Entertainment

Soca not hot enough?

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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Soca star Fay-Ann Lyons yearns for the day the sound she represents is not pigeon-holed as carnival music. But even she realises that will take some time.

In an interview with the Huffington Post website, 36-year-old Lyons admits soca's numbers will have to improve for it to gain recognition from the big boys.

“I want to see soca respected and as global as other music genres such as rock, reggae, pop, hip hop and country music. There's no reason it shouldn't be, as soca is the music of many of the Caribbean islands,” she said.

Lyons' latest album Break The World, was released in March by VP Records, a company known for breaking dancehall music on the American pop charts. Five years ago, they did just that with Differentology, the album and hit song by her husband Bunji Garlin.

Break The World entered the Billboard Reggae Album chart in March at number three, but has to date sold fewer than 4,000 copies in the United States.

Paltry figures like that, Lyons admits, will not get soca a place at marquee events like the Grammy Awards.

“It's a numbers game. We need the numbers, it's the only way we will get our category at the Grammys or on sites like Apple,” she said.

Break The World has collaborations with Bunji Garlin and Buffy, another Trinidadian soca artiste.

Differentology did well for Garlin who, like his wife, is known throughout the Caribbean and in soca pockets in North America. Remixed by EDM kingpins Major Lazer, the song did well in the United Kingdom before making waves in the US where it won a Soul Train Award in 2013 for Best International Performance.

Despite their appeal in the Caribbean, few soca artistes have done well in the pop market. Arrow's party monster, Hot Hot Hot, released in 1982, is the genre's biggest seller.

Who Let The Dogs Out by The Baha Men was also a big hit in the US in 2000.

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