Friday, February 23, 2018

Nandi Lewis

New artiste on the rise


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Nandi Lewis, hailing from the Santa Cruz area, has had her share of experiences with the 'hills and valleys' of being a flourishing entertainer in this country.

In Santa Cruz, one might shiver from the sharp night air but get lost in the beauty of the thick foliage that surrounds. As a young, attractive female entertainer, at times she experienced the soothing breeze of success and then there is that thick 'fog' that envelops the pests, causing her to lack true vision as to what and who is really there.

Using her birth name, she has been fortunate enough to perform at several all-inclusive fetes and corporate events during this past Carnival season. Throughout the years, she has competed at the Junior Soca Monarch and other calypso competitions and has been a guest performer at the Tobago Jazz Experience. "I do every genre; I do soca, jazz, parang, everything."

When she is performing, she embodies the vibe of her chosen genre with her wardrobe. "It depends on what I'm singing. If I'm singing jazz, I might go with a classic look. I like to put myself out there."

Lewis' two releases for Carnival 2013 were titled "Take Me Away" and "Doh Bother", and apparently they were given significant airplay on local radio stations. Of the first track, she said, "Actually, hmm, it's about someone who wanted someone but couldn't get them."

"Doh Bother" has the essence of the classic double meaning within many songs nowadays. Struggling to stifle her laughter, Lewis said, "It's just telling men that when they come to party, don't be a waste of time. If you are a waste of time, don't bother to come." Still laughing, she commented, "I could imagine how that will come over. I like to tell a story with my songs."

In a relaxed tone, she admitted to having faith in her producer, Vante Pantin. "He understudied with Bunji Garlin's band and has done songs for the Mackamilion Family. He won arrangement awards over the years so he has experience."

She recorded a third song, a fast-paced soca track, for release during the season, however, those plans were aborted "because it was a short season". She also has a dancehall track that she will release soon.

"My video for my 2012 offering, 'Stand Up', is currently back on rotation on Synergy TV and I'll be doing a video for 'Take Me Away'". The avid reader and former athlete is also in preparation mode for a formal introduction to the public by way of a media launch.

A former student of St Francois Girls' College, she is on the path to acquire certification in Social Work at the tertiary level. At 26 years old, the Assistant Secretary uses her income to support her dream of being an artiste. "As anyone knows, it takes a lot of money to be an artiste. I don't mind because it's been a passion of mine. I feel at home on the stage."

Her passion even led her to abandon her stint as a professional latin dance instructor and competitor. "I did it for ten years and now I like to call myself retired. I couldn't do that and singing so I had to give it up."

As for challenges within the music industry, she moaned, "That's a long list. All musicians know how difficult it is if you don't have connections. As a woman, you have to, how should I say it, be on your p's and q's because you feel that there are people who will help you and then it's a totally different thing after. You have to keep your head on and be focused."

Describing her personality as "crazy cool", she joked, "'Crazy' people make the best entertainers!" Of her 'crazy' nature, she confirmed that her three brothers and four sisters can vouch for that characteristic. Smiling, she confessed, "At first glance, I'm very shy. I am mostly by myself but when you get to know me, I am open and free."

Assuming a more solemn tone, she shared, "At some stage, I'd like to be able to mentor new artistes. I really want to do that." One of Lewis' ultimate dreams is to perform and/or record with the likes of David Rudder.

Lewis is biding her time as her carefully maps out her future as an entertainer. Hopefully, she will strike the perfect chord in her symphony known as life.