s power players taking soca global as Arrow, the Soca King of the World did 30 years before. The ultimate musical collaborator, Kerwin paid his dues producing hits for Machel Montano, Shall Marshall, Denise Belfon, and the 2011 power track Wotless for Kes the Band. In 2012, Kerwin delivered Baccanalist which showed that he could stand in his own space and deliver tracks to contend with his peers. He went on to win the Soca Songwriter of the year for I AMSOCA, Baddist, and Bacchanalist; Groovy Soca of the Year and Soca Song of the Year for Bacchanalist; and Best Collaboration I AM SOCA. In 2014, he gladly took away Machel’s Groovy Soca crown with Too Real.