The young artiste you have come to know as Nessa Preppy within the past few months carries the birth name, Vanessa John. She released her soca track, "Turn Up The Sound" late last year and the song remains a favourite on many playlists. The song was written by the popular Kern Rose and the track was produced by Mad Men Productions. Rose is also serving as her manager.
She acquired the nickname 'Nessa Preppy' while attending the Arima Government Secondary School. "There were two Vanessa at school and they called her 'Nessa' too. So people would ask 'which Nessa?' One guy used to tell me that I was preppy because I never altered the school uniform like everybody else. So they started saying 'Nessa Preppy' and it stayed."
She is determined to stay in the creative space of music while seeking to realise all other professional dreams. "I started pursuing a Certificate Course in Business Management at UWI but I was never really good in that kind of environment, you know?"
The current Carnival season has been a whirlwind of interviews across the length and breadth of the country. "People just started calling! We were just getting bookings and Kern would just call me and say that we have this or that to do tomorrow and I'd be scampering to get clothes or whatever."
Filming the video for her song, John admits that some things were done out of quick thinking on the spot. Citing herself as a "free spirit", John easily changes from cute to sexy to bold in different scenes of the music video and the bubblegum effect is apparent. "The video was deliberately colourful. It goes with the image we have in mind."
Cameos included the likes of artistes, Swappi, Kees Dieffenthaller and chutney-soca artiste, KI. The video's images are a combination of almost slapstick-esque sequences and flashes of gyrating derrieres albeit tastefully done. One person submitted online, "Up to now I eh see no rude wine."
"We were friends with Swappi and KI and they said they would come and do the video." She was barely acquainted with Dieffenthaller but seeing him at the studio, she took the plunge and asked him to appear in the video. "He said he would come but I didn't expect him to come. I told him if he didn't want to come, it was okay but he came. He was so friendly. He did his shoot on a different day (to the others) and some girls were around and they were like, 'Oh my gosh, is Kees!' and they started looking at me like 'Who is she, boy, to have Kees in the video? She probably important?'" John grinned as she spoke of the experience.
Twitter has been an avenue for her to reign in support as several public personalities, including Nadia Batson, have thrown their support behind her. "It's crazy! Everybody tweeting!"
John made an adjustment migrating from Germany at the age of four years and now at just 20 years old, she faces another adjustment that is inevitable – learning that nothing is guaranteed in the music business. She failed to place among the semi finalists in the 2013 International Soca Monarch competition. "That really hit me hard. I was in tears. My confidence was like 200 per cent. It was heartbreaking. I was so sure that I would get through. I mean, my song was getting a lot of airplay and everyone knew the song. I keep asking myself, 'Why didn't I get through?' Did I do something wrong? Is there something more I could have done?" Finally, John concluded, "Everything happens for a reason. Maybe I needed to do more work."
Her transition into soca was right though. "Me and my friends would just record stuff and put it on social networks. I used to sing hip hop and dancehall." The releases were "Run My Tune" and "Wha' You Want", hip hop and dancehall, respectively. Speaking in a matter-of-fact tone, she said, "There was a time when radio stations used to play a lot of hip hop music from local artistes so I got some airplay but then I decided that it wasn't really working out with those genres. I tried soca and it was good! So that's why we're here now."
Her objective is to balance a career in music and being a flight attendant with the national airline. "People always ask me if I'm trying to be like Kimba Sorzano," she said with a smile in her voice. Sorzano, a noted songwriter and soca artiste, is also a flight attendant. "I would really like to get through. I really want to be a flight attendant."
Later on in the year, John will branch out and release tracks in the Island Pop and R&B genres. She is cognizant of the fact that she is still very young and has adequate time in which to grow and develop professionally and personally. Her path seems clear to achieve success; she is set to soar to higher heights.