MAKING THEIR POINT: A cross-section of the audience at the Artiste’s Forum. —Photos: CURTIS CHASE

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Artistes disagree with concept

By Verdel Bishop

The introduction of a new component of the International Soca Monarch (ISM) competition in the form of recognition for a new “Breakthrough Artiste” caused uproar last week as several soca artistes felt that the idea was not carefully thought through by the Caribbean Prestige Foundation for the Performing Arts (CPFPA).
The artistes voiced their concerns at last Wednesday’s Artiste Forum at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad in Port of Spain where various other issues were brought to the table.
The Breakthough Artiste of the Year, according to ISM officials, will recognise artistes who have all the elements of success, yet have not made it to the ISM finals more than three times. The category will be a new segment in the ISM designed to assist up and coming artistes in which fans will have an opportunity to vote for their favourite new artiste.
Various artistes took issue with this as it was not clear if the correct term for such an individual artiste should be a “Breakthrough Artiste” for varying reasons, one being that the term “breakthrough” should be reserved for an artiste who has never been in the ISM finals and who is new to the soca fray. Coming out of that discussion newly-appointed chairman of the organisation, Peter Scoon has promised that he will review the artiste’s views and concerns.
“Most of the artistes did not agree with the concept but we will review it and we will do further consultancy. A couple of suggestions came up and we intend to review them. This is why forums like this is so important; it encourages healthy discussions in which everyone can participate in in a respectful manner,” Scoon said.
Another issue which was brought to the fore was the issue of airplay in which superstar artiste Machel Montano took the opportunity to sound a clarion call for artistes to be more professional, urging them to believe in themselves and their worth.
Montano, who went on at length to discuss his personal formula to success and how he handled his failures. He held the spotlight for more for his passionate plea to up and coming artistes. “I am telling you from the bottom of my heart that God gave you everything you need to get though; you don’ need anything. I was getting fed up. Eventually I said I have to get through. I did my own music and I stopped depending on people. I educated myself and record music and I still didn’t make it. I failed in the soca monarch; I get beat by everybody and I had to figure it out.
“We have to stop looking for crutches and stop saying we don’t know what to do and stop complaining. My way may not be your way because my story is not your story. You have to sit down and look yourself in the mirror and ask who am I...what do I need to do? You have to figure out your story. I guarantee this as the formula—if you do something good you could be living in Grande, Toco or Mars the radio stations will call you, they will find you wherever you are,” Montano said.
Calypsonian Shirlane Hendrickson called for more workshops for artistes. She said there was not enough being done to help support artistes. Other artistes who turned up at the forum included Denise Belfon, Akil Borneo, Allrounder, Lady Wonder, TC, Jadee and other up and coming artistes.
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