Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 2nd 2015 Contents 7
Friday, January 2, 2015 • Issue 166
After all the voting and semi-finals Ms. Neisha Guy, now
reign the Supreme. She's the New Digicel Rising Star 2014 of
Trinidad and Tobago. She took time out from her busy schedule
to chat with me about her new title, her inspiration, who she
wants to work with and others.
KM: OMG....Thank you for taking the time to chat with me! Let
me start by saying Congratulations on the title of Digicel Rising
KM: Who is Neisha Guy (introduce yourself)
NG: Firstly, let me extend thanks to Metro for having me and to
the people of Trinidad & Tobago for voting and supporting me.
Neisha Guy is your sister, daughter, mother, auntie, and friend. I am
a thirty-one year old woman with dreams that stretch past reality.
My school days set things in this order, having performed for my
biggest audiences back then at Success Laventille Composite. I am
a plus- sized clothing designer and constructor, singer, songwriter,
hairstylist (specializing in braiding) and an avid movie fan. Under-
standing who I am, where I came from and where I want go has
played a very important part in my latest accomplishment (Digicel
Rising Star 2014). I have experienced a lot of bad and I almost
gave up on myself, but God never allowed that to happen. As you
can tell, he plays a major role in my everyday life.
KM: When and how did you first become interested in music?
How long have you been into music?
NG: Music has captured me since toddler stages; I was about two
Or three years of age, wearing a wig backwards and mimicking Tina
Turner. My family then took me to church, where I spent most of my
childhood years singing till secondary school. Success Laventille
Composite School gave me a lot of early exposure. I happily remem-
ber my name being called over the P.A. System, the result of that
was 'my tail' on a stage with a mic and my form teacher being firstly
worried and secondly pissed, because he knew I needed to focus on
my school work, thank you, Mr. Anthony Yearwood! Immediately
after school, I competed in Soundstage, where I met some key peo-
ple, who in turn introduced me to the Singing and Entertainment cir-
cuit. From 2003 to 2014 I have been singing where ever I can,
learning as I go along, trying to improve in my craft and build myself,
but it was hard, very hard. Not everyone is ok with you progressing;
some folks are ok with you being under their feet forever, for what-
ever reasons. God has a way of delivering his children; the timing
could not be more perfect. I competed in many competitions; I won a
few, but lost most of them. I was even told by someone that I could-
n't sing. I got a lot of "you don't look the part" and "is better you do
Gospel... yes" but I didn't throw in the towel, I continued to pursue
some very challenging goals, for Digicel Rising Stars, this was my
4th try... Look where it got me... Thank God!
KM: What are your musical influences?
NG: My musical influences range from Whitney Houston to Karen
Clark Sheard, Anita Baker to Harry Connick Jr., Bunji Garlin to Nadia
Batson.... I can go all day. For me, I find the bits and pieces in each of
them that work for me and I emulate... Not imitate!
KM: What else do you do besides play music?
NG: Besides music, well I spent a lot of time working as a secre-
tary at one establishment or the other, but I had to give up a lot of
singing opportunities, I missed out a lot of good experiences while
working. Before my friend, Mr Lennox Sylvester had died, he told me
that I should focus all of my energy on my passion and it will pay off
one day. Well that was hard, because I still have bills to pay, rent,
etc....So I decided to hit the singing/live entertainment circuit hard
and while I look for some money, I braided hair, did make- up, I de-
signed plus sized clothing for women, I dabbled in jewelry making
and I even did some nursing on the side, all in a bid to make ends
meet... Whew...As they came, I worked. God has provided.
KM: How would you describe your musical taste?
NG: My musical taste is a bit old. I can listen to rap etc., but my
mood isn't always a playful one. So I would cling to the stuff that
speaks to me and what I am or have experienced. Harry Connick Jr.
has a song called "Everyman Should Know", well this song helps
pacify me, especially when I think of how disappointing the opposite
sex can be sometimes. But Gospel music is my staple. My uncle is
Papa Rocky, my Dad Peter Guy took me to see him just before he
left for New York, and I grabbed the cassette player, ransacked his
entire collection whilst listening to " you bring me joy by Anita
Baker" and the temptations and so many other musical icons, I was
just amazed, as a ten year old, I was amazed at their ability to write
music so passionately. Their feelings stretched from miles away and
touched you wherever you were; I have old musical taste buds.
KM: How important was winning the competition to you?
NG: The title was very important to me. Being crowned Digicel
Rising Star of 2014 mattered more to me than the money. I kept
asking God to open the doors which He meant for me. I prayed al-
most every day. Life was just a sad story for a long time and I
needed a lift, a break, a chance, an olive branch, I needed something,
and I trusted God for it. For my mother Deanna Punter Caraballo, it
meant the world to me that she was there. We didn't have each
other from the age of two till I met her for the first time when I was
eleven. After that, we barely saw each other, and it was hard for the
both of us. I swear, even as an adult, I cried every day for my mom,
but I wasn't mature enough to understand why it all happened be-
fore, now I get it, and I put it all behind me, and it gave room for a lot
of healing between my mother and I... I love her to the core of my
being and I wanted this for her, for more reasons than one, I dedicate
this win to my Mother, Ms. Deanna Punter Caraballo.
KM: Do you think that plus sized women are treated differently in
the music industry? If yes, how?
NG: Yes, they are treated differently by some not all! I am confi-
dent in my own skin because I know exactly why I look the way I do
and I have accepted it, I have also accepted that worrying, stressing
and focusing on it constantly is only going to make me sick and it
won't help me one bit. I don't focus on the problem, I try to find solu-
tions. A lot of people would not agree with my method but they also
have no idea where I have been. I could have been dead in 2011 with
my 9month foetus inside of me. I am live, with all of the scars and
tears and pain and weight gain, I am alive, bless God for this, hence I
will continue to pursue my dreams and reach my goals no matter
what I look like.... Yes I get flack, I have been turned down, I have
been ill-treated and insulted, etc. etc... etc... But none of that matters
if you know who you are and what you are created for. Yes we are
treated differently in the music industry, I am sure that my weight
has blocked many opportunities, 100% sure of that, but I also know
"what is for you, is for you"! All kinds of nonsense about "your image
will damage the image of our band... You're fired" and I have heard it
all. Sex plays such a big part in selling music that a big woman like
me would be better off singing Gospel, according to some local pro-
ducers. Hmmm...Big women don't experience love? Can't I sing and
write and express on a record the way I felt when he proposed to
me as Kelly Price did? What about the big boned, ever vocal Patti
LaBelle professing her love to her man... She wasn't skinny... If my vi-
sion was limited, then I would have given up on music a long, long...
Long time ago... But I want to enter into the international market,
with good strong music and lyrical content. All things are possible
though Christ who strengthens me.
KM:Do people make too much of your plus-size image or it didn't
matter to the public?
NG: Before Digicel Rising Stars, YES... A skinny girl can stand on
stage with a mic and do nothing, but because you are plus sized, you
'gotta be wining and palancing' and up and down the place. How-
ever, during Digicel Rising Stars, I have had one person mention my
weight, to ME, she's didn't faze me plus she wasn't a fan of mine.
Whoever I met on the street, never made it an issue, they men-
tioned my clothing, how I carry about myself, hundreds of people
now call me Princess! But my weight was never an issue to anyone
but to those who wanted to find an issue with me, that's their busi-
ness, not mine.
KM: Have you ever struggled with low self-confidence as a plus
sized woman when you are performing in front of a lot of people?
Who or what inspires you?
NG: Oh I struggle with a lot of low self-confidence, I just try not
to take it with me onstage and even if I do happen to carry it with
me, singing erases all of my fears and insecurities. I literally lose
myself in singing, I cannot sing a song that I do not feel, and the
execution will never be the same. It is amazing how many times I
looked at people while I'm singing and their straight faces made
me feel like I was wearing two different sides of shoes, but after
leaving the stage, and they complement me, I realize how wrong I
was. So now, I just sing, even if I feel a little self-confidence kicking
in... I sing....
I am inspired by life, faith, God. He never gave up on me, even
when I wanted to, He never did... And He is God, so if He is holding
on, then so am I!
KM: What are your expectations now after winning the title?
NG: I expect God to continue lifting me, work, I am not looking
for a billboard or millions or fantasies, I just expect that people
would understand that it took a lot of work to get here and re-
spect that. Not try to continue to pull me down because I don't
look or wine like Suzie Q etc... Give me my just dues, because I
have paid mine...And still paying actually.
KM: Are there any artistes, who you will love to work with?
NG:I am opened to any creative suggestions as long as it isn't
degrading to women or any human for that matter BUT I Love me
some Kes and Bunji though #ijs
KM: Do you ever take a second to look back and appreciate all
the great things that has happened to you?
NG: Every day... Every single day I look at life before this entire
year... Locked up inside, goes nowhere, crying every day, depressed,
lonely, it was sad. Now I have few but true friends, fans, memories,
my title, and most of all, the love of my Father in heaven, thank
KM: What is the best advice you can give someone who wants
to enter the competition next year?
Advice... Muy importanté
NG: Never give up on your dreams, no matter what! You do not
look like someone else because you were never meant to... You,
your look, your experiences, your talent, your passion, your drive,
dress code, style... The complete package was created for a pur-
pose and as long as you continue to go on your knees and pray to
God asking Him to make your way clear, He is definitely going to
place you exactly where you belong... Not in your timing, but in His.
Digicel Rising Stars is not a game. Improve your craft and try again
if this is what you really want. Never sit and expect anything to
come to you, get up and go for it. And if I didn't say it before, al-
ways put God first, He will put you first.
KM: Looking forward to greater things from you. I appreciate
your time today Neisha and I just want to thank you for represent-
ing us, plus sized ladies in the industry,
NG: It's my pleasure Kimberly. Thank you for interviewing and
giving me the platform to once again, say the THANK YOU for all
the love and support, received.
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