*title taken from "Cheers To Life" by Voice
Soca Monarch 2016
Yes, as you thought (if you've been following DysChick on social media), Aaron "Voice" St. Louis won the International Soca Monarch crown. The 23-year-old singer took the title with his hugely popular "Cheers to Life."
The annual soca competition kicked off with a notable absence. Machel Montano, who has won the crown several times before, decided that last year would be his last time in the competition. This allowed the competition to be anyone's game. During the semi-finals, the artists would have to win over the live crowd with a song and stage show that would propel them to the finals. 20 artists made the cut.
Among them were Ricardo Drue, Farmer Nappy, Lyrikal, and radio personality Shal Marshall, who stated during his freestyle in the finals that we can now consider him an artist.
Despite a great lineup and strong performances, there was one clear favorite from the moment the show started.
Voice has had a busy Carnival season due to the popularity of his song "Cheers to Life." The lyrics have touched the people of Trinidad who are currently in the midst of a recession. The song serves as a reminder that, if nothing else is going right for you, be thankful for life. "From yuh wake up this morning, you's a winner!" Surely Voice is grateful this morning for waking up to find himself the winner, beating out artists who have performed in past Soca Monarch competitions.
Voice celebrates not only his success, but that of his close friend Akeem "Preedy" Chance, who took second place with"Veteran." Third place is being shared by seasoned performer and lead singer of the Roy Cape All Stars band, Blaxx and the only woman in the competition, Patrice Roberts. Her stage show was bare bones (and bare skin), but "Money Done" is an anthem for the self-reliant ladies who work hard and spend their money to party just as hard.
Although he did not enter the competition, Machel Montano did take the stage with his full band and guest artists at "the after party."
This was definitely a great show, despite the low turnout (and by "low turnout" I mean less than the 40,000 that can hold in the stadium). General admission was $200 TTD, while VIP cost $500 TTD and did not include food and drinks or even closer access to the stage. Those who did not make it to the Hasley Crawford Stadium on Fantastic Friday, had to wait until Saturday night to see the show. I wonder how many people actually paid the $30 USD for the recap.
Surprisingly, the current Soca Monarch Olatunji Yearwood did not place in the top three, despite a popular song and strong performance. Unlike in years past, no one can dispute that this win is well-deserved.
Congratulations to all competitiors and to all the soca artists who continue to push the music forward. Cheers!