The 2016 International Soca Monarch (ISM) competition has experienced a wide range of criticism due to the number of changes that it has implemented (i.e. from the complete removal of the Power/Groovy categories to the postponing of the announcement of the winner(s)).
— Sherisse☄ (@Sherisse09) February 7, 2016
Artistes have complained about aspects of the contractual agreements that go into performing at the show while listeners have expressed concerns about the perceived politics involved in the judging process. This has lead to some of the popular Soca vocalists/musicians opting out of the event altogether over the last few years. However, with the crowning of a relative newcomer as the champion…
Voice is a winnerrrrrrrrr #ISM
— Ria Rambally (@Ree_la_la) February 7, 2016
Have we seen a return to the competition’s roots?
Since its inception in 1993, the ISM was designed as “a veritable conveyor belt for new Soca artistes year after year; it offers the opportunity for instant name recognition for those who have been merely marking time on the slippery periphery of the show-biz radar”(socamonarch.net). But with the exception of JW and Blaze in 2010 with their monster hit “Palance”, the monarch title has predominantly gone to established artists like Super Blue, Machel Montano, Iwer George, and Bunji Garlin. So with 23-year-old Aaron ‘Voice’ St Louis winning this year’s competition, he has shown that younger artistes still have a chance. This is further supported by the second place going to newcomer Preedy and third place being a tie between Patrice and Blaxx. While some of these performances did not have the same visual effects that may accompany more seasoned artists with bigger budgets (e.g. jetpacks and harnesses), the crowd response clearly played a major role in deciding the winner. Additionally, all of this seems to piggy-back off of the 2015 Groovy Soca Monarch win of Olatunji which took the nation by storm last year.
It has been said that the ISM competition can be viewed as a musical visa which could unite us all. Do you agree or disagree? Were there other titles that deserved the crown? What about the new structure of the ISM? If given the chance to produce the show yourself, what would you do differently? Here is what some of you thought on Twitter…
All those tigers that Salty made roar didn’t even help him ?????? #ISMChubble
— NΣ§§IΣ™ (@gottaluvness69) February 7, 2016
Ola suit couldn’t get 3 yards of cloth with the same pattern? #ISMChubble
— Dirty Schweppes (@QuaceyMUFC) February 7, 2016
Young performers like The Voice needs to be encouraged for bringing lyrics & vocals back to the soca monarch #ISMChubble
— ah is a trini (@agodtt) February 7, 2016
Things that you may not know about Voice:
- Voice is a member of Full Blown Entertainment who has co-written hits like “Too real”, “Like Ah Boss”, “EPIC” and “Unlimited Vibes” (Just to name a few).
- Voice released two singles in 2013 called “Come Fi D Wuk” featuring Machel Montano and “Get Thru”.
- Voice placed second in the bMobile & SynergyTV Soca Star Season 7 competition.
- Voice is the youngest winner of the Soca Monarch title and has gone on record to say that he was surprised at making the cut for the finals.
We at Radial believe that the future of Soca is in good hands as we continue to provide a platform to support both new and established artistes of the genre. And just as a sneak peek into the future, at least one of the artistes mentioned above will be featured as a Radial partner in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
Are you a Soca lover? Would you like to share your views on all things Soca/Carnival? Do you want to contribute to taking Soca to the world? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can feature your thoughts on the website.