What does Soca have to do with being a Mom?
We had the pleasure of chatting with Eva Wilson aka SocaMom a couple weeks ago and we wanted to share this experience with everyone else. Eva was born in the United States of America to Trinidadian parents and this shaped her perspective on life but especially her views on parenting. It also helped her put together her moniker as Trinidad is the home of Soca music. She is currently in her last year at law school.
Learning about how other mothers handle raising a family is how motherhood knowledge has been passed on since the beginning of time. Socamom.com continues that tradition using humor, sympathy, technology, and education.
We started our phone conversation with Eva around Soca music and immediately her sense of humour and how well she articulates herself compel you to listen to her every word. I do not know how it could be possible to have even more fun talking to someone unless it was in person. We hope you enjoy our discussion as much as we did. Find SocaMom’s Family Friendly Playlist by downloading Radial here.
Radial: As a mom, how do you feel about letting your kids listen to Soca music? Do you let them listen to everything?
SocaMom: One of the things that is important for me is to find music that is family friendly because you are going to meet people that are three or four generations away. Me…I am the first of my family to be born here. However you are going to have people who are maybe grandparents and they are still connected by the music and they want to introduce that [music] to their younger kids.
It is a little different from when I was young and my mom would tell me that they would have to sneak to listen to certain kinds of music or to follow certain steel bands or listen to certain calypsos. They would have to go around their parents because they would ask why are you listening to that. We [Eva and her husband] spend a lot more time in the car with the kids and you know they can’t fully understand what they’re hearing but after a while my kids will bust out and start singing something. And I’m like…wait…I thought you were listening to something and you didn’t know what you were hearing. But after a certain period of time, they pick up on those words, they pick up on those double entendres and the next thing you know I’m like, what are you even saying.
After this exchange we tell her that Radial would build a child-friendly playlist just for her. Radial cofounder, Andre, then recounts his story of hearing his daughter, who is three years old, sing, “..shake that bubblenut…”. We ask her how old her kids are.
SocaMom: They [her kids] are ten, eleven and seventeen. The stuff I listen to with the seventeen-year-old is totally different than what I listen to with the ten and eleven-year-olds. They at first, don’t catch it. They only really hear the [Trinidadian] accent with family. But after a while, if you give them a good two weeks, that is it! They can repeat the accent and all because they are under twelve. And as they say, if you are under twelve you can pick up the accent of wherever you are. I tell them, whatever you’re saying I need you to stop saying it [laughs].
SocaMom: So if he said, “…they are looking for King Crazy…”.
The stuff they listen to in Soca has no cursing but the double entendres that it has, they have to have the brain to be able to turn what the person has said into what they actually mean. I remember when I was younger and my mom and I were listening to Crazy. She thought it was hilarious the stuff that he was saying. With my kids, I know they are going to hear only what he said. So if he said, “…they are looking for King Crazy…”. They’re not going to hear the accent. They’re going to hear what mommy is listening to. Now that they are older I have to be more careful about what they listen to. Especially if they get really quiet because it means they are probably processing what he is saying.
Radial: What are your top three Soca songs?
SocaMom: Oh gosh! “That I am listening to right now?” I would say they are kind of older. She asks her eldest son, “What’s that song we were listening to in the car? Who is that by?” Oh yes, they listen to Bunji. They like Truck on De Road. We like Kerwin’s music and there is another Bunji that we like. Red Light District…so the two of us [her husband and herself] we happen to like that song but the others are not allowed to listen to that. He [Bunji Garlin] is really talented. I interviewed him a while back on my YouTube channel.
He can freestyle like anything. They also like Carnival Tabanca…it has a couple of rum mentions but it is ok. Also basically any and everything by Kes the Band. I know I can turn that on and let it play because it is family friendly.
Radial: Why did you stop doing music reviews?
SocaMom: I would say time. See, I am in my third year of law school now. So you’ll see there is a break in the amount of content that I was putting out my first two years. In the first year of law school I had: the three kids; married; the blog. It was a lot. I am not trying to fail [laughter]. The music reviews take me a little longer.
SocaMom: And people choose their music based on what everybody else is saying.
For me, that is somebody’s livelihood. And people choose their music based on what everybody else is saying. If I am calling myself SocaMom and I say this is garbage or I did not give it a chance or I didn’t listen to it more than once or I didn’t listen to the rest of the album or I didn’t do any background work. That would really mess up somebody’s money and I’m not trying to mess up anyone’s money. People like to be reckless with people’s reviews.
Radial: How do you identify as a Caribbean American Parent?
SocaMom: There are a lot of people like me. When I started this blog, you would be stunned by the people that came out of the woodworks. People I knew, that I thought I knew, I find out that their mom is Jamaican or their dad is from Barbados and I’m like wait…what?
A lot of us are scared to say something or are scared to try to identify outside of your house because people are quick to come at you and say “You are not real this or you are not real that”. And that kind of discounts how they self-identify. So I think that giving people the option of not having to leave yourself open for something like that. You can still enjoy the culture but not leave yourself open for any sort of negative criticism or feeling uncomfortable.
So being able to go to an app and that’s what it’s about, this is the thing, it’s almost like a learning experience for people who hear everything five years later. Being able to just listen to new music and not know exactly what you’re looking for, this [Radial] is something that is for someone just like me and there are a LOT of us. A LOT!
Radial: Why do you want to be so connected to the Caribbean?
SocaMom: Because when you’re here, it’s kind of like you’re dropped off at eighteen. So when I was in my house, I would come outside and say certain things and people would look at you like they never even heard those words before. It’s like you speak another language. Other things like when you go to school and you open your lunchbox and the other kids are like, “What is that?”, “Why does it smell like that?”. So you are almost in a country that is inside of another country the entire time you’re growing up. Then when you go out and make your own family. It’s kind of like you are left to hang, you have nothing to anchor yourself to or to hold on to.
Somebody like me, at eighteen, I may not have ever have gone into an international store. I would not know what I was looking for but I know I want to smell this certain thing or eat this certain thing but my parents would have made this for me. And you don’t have the grandmother that you could go across the street and show you how to make certain things. I didn’t see my grandma for twenty years because she was in St. Vincent and now I am an adult and we have to now pay for five people to head back, you don’t really get to go back like you used to when you were younger. My parents would send me back with my grandmother when I was a kid until maybe you were sixteen. Then you get to college and those bills start coming in, you don’t have the finances to connect yourself.
SocaMom: So people like me kind of want to figure out where you fit. Because you certainly don’t fit with the American way of raising your kids.
You don’t have any of that so you feel like an orphan because you were raised a certain way and then dropped off. So people like me kind of want to figure out where you fit. Because you certainly don’t fit with the American way of raising your kids. People look at my kids and are like, “Oh my gosh, they work?” and I’m like, “Yea!! They eat so yes they work, I worked when I was a kid so yes they work too.” My son gets up and does his chores in the morning and they [Americans] will ask, “Why don’t you let that boy sleep? and I respond, “Uhhhh because the dirt is not sleeping?” [laughter]. For moms like me, when we get together and talk, it is a place to be OK. It is ok to be a little tougher on your kid, It is ok to want better for your kids. That connection is just not feeling like you’re dangling out there once your parents have gone on about their business at the time.
Radial: If some of the fans want to reach out to you and connect, what’s the best way for them to do this?
Radial: Part of our discussion with SocaMom was for her to find out why we do what we do here at Radial. You can read that on her website. Click here to read her interview of us.
Thanks again to SocaMom for her time. We thoroughly enjoyed talking to her and we left with some great takeaways:
- There is a desire as a Caribbean American to grow your kids up with the same values you had
- Caribbean people in the diaspora want to figure out where they fit in
- Soca may not have swearing but the content can sometimes make it not child-friendly