Destra eyes new ground
THESE are busy times for Trinidadian soca artiste Destra Garcia. The singer, who performs this evening at Bachannal Fridays at New Mas Camp, is also preparing for shows in London later this month and recording new songs.
Garcia is known for soca hits including Anyhow Ah Like it, Love Somebody, Fly, Mash Up, Handle the Ride and Call my Name.
But though she has been in the game for nearly 20 years, remaining relevant in the male-dominated soca industry is no easy task.
"A man can just throw on their clothes and go, but for us females it takes a lot of preparation, from hair to make-up. We have to write songs that will be just up to standard with our male counterparts...We have to rock the stage like them, too," she told Splash.
The 36-year-old Garcia is also trying to break new ground. She is working with Florida producer J Vibe on
several songs aimed at broadening her appeal.
J Vibe also produced Garcia and Peetah Morgan's collaboration called Real Love.
Soca artistes such as Machel Montano, Kevin Lyttle, Rupie, Bunji Garlin and Fayon Lyons have made inroads in the North American pop market. Lyons recently signed with VP Records, a company largely responsible for breaking dancehall in the United States.
Last year, Lyon's husband Bunji Garlin enjoyed success with the Major Lazer remix of his soca hit, Differentology. Is soca music finally making a mark in the US?
"We have a long way to go but we are on the right track. It's slow in coming but it's just a matter of time before the music gets fully global," she said, adding: "Coming from a region where reggae and Calypso is more popular, we are not doing too bad. Garcia has not done too bad for herself either."
She won the 2003 Road March title at the Labour Day Carnival in Brooklyn, New York. That year, she placed second in the Trinidad and Tobago Soca Monarch.
She is yet to win
her country's coveted Road March title, having finished runner-up in 2004 and 2009.
"As I grow, I see where I could do things differently along my journey, but I have no regrets as those little mistakes have helped to mould me into the artiste that I am today," she said.
Tonight, Garcia performs with her band Bakanal and Silver, their new lead vocalist.