Saturday, January 20, 2018

Patrice Roberts

Meet my alter ego Pat


Photos Calvin French

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Soca Queen, Patrice Roberts has undergone a metamorphosis. "Patrice" formerly known as "Patsy" is now "Pat "(at least on stage) and Trinidad and Tobago loves every moment of it. Her dress code has evolved — if you goggle some of her photos you will understand the revolution that has occurred (Fitted dresses for her first release "Sugar Boy", shorts and tanks with jackets from her "Wukking Up" video to a more daring, dazzling and erotic style like the photo which adorns this cover). Her music has changed from her sexy/ cute catchy banters to her mega hit for Carnival 2013, "A little Wine"... "Everybody wine on somebody now, a little wine never hurt nobody..." dictates the lyrics. Roberts is commanding her crowd now and not just singing music to chip to. Indeed, there is something new and fresh about the woman who made her debut in entertainment as a School's Calypso Queen. "Pat", who she fondly calls her "Stage Diva Persona" is on the rise, "Pat" is the seductress on the stage; "Patrice" is the lady on the street.

"This year I want to show all my fans that I can be versatile and that I am not just one of the frontline singers with HD but that I am also a solo artiste with a unique presence worth tuning into. I want to do more "Me" for this 2013 Carnival. I want people to feel my vibe and get to know me on my own and not only as part of a group," declares one of the lead vocalists for popular soca group, HD. When I ask about "Pat" she laughs but intrinsically says it like it is, "straight talk bad manners" according to her rural saying. "I took a very long time to unleash "Pat". Pat is my stage presence. She is the woman you see now on stage. The laid back performer of years gone by is no longer in our midst. Pat takes risks with her vocals and style. She is uncut and gives it all to her fans. She isn't afraid to show the skin she is in because after so many years, hard work, sacrifices and challenges in the music industry she loves it. Pat now feels confident to come out and spread her wings. It's as if she has now found her space in the soca stratosphere and she is claiming it." Roberts tells me that "Patrice" is still very much a part of her though. "Patrice is the laid back, shy, home country girl that I am off the stage. I love to just relax at home, watch a movie and be a home girl. Toco and the simple life will always be a part of me. Just imagine while I am busy at work and recording I sometimes long for a family lime of old talk by my favourite place, Shark River Matelot," avows the dumpling and anything fan.

The different sides of the 26-year-old veteran songstress (she has a raving repertoire of accolades including having performed at the Royal Opera House in London, England) are being revealed for all to see. It's as if she was in her cocoon, not dormant but fluttering, her vibe was known, her songs were catchy, her fans were eager and she had graced many covers and magazine spreads but now everything about this svelte artiste who became the youngest female artiste to ever win a Road March (with "Band of the Year" featuring Machel Montano) has elevated a notch higher. She is no longer a feature at Fantastic Friday she is phenomenal year round!

We all remember her debut in 2005 when the world heard her refreshing, soothing and powerful vocals alongside maestro mike man, Bunji Garlin. "Patsy" as she was called in her early stages of stardom was emerging, "Singing and performing was all that I knew and loved and somehow I knew it was going to consume my entire life." reflects Roberts.

Her wings began to form when her career took full flight in 2006 when she became one of the frontline vocalists and the only female member of Xtatik (now HD). Fresh out of school, Roberts experienced what many would consider a "culture shock"; moving from her countryside dwellings in Toco to city lights. Her switch from a calypso consumed lifestyle to soca meant that the life she was accepting would attract obstacles beyond her understanding. "Was it challenging as a young woman and new artiste in the music industry?" I ask. "I had to adapt to the culture, the atmosphere and now compete with established artistes. To match the standards was hard…I was intimidated, I faced periods of frustration but I pushed myself until I got the hang of it," she admits looking back. The Toco Composite ex-pupil continues, "The sky was and still is my limit…I never gave up and kept on pushing. Today I am an artiste, yesterday I was a budding performer."

Metamorphosis. Hard work paid off and life has changed for "Patsy". New opportunities to entertain the masses have been knocking on her door and she is gracefully embracing every one of them. Just the day before this Woman Express Interview, Roberts was in New York City performing at an annual New Year's Eve party, Pitch Black. She had the crowds jumping out of their seats and she felt a sense of accomplishment that she was finally delivering what she had set out to do on the big stage. "I like to see my fans having a great time. I like them to get up from their seats and wave and jump. It thrills me to see that my hard work and dedication in the music industry is granting me rewards, my major reward is making other people happy through music!" says the soca artiste by day and Italian Chef (Lasagne specialist) by night. "While I am happy to have reached so far in my career as a soca artiste I am still cognisant of the many goals I still have to accomplish. I want to be a soca ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago. I want to travel the world and make my country proud and place T&T on the music map. I believe that I can do it with hard work and commitment. I think that the different aspects of my personality..." "Pat, Patrice and Patsy?" I ask. "Yes," she smiles and proceeds, "These segments complement each other and make me the performer and person I am. I always tell my fans that you will have pain, there will be mixed emotions but always remember to put God first and believe in your dream," the butterfly concludes as she seeks out new stages to spread her wings.