Behind the Music: The Hand of the King (of Soca)

Behind the Music featuring Marvin Fermin

Behind the Music featuring Marvin Fermin


Unless you have been living under a rock, or you are simply new to the soca scene, the undisputed King of soca, Machel Montano, needs no introduction. Machel has one of the longest careers of any of his contemporary soca superstars. He has hosted multiple sold out shows all around the world. There is never a dull moment if you are part of the Monk Music family.

Unsurprisingly, there are many moving parts when it comes to creating the Machel Montano experience (management, production, distribution, publishing, branding, legal management) and to us looking in, it all comes together like magic. Needless to say, the team that works hard behind the scenes knows all too well about what it takes to make this magic happen every year. And very few people know better than Machel’s point person, the renaissance man himself, the hand of the king and this week’s featured Behind the Music individual, Marvin Fermin.

Behind the Music featuring Marvin Fermin

Radial: Marvin, You know the routine. Who is Marvin Fermin and what do you do?

Marvin:  I am the person who is sought out by others to get things done. As the firstborn of 4, I grew up with my mother and grandparents. This upbringing gave me those good “ole school” values and morals that people nowadays look for. I “became man” when I left my mother’s house at 17 and had to go out there and do something. I explored a range of jobs from being a technician installing cables to delivering materials for a hardware store and I still carry that determination for going further.

Fast forward 13 years, I met up with Machel and having acquired a vast amount of professionalism and knowledge in the industry, he asked me to join him on his journey. As with any employer, he did his background checks and found out that we are related in some way, our families are joined somewhere around 3 generations before us. So the connection now was more sealed and comforting. Add another 10 years and I am now totally in charge of everything surrounding him. Trusted as much, I basically can make the earth move under me if the situation calls for it.

Radial: You probably have some really incredible stories brother! What is one of the craziest thing that happened while on the job?

Marvin: I can name five craziest things but I’ll give you one.

[Editor’s note: We should really be more careful about what we wish for. The first story that Marvin gave to us was just too crazy to share and we had to call him this morning while he was at MIA airport to request another in place of the first.] 

Marvin: This one time during one of Machel’s performances with a full band, crew, stage and the works, we (Machel and I) happened to be wearing the same style of pants and hats. During the gig, one of the patrons in the crowd pointed out to Machel that there was a massive rip in his pants (think from crotch to knee). Machel then came off stage and immediately asked me to source materials to repair the pants — like needle and thread or pins. I looked everywhere but people don’t bring things like this to a concert apparently! So here we are backstage and Machel’s solution for this wardrobe malfunction was for me to give him mine. I’m not going to lie, I was reluctant because all I had on below them were my underwear, but the show must go on. He is the boss and frankly people don’t come to concerts to see Marvin. So we made the trade and in exchange for my brand new jeans, I received Machel’s soaking wet, ripped-up pair. I remember Machel even gave me a shoutout on stage for helping fix the wardrobe issue but needless to say, for the rest of the show I stayed backstage with a towel wrapped around my waist!

It was only after the show was completely done and everyone had left, I was able to walk to the car and drive home in my towel. Lesson learned. Always keep an extra pair of everything in the car.

Marvin Fermin and Machel Montano 2017
Double M: Marvin and Machel

Lesson learned. Always keep an extra pair of everything in the car.

Radial: Hahaha. I’m sure you could sell those pants on eBay now. So what exactly is a typical day like? What’s it like working with Machel?

Marvin: Try covering 29 hours of work in 24 hours. I usually have to get up way before Machel, have his clothing ready, have our destination mapped out, have breakfast ready, have whatever daily communication prepared for him and THEN wake him up. It’s like having a naughty child getting out of bed for school. I balance two phones; not because I can, but because I relate and communicate with so many people daily just to have our day run smoothly and free of incidents. If we go out publicly, I have to arrange security, parking, entry and exit plans. One would think that “it’s Machel Montano” and he would have loads of cash, NO… I am the one with the cash, as he never carries around money. Then when the day is over, I go over tomorrow’s plan and make sure there is nothing unresolved before I head home. It is a never ending job, no time schedule, no stationary office space, no same day.

Stag Bragging Rights: Marvin vs. Bunji Garlin

Radial: Be honest Marvin, have you ever been star-struck? Which artist would you say is even cooler than someone would think?

Marvin: I have never been the type of guy to go wacko over someone else. I’m kinda engulfed in the stardom life already and seeing another superstar is just plain normal for me. I guess it is because I relate their lives to the one I manage. I just imagine their personality and don’t even bother to rush them. But, if you want to know who is the person I’d love to be around (again) then I would count my blessings and hope Rihanna considers me this time around.

Honestly, the artist who everyone sees differently is Machel. He has been subjected to all sorts of made up personalities that when you meet him, it’s a totally different person. Machel would sit down and play on the PlayStation with you for the entire night or he would watch you cook in the kitchen like a student. Hats off, people generally have this stigma about him and when you’re allowed in his world, you see a person who you never saw.

But, if you want to know who is the person I’d love to be around (again) then I would count my blessings and hope Rihanna considers me this time around.

Radial: You heard it here first. Machel Montano prefers PlayStation over Xbox (j/k). Oh and Ri Ri, if you are reading this, a Machel X Rihanna soca track would be incredible. Just call Marvin and he would take care of the rest.

On a separate note, we heard through the grapevine that you were a good cook. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Do you have any plans to take your culinary skills further?

Marvin:  Yes, I went to culinary school, I love cooking, It’s a passion. I love seeing people eat healthy and enjoying what they eat. I have looked at the general public and noticed that most people do not have healthy eating habits. So, I did some research and made up some meals without many of the traditional ingredients that we are used to. On Saturdays, when I am not in the Monk territory, I do soups– healthy, natural and tasty soups. The response has been overwhelming and now I am faced with doing more than I ever anticipated.

I have some plans in place for one of the best eating spots ever– where the food is prepared in a much healthier way, as I am more organized in the kitchen than any other place. Hopefully, by the end of the year, you can come sit and enjoy a meal that raises those taste buds and satisfies the heart.

As for furthering my skills, my aim is to create a different but exciting way of enjoying the foods that we eat.

Sharing smiles: Like father, like daughter.

Radial: Count us in! Ok last question. As a parent that travels a lot, how do you cope? And what advice would you give to parents that are constantly on the go but still love to keep connected with their kid?

Marvin: Firstly, never hide anything from your children, never put them to believe other things. It is hard at times being away from my daughter. Although I missed a few PTA meetings and sports meet, I compensate that with respect for what she does and giving her the most undivided attention. As a father to a beautiful daughter, life can only serve you injustice (jokingly) as you see a complete repeat of your past life. There has always been a space shared between fathers and daughters — that’s an untouchable space where nothing can interfere with it. I try my best to provide for her and protect her from the pack of wolves. At the same time, I encourage her to embrace her own life experiences so she can have that choice and learning curve. As she grows from being a daddy’s girl to an amazing young lady, I look at her development and I am happy because I see the lessons emanating from her.

We have a very complex relationship, I travel and she’s angry at the world. When I return, she is the happiest of all. The best advice that I can give any parent is: don’t overexpose kids to social media, don’t flaunt them on your page (that’s for adults), don’t punish severely and don’t over-reward. My daughter is 12, going on 13 and she’s the replicate of me. She wants to become a chef when she grows up and she doesn’t want to work for a superstar, she wants to become one.

Radial: Your daughter seems to have the right mindset! And we hope that we can one day try some of the soup you mentioned. It is always a pleasure catching up with you and thanks for sharing your insights with the world. All the best brother!

You can follow Marvin on Instagram at

Behind the Music: The people that make Carnival and Soca

Rondell Paul interviewed for Behind the Music

Behind the Music featuring Rondell Paul

You may already know about the biggest street party on Earth, Carnival. It features soca, sun, food, friends and perpetual dancing in the streets. Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is an annual event held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. As we continue to take our culture to the world, we will feature the hardworking individuals and teams that tirelessly push the industry behind the scenes to help create this unforgettable experience every year. This is, Behind the Music.

For our first segment we wanted to feature the man behind the visuals of the music you love. You might ask, “Visuals for an audio experience? What do they mean?” If you can’t guess, music needs an introduction and Rondell creates that first visual point of contact, the cover art.

Rondel Paul. The Man behind Soca Music's cover art
Rondell Paul and Royalty Club: Behind the Music

Radial: OK Rondell. Plain talk, bad manners, who is Rondell Paul and what is The Royalty Club?

Rondell: I am a Trinidadian entrepreneur, creative and philanthropist.  I cofounded The Royalty Club with Jarrod Placide-Raymond, Aaron Rocke and Yvan Mendoza as a design agency specialising in Web Design & Development, Print Design, Brand Development and Event Management. I currently direct our digital experience projects. With 11-plus years in the industry, Royalty Club has carved out a strong niche in digital media and marketing. Through my passion for design and technology, I hope to make it easier for us to interact with digital devices. Whether it be mobile phones, computers, television and in the future: mixed reality (augmented and virtual).

I hope to make it easier for us to interact with digital devices, be it mobile phones, computers, television and in the future: mixed reality (augmented and virtual).

Radial: Wow! You’re a well rounded designer then? You cover all the bases, how did you get started?

Rondell: My journey in media began in 2005 as a graphic designer at the Express Production House. This was the internal creative department for One Caribbean Media – which was then called Caribbean Communications Network. I moved to Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) in 2007 and had the opportunity to nurture my digital design ability.

Together with Andrew Manswell Jr., we created what is now the standard for media houses in the Caribbean – digital video archive, live streams of news broadcasts and national events and social media pages.

Most recently I took on the role of digital designer at IUGO Digital Media (a subsidiary of Lonsdale Saatchi and Saatchi). At IUGO, I spearhead the creative processes behind digital engagement campaigns at the agency. One of the craziest yet most fulfilling projects I have worked on to date is producing the live stream broadcast of T&T Carnival in 2010. It was one of CNMG’s most demanding endeavors at the time but it was worth it. We received messages from citizens abroad expressing their appreciation for being able to see the beauty of Carnival live.

One of the craziest yet most fulfilling projects I have worked on to date is producing the live stream broadcast of T&T Carnival in 2010

Radial: From design to live streaming, how do you do it? Can you walk us through your creative process?

Rondell: Well, when I create cover art, I always start with the song. I listen to it a couple times and I try to find a way to connect. Once that connection is made, the general concept for the design materialises itself naturally to me. I see the end product in my head.

Now, to go from a mental visual to an actual physical product, I start with the typeface design in Adobe Illustrator. From there, I move to Adobe Photoshop where I add more elements (with each layer generating more depth) as the design comes alive.

Sometimes I share these breakdowns on my Snapchat and Instagram Stories. When I design covers it’s not just to put some fancy text on a pretty background. I really try to set the listener in the right frame of mind to receive the music. Design is not just graphics anymore, it’s about creating an experience for your audience.

That’s why every year I do something new to keep pushing the bar. One way to do this was when I pitched an animated cover for the Sando Riddim to Kasey of Precision Productions. It’s a minimal cover but some subtle things make it one of my favorites. For instance, the fireworks used is actual fireworks footage from an event held in San Fernando. I adjusted the bursts so it pops in time with the music.


When I design covers it’s not just to put some fancy text on a pretty background, I really try to set the listener in the right frame of mind to receive the music. Design is not just graphics anymore, it’s about creating an experience for your audience.

Radial: Jeez Rondell, that cover art is AMAZING! What do you do outside of the carnival season?

Rondell: Outside of Carnival, it’s business as usual. The work continues with brand development, UI/UX work for web and mobile development projects. I also have event promotional artwork and a couple personal projects scattered in between. I can’t share anything new right now but I can say that some cover artwork for 2018 Carnival will have an alternate reality to them.

Radial: Alright, fair enough. We’ll harass you for a sneak peek another time. What advice would you give to people who are interested in getting started in the industry?

Rondell: Find a mentor. Be it a teacher, another artist locally or even a connection with someone online. When you do this, you tap into experience beyond your years as well as insights into the industry beyond your knowledge. Do not look at it from a design perspective alone.

There really is no limit to how much you can learn. In our digital age there’s little to no barrier that prevents you from accessing information to learn more. The more you learn, the more your design abilities grow. You find yourself able to execute new design techniques and in turn that helps you to define your own design style.

Find a mentor even if you don’t think you do, be it a teacher, another artist locally or even making a connection with someone online.

Lastly, learn how to run a business. Especially if you intend on freelancing. As a freelancer, you are the CEO, the accountant and the designer. As much Photoshop tips and tricks you pick up, you should also understand how to develop contracts and learn best practices for invoicing. Treat it as if you were running your own an ad agency.

Radial: That is extremely true Rondell, I hope the right people heed those wise words. On behalf of the Radial Team we wanted to thank you for sharing your time with us and the readers.

All the best to you brother!

You can view Rondell’s cover art collection here:

Bonus: We created a playlist with the songs to match Rondell’s cover art on Radial. We hope you enjoy!

Playlist for Rondell Paul Behind the Music
Behind the Music Rondell Paul Playlist

Radial iPhone 7 Contest Giveaway

Hey Soca newbies, Soca fans and Soca fanatics.

Thank you for your continued support over the last several months. With Carnival upcoming, everyone is talking about all the great soca music for the season. This conversation is usually very entertaining but it is all over the place e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp etc. We wanted everyone to have that conversation in one place. We released an update to our FREE app Radial which adds Social features around the music. With WhereDPump‘s help we wanted to kick off the launch of Social with a contest for one lucky Soca fan to win an iPhone 7. (And make sure to check out WhereDPump’s app that showcases all the top events for the Carnival season).

We created a special page just to help everyone look at the entries. You can find it here 


Here is how it works:

Every Wednesday till Carnival 2017, we will choose a Lyric from a popular song.

WEEK 2 STARTING FEBRUARY 8TH: Our choice is Workout by Nailah Blackman and Kes. Send us your best workout face or pose. Be as creative as you want. Listen to the song on Radial and join the conversation for a Bonus entry. Enjoy and keep up the positivity.

Let us see what ‘Workout’ means to you.

WEEK 1 STARTING FEBRUARY 1ST : To kick it off, we chose the song Buss Yuh Head by Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin and the lyric will be ‘Stink and Dutty‘. If you are not familiar, Stink and Dutty (Dirty) usually refers to the appearance of a character called ‘Jab Jab’ or ‘Jab Molassie’. It involves paint, mud and sweat. Your entry could be a picture or video looking ‘stink and dutty’ (this could mean a pose after you just woke up or even a video of you getting on ‘stink and dutty’ in a fete). Be creative! This does not mean that have to be you dressed up like a Jab Jab.

This is all about what does ‘Stink and Dutty’ mean to you.

  • The Contest is open to everyone. As long you love Soca music and Carnival, this is for you.
  • The Winner will be chosen randomly. One (1) winner will receive one (1) Apple iPhone 7
  • If you are chosen you will be notified by email. If you do not respond within 7 days, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes your real name and a contact email. We do not track any of this information for marketing or third-party purposes.
  • This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. Yabil INC and our subsidiary Yabil Ltd. is not held liable to honor warranties, exchanges or customer service.
  • The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
  • When does it Start? NOW.
  • When does it End? February 28th, 2017.
  • What does it Cost? Nothing. Entry is Free. You will have to strike a good pose and share it with us though.

Here are the Rules:

If you use Twitter:

1/ Follow @RadialTT
2/ ReTweet our instructions on our Twitter account
3/ Tweet or Reply with a pic/video of your ‘stinkest and duttiest’ face/pose using the hashtag #RadialisSoca
Get a Bonus Entry if you ‘Join the Conversation’ on the song ‘Buss Yuh Head’ on Radial’s app

If you use Facebook:

1/ Like our Facebook Page Radial Music
2/ Share our post with the instructions
3/ Share or reply with a pic/video of your ‘stinkest and duttiest’ face/pose using the hashtag #RadialisSoca
Get a Bonus Entry if you ‘Join the Conversation’ on the song ‘Buss Yuh Head’ on Radial’s app


If you use Instagram:

1/ Follow Radial Music
2/ Like our post with the instructions
3/ Post a pic/video of your ‘stinkest and duttiest’ face/pose using the hashtag #RadialisSoca
Get a Bonus Entry if you ‘Join the Conversation’ on the song ‘Buss Yuh Head’ on Radial’s app

Soca to the World!

– Radial Team


Radial Giveaway Contest Rules

Radial Giveaways:
Official Rules

No purchase required to enter or win

 1.    ELIGIBILITY:  Radial Giveaways (the “Giveaways”) is open to everyone.  Employees and contractors of Yabil Inc, their advertising or promotion agencies, those involved in the production, development, implementation or handling of Giveaways, any agents acting for, or on behalf of the above entities, their respective parent companies, officers, directors, subsidiaries, affiliates, licensees, service providers, prize suppliers any other person or entity associated with the Giveaways (collectively “Giveaway Entities”) and/or the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members (whether related or not) of each such employee, are not eligible.  All U.S., federal, state and local and Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void in Quebec, Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law.

2.    SPONSOR:  The Giveaways are sponsored by Yabil Ltd, 24 Auzonville Heights, Tunapuna, Trinidad (“Sponsor”).

3.    AGREEMENT TO OFFICIAL RULES:  Participation in the Giveaway constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding.  Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.

4.    ENTRY PERIOD:  The start and end dates/times of each Giveaway (the “Entry Period”) will be posted on the applicable Giveaway site.

5.    ENTRY:  To enter a Giveaway, follow the instructions on the Giveaway site.  Submission will result in one (1) entry.  The number of times you can enter the Giveaway will be posted on the applicable Giveaway site.  The use of any agencies or automated software to submit entries will void all entries submitted by that person.

6.    WINNER SELECTION:  At the conclusion of the Entry Period, Sponsor will select the name(s) of the potential winner(s) in a random drawing of all eligible entries received during the Entry Period (winner(s) may be selected by other methods as described on the Giveaway site).  The number of winners to be selected in a specific Giveaway will be posted on the applicable Giveaway site.  The odds of being selected as a potential winner depend on the number of eligible entries received during the Entry Period.  Potential winners will be contacted via email and will be asked to provide their full name, age and mailing address within a specified time period.  If a potential winner does not respond within the timeframe stated in the notification email, the Sponsor may select an alternate potential winner in his/her place at random from all entries received during the Entry Period (alternate winner(s) may be selected by other methods as described on the Giveaway site).  Limit one (1) prize per household per year.

7.    REQUIREMENTS OF THE POTENTIAL WINNER(S):  Except where prohibited, the potential winner(s) may be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release (the “Affidavit/Release”) within seven (7) days of being notified.  If a potential winner fails to sign and return the Affidavit/Release within the required time period, an alternate entrant will be selected in his/her place in a random drawing of all entries received.  Acceptance of a prize constitutes consent to use winner’s name and likeness for editorial, advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation, except where prohibited by law.  In the event the potential winner of any prize is a Canadian resident, he/she will be required to correctly answer a time-limited mathematical question to be administered by email/mail to receive the prize.

8.    PRIZE(S):  The prize(s) (including each prize’s approximate retail value) available to be won in a specific Giveaway will be posted on the Giveaway site.  No cash or other substitution may be made, except by the Sponsor, who reserves the right to substitute a prize with another prize of equal or greater value if the prize is not available for any reason as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion.  The winners are responsible for any taxes and fees associated with receipt or use of a prize.

9.    GENERAL CONDITIONS:  In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Giveaway is impaired in any way for any reason, including, but not limited to fraud, virus, or other technical problem, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Giveaway to address the impairment and then resume the Giveaway in a manner that best conforms to the spirit of these Official Rules; or (b) award the prizes at random from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment.  The Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Giveaway or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner.  Any attempt by any person to undermine the legitimate operation of the Giveaway may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law.  The Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.  In case of a dispute as to the owner of an entry, entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the screen name from which the entry is made.  The authorized account holder is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.

10.    RELEASE AND LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY:  By participating in the Giveaway, entrants agree to release and hold harmless the Giveaway Entities from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Giveaway or receipt or use of any prize, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention in the Giveaway; (b) technical errors related to computers, servers, providers, or telephone or network lines; (c) printing errors; (d) lost, late, postage-due, misdirected, or undeliverable mail; (e) errors in the administration of the Giveaway or the processing of entries; or (f) injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Giveaway or receipt of any prize.  Entrant further agrees that in any cause of action, the Giveaway Entities’ liability will be limited to the cost of entering and participating in the Giveaway, and in no event shall the Giveaway Entities be liable for attorney’s fees.  Entrant waives the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages.

11.    DISPUTES:  Except where prohibited, entrant agrees that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Giveaway or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, entrant’s rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsors in connection with the Giveaway, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the Commonwealth of Virginia or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the Commonwealth of Virginia.

12.    GIVEAWAY RESULTS:  To request the name(s) of the winner(s) of prizes valued over $25, send a self-addressed stamped envelope (stating the specific Radial Giveaway you are requesting the winners for) to Radial Winners, 24 Auzonville Heights, Auzonville Road, Tunapuna, Trinidad.  Requests must be received within thirty (30) days from the end date of the applicable Giveaway.

The next generation of Caribbean DJs


Since the turn of the century, one question has echoed throughout the halls of dorm rooms, barbershops, nail salons, and even grocery stores. The same question that used to keep me up at night as I argued with my good friend and Radial co-founder. That question is:

Who is the best DJ?

Needless to say, we have not yet cracked that age old conundrum, but we have come to an agreement. That is, more often than not, Caribbean DJs are far better-suited for people who enjoy our style of entertainment than non-Caribbean DJs . Ok, before you get your pitchforks out, I am not knocking the talent of Non-Caribbean DJs — in fact, there are some insanely gifted individuals doing great work to push the craft. What I am saying is that the style of DJing that works with our unique blend of cultures and tastes, comes with years of experience within the Caribbean community. And that makes a difference! Our friends at 2BKaribbean, do a great job talking about the qualities that make a great Caribbean DJ. Check it out:


With all that being said, we have seen both the new and the seasoned Caribbean DJs continue to push the conventional boundaries by experimenting with various tones & drops, remixing and remaking classics and current bangers, and using new technology to bridge the divide between the performer and the audience. One notable technology is the use of social media to bring fans closer to the DJs. I can think of a few examples of people who have done this incredibly well to help push their brand, with the added benefit that these influencers take our music to the global stage. From Sean Paul to Beenie man, Machel Montano to Bunji Garlin, King Bubba to Ricardo Drue, artists also agree that our Caribbean DJs fill a needed role to be ambassadors to our culture and serve on the front lines of our mission to the world.

Over the years, we have seen the growth of DJs like Trinidadian Dj Private Ryan; his creative remixes combined with his eclectic tastes secure him the iconic mantle of The most versatile DJ in the world. We have seen DJs like Antiguan Dj Crown Prince (aka The Soul Rebel), with one of the most popular podcasts, estimating downloads of 1800+ daily, who takes the music as the inspiration to create smooth mixes that introduce our music to fans all throughout the world. We cannot forget, the multiple-award-winning DJ and fellow entrepreneur, DJ Stephen, who not only tours the world with some of your favorite soca stars but has successfully started his own Merchandise Brand “I AM SOCA CLOTHING”. And of course, this list would be incomplete without the Jamaican Sound System Black Chiney that is best known for their fusion style of dancehall/hip hop refixes and dubplates that took the world by storm in the late 90s, with a team that includes Grammy Award-winning producer, Supa Dups.

As we fast forward to today, we at Radial, have the honor of working with some of the new faces of the Caribbean DJ movement. One of those faces belongs to rising Barbados superstar, and Digicel ambassador DJ Puffy who is one of the first Caribbean DJs to be selected for the Redbull Thre3style World Final DJ competition held in Chile this year. In fact, you should check out his entry video for the competition (that was featured on the Redbull Thre3style social media accounts and has been viewed almost half a million times on Facebook)!

If you enjoyed that video as much as we did, we have some great news for you. As of today, Caribbean music fans can sign into Radial (get our free ios app here) and see one of our newest features. We have collaborated with some of your favorite DJs to create a listening experience that would continue to bring you closer to the music. Each of these playlists has been curated by our partner DJs where you can find some of their favorite tracks. The future of Caribbean music is literally in your hands and our team will continue to do our part to provide a platform to showcase our talent, creativity, our culture, and of course our music. This week we are featuring three DJs: Dj Puffy, Dj Adrenalin, and Dj Floops!

Follow them on social media, you will thank me later!


Stay tuned as there is so much more exciting stuff to come.

So let’s hear from you. Who is your favorite Caribbean DJ? What do you think makes Caribbean DJs different from other DJs?

Until then, #SocaToTheWorld.

Parenting in the US as a Caribbean Mom

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. 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].

 SocaMomSo 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?

SocaMom: I’m on everything – @SocaMomDC on Twitter, @SocaMom on Instagram and Pinterest, On Facebook my personal page is @SocaMom but my Business one is @SocaMomDotCom and YouTube is @SocaMomUSA.


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.

SocaMom and Family
SocaMom and Family

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

What did you all learn as parents, aunts or uncles that you would use with the kids around you?

5 Ways to dance to Soca (Part 2)

This is a continuation from a previous post. If you did not have a chance to read part 1, you can find it here.  So here are 4 more dance moves that you can perform when Soca music is playing.

#2 Chipping (or walk and wine)

You too can dance to Soca like Carlton Banks. Radial is available in the Apple App Store here.

While the walk and wine concept is similar to #1 (i.e. wining), this dance is in a category of its own. During this move, the dancer can travel anywhere from a few steps to dozens of miles following the beat of the music. During this movement, the dancer usually shifts his/her waist from side to side while also taking steps either forward or backward. Unlike #1, chipping is all about steady movement and is almost always done in a large group. Many dances of this type can incorporate external elements to make the journey more enjoyable. This includes a Tassa drum, bottle & spoon, and of course, a whistle. This type of dance is probably the most popular type of move that is done during any Carnival celebration as it is meant to allow revelers to enjoy the music while progressing to their next stop without depleting stamina.  As you can tell, this dance has quite a few perks and is the second easiest dance to learn.


#3 Jump and wave

By far, the easiest dance when it comes to Soca music is this one. As the name suggests, this type of dance is all about jumping and waving (usually a bandanna, rag, or flag). It is a high energy move where the dancer expresses celebratory jumps in the rhythm of the music. The type of Soca that accompanies this type of dance usually has some form of instruction embedded in the lyrics (such as Jump by Rupee or Dust Them (Stampede) by Kurt Allen). Please keep in mind that this type of dance also includes moves outside of simply jumping and waving, it also includes stamping, mashing, moving to the left and right, and of course palancing. This form of dance is all about releasing inhibitions and letting the music move you. This is why this type of dance is usually done with Power Soca but it can also be done with other forms as well.


#4 Jibbing

This is less of a formal dance move but more of a state of relaxation. The jib, or the vibesing, is done when the listener of the music does not feel the need to expel a ton of energy and simply wants to enjoy the music.  You can find persons jibbing inside or outside of the club and is a form of musical “liming”. If you are unsure what the term liming means, here you go:

“The concept of liming encompasses any leisure activity entailing the sharing of food and drink, the exchange of tall stories, jokes and anecdotes etc., provided the activity has no explicit purpose beyond itself. “

So as you can imagine, there are an infinite number of ways to jib. For example, head-nodding in a corner while sipping on a beastly cold Stag beer is a form of jibbing. Additionally, a group of guys can sway in the music and not say anything to each other and this can be a form of jibbing. There is no wrong or right way to be jibbing, simply relax and let the music do its thing.


#5 Salting

This is not a dance but the lack of dancing. This is what my adolescent self would fight tooth and nail to prevent. To “salt” or “sucking salt” means to be unsuccessful in finding a partner or mate. Many a guy/girl have fallen victim to this confidence-crusher. A salter-man, is by definition, one who is perpetually in a state of salting.  Even though there may be cases of people intentionally wanting to be in this state, I cannot think of a single one to share. With the advent of new technologies such as smartphones, Instagram, Twitter, etc, one may use these devices to give the impression that he/she is salting by choice, but at the end of the day/dance… he/she is still salting in the dance. The combination of salting and staring (aka gaping) at other dancers/winers is one of the most destructive things to happen to a person. So if you know of anyone who has suffered from this ailment for longer than a year, please help them out — even a social wine would help.


Have I left anything out? Did you miss part 1? Share with us your favorite dance stories on social media on twitter @radialtt or on You can also email us at if you would like your voice to be published on our page.


Happy dancing everyone!

5 Ways to dance to Soca (Part 1)

Find a great Soca song to listen to for free on Radial.

I can vividly remember the first time that I danced with a girl. I was 14 or 15 and a few of my female friends and I were in my father’s recording studio in Diego Martin, Trinidad, with the music blasting in the sound-proofed room.  I always had a little rhythm (I assume this is one of the side effects of having a father who was both a musician and a producer) but I wanted to ensure that I was ready for two of the biggest parties of my adolescent years – Bishops Dance and Fatima Mayfair. So learning how to dance, i.e. making sure that I could wine, was at the top of my priority list.  And as I write this piece, I am keeping the younger version of myself in mind. Please note that this list is not exhaustive; the following is simply meant to be a starting point to true Soca enlightenment. However, I must warn you that the journey you are about to embark on is filled with many trials and tribulations but, in the end, you would be glad that you took this time to become in tuned to your inner West Indian. So here are 5 dances that you can do when Soca music is playing (& part 2):

#1 Wine (i.e Wining, Whining, or Winding)

Regardless of how you spell it, I wanted to take this time to dispel any myths by saying the following:


Ok.  Now that we have that covered, let’s get to the fun stuff.  A contributor at defines wining to be

“the thrusting or rotating of the pelvic girdle in a rhythmic pattern… It requires no teaching or no formal learning at a school of dance. It’s as natural as our language rhythm or cadence of speech. Unlike other genres of music that inspires the feet – such as “salsa’’ and “tango’’ – the dancing of soca music inspires the rhythmic movement of the waistline, more than any other body part.”

Got it? Good. While it may be intimidating to read that as a non-West Indian, do not be afraid. There is no true/definitive way to wine but there are a few tips that could help you arrive on the more positive side of the spectrum.

Tip 1. Wining comes from your waist. The rest of your body should remain stable (while in the act) and you can activate your core for more control. If you are bending your back or moving your shoulders at this stage… STOP IT. You are doing too much. Get the basics down before moving to the advanced stuff.

Tip 2. Both men and women can wine. People from any ethnic group or background can wine. There are winer-boys and winer-girls of all ages. You can think of wining as an equal opportunity employer so it is best to embrace it now.

Tip 3. It’s all about rhythm. Use the drum pattern of the song to maintain the tempo and not any other instrument in the music. If you are rhythmically-challenged, start with a 4/4 metronome at 120 beats per minute.

Tip 4. It’s about having fun and does not necessarily have to be a super sexual experience. Even though you may not be the top class bubbler (more on this later), once you and/or your partner are having a great time, then that’s all that matters. Well, unless you are on stage or competing in a wining contest of course.

Tip 5. There are different types of wining, and wining lingo that you should know about. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Bubbling – This is the traditional wine. It can be performed solo, or as a pair, but the motion is fairly consistent with very few major tricks.
  • Slow wine – This is similar to a slow grind dance in the United States. This wine is much more intense or intentional. Each movement of the waist is purposely exaggerated for maximum effect. Usually, this move is accompanied by face contortion and mild sweating. Some slow winers use their hands to ensure that the wine is either being disseminated or received effectively. Be careful when using this wine as many have found God and/or fallen in love due to this move.
  • Bruking out – This is faster than the traditional wine and is usually done by a trained professional. In this type of wine, the moves are both fast and hard and tend to push the receiver off his/her feet momentarily. A famous version of this type of wine is the gouti-look-back (or agouti lookback) where the winer maintains a solid wine while looking back at the dance partner in a welcoming manner. In my experience, this move usually involves someone chewing of bubblegum of some kind.
  • Social wine – As the name states, this is the type of wine that can be done anywhere but it usually involves a partner. The recipient may or may not be desirable to the winer and this dance usually does not last more than 1 song. One can think of this type of wine as giving a “bly/bligh”. This is also the type of dance used by people who would like to maintain a less-naughty image in public (even though they may be yearning to brukout inside).
  • Front wine – The illustrious front wine is essentially the opposite of a social wine. This wine is probably the pinnacle of pubescent pleasure as it is meant to take the grinding element of the slow wine while both partners face each other. If done correctly, this dance can be particularly sensual. If done poorly, this type of wine can lead to the loss of good friendships.


Here are some pictures that can illustrate the traditional wining technique.  You can find the original post here:

Step 1:

Practice barefoot.


All the real top class bubblers know that wining is all about getting in tuned to the environment. The best way to do that is to make sure your shoes and socks are off and your feet are firmly planted on the ground (grass is fine). If done correctly, you will start feeling mother nature’s chakra transfer from the earth through your toes, up your thighs, and implant itself between your hips.


Step 2:

It’s all about the pink.


There is a pretty famous joke that goes like this:

What goes in hard and pink, but comes out soft and mushy?

The answer is… Bubblegum. And if you read the above post, you will notice that bubblegum plays a huge part in your journey to wining competency. Whether it is becoming a bubbler, or chewing bubblegum while doing the brukout move. Remember, it’s all about PINK. It is not a coincidence that Nicki Minaj’s albums are entitled Pink Friday, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, and The Pinkprint. The proof is clear. Nicki is Trinidadian and she knows how to wine. Therefore, one should start his/her training in PINK.


Step 3:

Multiple costume changes.


Every successful dancer knows that clothes are important. To learn how to wine like the pros, you would need to change clothes as often as physically possible. Please ensure that your costume changes happen within a 5-minute window as you do not want to lose any of the chakra that you have built up. Additionally, each costume change adds a level of static energy to your system which is then converted to potential and kinetic energy used for wining. And with every system, one must obey the law of conservation of energy – which states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant- it is said to be conserved over time (i.e. winers never get tired – obviously). This is not magic nor a miracle, this is basic physics! Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another. And in this case, you are converting it to wine energy.


Step 4:



Ok. You got me. You do not have to do steps 1 through 3 in order to wine. At the same time, learning to wine by reading guides online sounds just as ridiculous to a natural winer as the above steps. The best way to learn to wine without embarrassing yourself too much is to practice in the mirror or with a partner who knows how to wine. That’s it. Wining is an art form and a mode of expression. It is not a science. The moment you start counting your steps and overthinking your rhythm is the moment you should stop. Have fun and wine however you want to.


Wow. Just talking about wining took a life of its own and for the sake of brevity, I will continue the other forms of dance on part 2 of this post.  (Click here to read part 2)


Share with us your favorite dance/wine stories on social media on Twitter @radialtt or on Who was your first wine with? Do Trini girls have the sweetest wine?  Are there other forms of wines that I forgot (i.e. sandwich wine, etc)? Let us know and send us an email at if you want to start contributing to the Radial blog.

How to introduce a non-Caribbean person to Soca

Some of us know this situation all too well – whether it is a friend, a co-worker, a significant other, or a random stranger – teaching someone about Soca and Carnival can be tricky. Whether you choose to let them dive right into the music or you give them a historical backdrop before letting the bass drop, the joy of sharing our culture can be viewed just as much as a spiritual journey as it is a musical one. I have been a DJ in the United States for over 10 years and anyone who comes to my shows can tell that I am 100% Trini (even though they may not know exactly what that means). By having a few tunes in each set to educate the ex-pats to the new releases, a major part of my career has been both a teacher and an ambassador. In fact, I truly believe that sharing our music with the world is not only what makes us unique, but it is also our responsibility. And besides sharing is caring right?


Nonetheless, here are 5 steps that you can do to introduce someone to Soca:


Step 1: Explain that not every song that originates from the Caribbean is Reggae.

Bob Marley Homer

This may seem like an obvious step, but TRUST ME, IT IS NOT. For some reason, many non-Caribbeans assume that Reggae is the only genre that comes from our islands. In fact, it is safe to say that many even assume that every island country is either Jamaica or part of Jamaica. It may be a frustrating task to convince someone that there are other artists besides Bob Marley that hail from our respective tropical paradise(s), but the payoff is well worth it. And while you are doing so, make sure not to confuse them with the wide range of other genres that we also have including dancehall, ska, zouk, kompa, chutney, calypso, steelpan etc. I know this is tempting, but stay focused my friends. It will pay off in the end when they come back begging you to teach them more about the various types of music that we have to share.


Step 2: Start with something remotely familiar and show how they have heard Soca in the past but never realized it.

With the inception of Calypso in the early to mid 20th century and the birth of Soca (also known as the soul of calypso) in the 70s by Garfield Blackman (aka Ras Short I), Soca has evolved over the years and has a number of tracks that crossed over to the mainstream. This includes the famous “Hot Hot Hot” by Arrow in the 80s which peaked at #11 on the US Billboard charts and featured in dozens of movie soundtracks, and “Defense” by Machel Montano, Pitbull and Lil Jon in 2006-2007. In my experience, the most recognized soca songs that have crossed over successfully in recent years are “Turn Me On” by Kevin Lyttle and “Tempted to Touch” by Rupee. If you start with these songs, you already have started to associate their view of Soca with a positive memory of dance and good vibes. One word of advice, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT start any conversation about Soca with any mention of “Who Let the Dogs Out?” by the Baha Men. Trust me on this one.


Step 3: Explain some of the common concepts found in most/many Soca songs.

It’s always fun to try to break down the lyrics of your favorite Soca song and explain them to your friends. My girlfriend is American and while she knew about Soca before we even met, she had no idea what some of her favorite songs were about. This is not an unusual situation since Soca is more about the vibe (aka the energy or the feeling) than it is about the lyrics. However, it is important to note that many Soca songs are instructive and have elements of call and response – so learning about the concepts is not only important, but it can be fun. See below:

Fete – a fête or fete is an elaborate festival, party or celebration

Wine – whine, wine, winding, all refer to the gyration of the hips in a rhythmic pattern.

Bacchanal – to have a good time/drama; commotion, a wild party, or raucus event between neighbors, family or friends.

Bumper – or bumpah, is a booty, typically female.

Lime – to party and hang out

A quick review of the top songs of 2016 shows that at least one of the above concepts is featured throughout the music.


Step 4: Illustrate that Soca is an experience. Some people listen to Soca while driving to work, others only during the Carnival season.

During this step, your goal is to show that listening to Soca is directly connected to your current state of mind. Many people listen when they are feeling frustrated or upset to help them get out of their funk, others swear that it is the best music to listen to while working out. Regardless of your reason, it is almost physically impossible to listen to this high energy music and not feel compelled to move your body (even if just a little bit or mentally). A perfect example of this is a video from 2010 Soca Monarch song “Palance” by JW and Blaze:

The fact is, Soca makes people happy. And in some cases, it grants the listener super powers.


Step 5: Play at loud volumes preferably at an event or party.

The best way to experience Soca is with all your friends around with heavy libation in rotation. Even if you skip steps 1 through 4, this step is probably the most effective. If a non-Caribbean person can experience 100, 200, or even 500 people jumping up, waving a “flag”, having a great time and being moved by the music, this should be enough to show that there may be something to this Soca thing. This is also the best way to introduce Power Soca in my opinion. Rupee’s “Jump” and Destra “Celebrate” have been staples in my Dj set and even those who are not from the Caribbean seem to embrace the Soca experience.


Have I left anything out? Do you have any stories about how you introduced someone to Soca? Let your voice be heard, send us a message at and join the Radial community.