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Michelle Xavier

A bold step into the unknown

By By Nigel Telesford

Michelle Xavier is a self-proclaimed "lover, not a fighter", but her love for music and passion for the stage have propelled her into the competitive realm once again. This past week, her 2013 hits, "Indian Man" and "Hold Somebody" were selected for the semi finals of the Lotto Plus Chutney Soca Monarch Semi Finals and the Digicel International Groovy Soca Monarch respectively.

"It's a great feeling to be chosen and to make it into this round," she said, "but this just means that the work has only just begun. These competitions require a lot of preparation because you really want to put your best foot forward and if there's one thing I've learnt during my time in the industry, it's that practice really does make for perfection. So, my days are now filled with rehearsals - band rehearsals, dance rehearsals, plus I have to stay fit and healthy, so there's strength training; I also do yoga and kick boxing; then there're wardrobe consultations, make-up and hair, the whole nine yards - there's really a lot of work that goes into the final presentation the audience sees on the stage."

The Chutney Soca Monarch Semis were scheduled to take place yesterday at Rise carpark in Chaguanas, while the Groovy Soca Semis will be on Sunday January 20 at the Arima Velodrome.

Although they are two separate competitions, Xavier said her approach to both contests is quite similar - because this is her first time competing in both arenas.

"I think the Chutney will be really special," she enthused, "because 'Indian Man' is literally my first-ever chutney soca song and it will be my first time on a chutney stage. Plus the song itself is really fun to perform and has gotten such a great response that I really hope we make it to the finals - cause I have an amazing performance planned that I believe will take my career to the next level - and by extension Chutney music as a whole. This competition has never been won by a woman, so I think it's high time that the ladies represent and give those boys a run for their money and really put that female stamp on the chutney world.

"On the Soca Monarch side, I'm really excited about my chances in the Groovy category as well, because it's my first time making it to the Groovy semi-finals and as a singer, it's a great opportunity to showcase my voice and showcase my talent to the huge international audience that the Soca Monarch competition always attracts. For me, the Groovy category is all about spreading love and building that wholesome vibe of sharing and caring for each other that we find at the heart of the mas and the Carnival festival — so as a woman, it's already ingrained, it's already in my nature to love and to embrace those I hold dear, so on Fantastic Friday, I'm coming to embrace the nation and all those watching and my song is called "Hold Somebody", so it's perfect for expressing that feeling."

Aside from the competitions, Xavier is also making her presence felt on the fete scene, as she blossoms into her own space as a solo artiste.

"I may have 12 years experience in the industry," she explained, "but this is only my second year as solo act, so I'm really only now beginning to spread my wings and explore my passions and experiment with different ideas. I performed at Fantasy Carnival's Savage Saturday last weekend, which was great. It was packed and everyone had a lot of fun — there were a lot of people from South Trinidad as well — which is where I'm originally from, so I had a blast singing for them and getting them pumped up and ready for Machel who came on later and fogged up the place.

"It's a different feeling to be coming on stage by myself, or just with my dancers and performing on tracks and getting the audience familiar with my songs — but at the same time, it's so amazing to be able to sing and perform my own songs and express myself in my words, as opposed to doing covers and giving an impression of someone else's music. I really feel like I come alive on stage and there's another part of me that takes over and just lets loose, so regardless of what happens with the competitions, I'm definitely going to just cherish those moments up there and enjoy them and try to share that joy with everyone in the audience."

Having taken the bold step into the unknown, Xavier is confident and prepared for success, while focused on carving out her own niche and securing her own fan base.

For the 28-year-old singer, dancer and actress, this is her time to grow and explore and conquer.

"It's a season of firsts for me this year," she admitted. "My first time working with all these new, wonderful producers - from Millbeatz, to Red Boyz in Barbados, to Rishi Mahatoo of Maha Productions. It's my first time in Chutney Soca, my first time in the Groovy Semi Finals. I'm working with new managers for the first time, new dancers for the first time and I'm really enjoying these challenges and having to break out of my comfort zone and try and learn and execute new things. I've always liked to re-invent myself and my image - from my hairstyles, to the way I dress - I feel empowered to be able to experiment and adapt to different influences and now I have my own music to go along with it!"

Xavier is preparing to film her first music video as a solo act for the song, "Indian Man" and is inviting young, attractive men interested in playing the role of "Sati-Ram" to send their photos and information to overtime.tt@gmail.com For more information on Xavier, log on to her Fan Page on Facebook, follow @miche_x on Twitter or check out her personal VLOG on overtimett.com

For bookings/management, call Nicholas Lee at 490-0898 or email michellexmusic@hotmail.com

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