In the last few weeks since the inception of “Caribbean Artist Of The Week”, there has been only reggae or dancehall artists receiving the nod. This all changes this week as the “Prince Of Soca” Machel Montano (There is only one King and he is “The Mighty Sparrow”) is #WorldWide Caribbean Artist Of The Week.
Trinidad Carnival took place a few weeks ago and Montano teamed up with R & B princess Ashanti. Everyone who knows about the culture in the Caribbean understands that the crown jewel of all carnivals take place in TNT. What is also a given is that Machel Montano will be apart of the festivities and has been since he was a little boy who was told he was “too young to soca”.
Montano became the young voice a new generation of listeners for the Caribbean culture of Carnival. Ironically, the song was originally penned for “The King Of Calypso” Mighty Sparrow who some critics were deeming “Too Old To Soca”.
Instead Sparrow released the monstrous hit “Don’t Back Back” which entrenched him with the new generation and his status as “The King” of Calypso” and claimed he was not a “Soca Man”. It was a pinnacle year on the island of Trinidad as the generation gap was bridged. Machel Montano became “The Wonder Boy of Soca”.
He began his singing career at the tender age of seven performing at school concerts and community events. In 1982 he organized a small band in his mother’s garage with some of his friends then called “Panasonic Express” which would become the famous “X-Xtatik”.
He released his debut album “ Too Young to Soca” in 1985 and appeared on Star Search in 1986 leading to tours throughout the United states Germany, Canada, and the Caribbean. In 1987 at age twelve he was the youngest entertainer to win the Caribbean Song Festival and went on to win Young King in 1991 at age sixteen. He received many National Awards and is a self-taught musician. He is an advocate for getting an education and says it was a backbone for his success. Dr. Machel Montano explains it all below.
Machel Montana went on to win Road March King of Trinidad and Tobago with the hit “Big Truck”. He would continue to represent his homeland and in June 2016 he performed at the White House celebrating the artistry, heritage, and history centered around the Caribbean. The video feature Etienne Charles and Dener Ceide below.
His latest music video release is a single entitled “Famalay” which is a collaboration with Skinny Fabulous and Bunji Garlin. Check out the visuals below.
According to Wikipedia, Machel Montano is a record breaking artist when it comes to competitions of his genre. The International Soca Monarch competition is an annual contest between various competing Soca artists. Within this competition there are two sub-categories which contestants can place in. One of which is the Power Soca Monarch; a competition for upbeat songs while the International Groovy Soca Monarch is for Soca songs of a slower tempo. In 2011, Montano won his first Soca Monarch competition (from Power Soca Monarchs) for his performance of the song “Advantage”.
In the years 2012 and 2013, he won back to back times in both sub-categories for his performance of his songs “Pump Yuh Flag” and “Mr. Fete”, in 2012 and, “Float” and, “The Fog”, in 2013, winning TT$2 Million each time. He also won the Power Soca Monarch in 2014 for his song “Ministry of Road”, however he was dethroned by Kerwin Du Bois and his hit song “Too Real” in the Groovy Soca Monarch category. Montano set a new record by winning the 2014 Power Monarch, becoming the first artist/ performer to win a total of four titles. He won the title again in 2015 with his hit song “Like Ah Boss”.