Last year, Guyana kicked off its first Carnival! The fetes, the food, and the festival were amazing and showcased Guyana’s burgeoning soca scene. Among the talents that came to the forefront was the stage at Kes the Band’s Tuesday on the Rocks was Guyanese soca youth, Jonathan “Lil Red” King.
The 25-year-old soca artiste has been singing since age ten, participating in secondary school competitions and even placing in the finals of Guyana’s Soca Monarch. His passion for music was inevitable as he is the son of powerhouse vocalist Michelle “Big Red” King and the grandson of noted theatre performer Desiree Edghill. As a touring artiste herself, his mother was able to connect him with influencers in the industry, including CEO of Vizion Sounds Records, Walter Fraser. Now that he has found his footing, King is looking to change the game.
Although a seasoned artiste, his soon-to-be-released album recorded at Vizion Sounds and produced by Drew Thoven is entitled “The Beginning.” When asked why he would choose this name for his sophomore album, he stated that the album was primarily composed of Carnival tunes and Guyana’s Carnival tradition is just beginning.
And what a Carnival he had!
King showcased his skills for visitors at Kes the Band’s Tuesday on the Rocks show where he rocked the crowd with “Cyah Dun” on Thoven’s Bamboo Fiah riddim. On Carnival Friday night, he performed the song alongside soca titan Machel Montano! While these opportunities would be the pinnacle of any other artiste’s career, King actually dreams of a collaboration with Trinidad’s own Voice.
“Voice is vibrating at the level - at the frequency I want to vibrate at.” At the age of 25, he is discovering a new and thoughtful side of himself that is affecting the direction of his music. In fact, he aims to usher in a new genre he calls subconscious soca. Unlike conscious music, this would go deeper than what your conscious mind can fathom and would be soca music for your soul.
What does this mean?
Consider Voice’s “Cheers to Life.” Although people love to hear the uptempo song in parties, they also can feel the energy of the positive lyrics like “from yuh wake up this morning, you’s a winner!” Positive music with a feel-good tempo. The inspirational tune landed Voice a Soca Monarch win in Trinidad and catapulted him to the forefront of soca. If this is the vibration Lil Red wants to match, who knows where we will see him in a few years.
In the meantime, you can find Jonathan “Lil Red” King on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Stay tuned for the official album release date and check him out performing at the ICC Women’s World T20 Cricket Tournament on November 17th, 2018.