Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 6th 2015 Contents Leja Angelove
Known for winning Synergy
Soca Star season two with his
hit, "Move Dat Body", Umi
'Jaja' Marcano has proven him-
self to be quite the entertainer
with dance moves that make
the girls want to rip his clothes
off - evidenced in a live per-
formance at Woodford Square,
Port of Spain recently. It was
almost hard to believe that the
same person, comfortably clad
in a light blue sweater (due to
the drizzle outside) sat com-
fortably, chatting about his
real love for music.
Getting his start with a
karaoke company at Club
Casablanca, he got his first op-
portunity with them as they acknowledged his
talent and booked him for performances. Follow-
ing his early success, Umi followed up with hits
such as "Turn It Around" and "In Front Ah Meh".
During his career he has had the honour of work-
ing with Peter C. Lewis's band, The Orchestra, and
Machel Montano's band, HD. Working with Machel
doing background and frontline
vocals allowed him the opportu-
nity to open for international
artistes such as Beyonce and
Currently, Umi writes, per-
forms and even does audio pro-
duction for advertising. He is
pushing his Groovy Soca song
"Tun Up", produced by Stephen
'Yung Seechi' Seecharan and
written by himself alongside
Makamillion (also featured on
the song), Jah Mel and Kerry
John. The message in the song
is simple according to Umi:
"Don't go home the way you
came - go home faded and tun
up." Umi released other songs
for the Carnival season such as
"Wuk It Up", written by himself
alongside Emisson George, and produced by
WMG. Also, "Cah Miss It", written by Umi and pro-
duced by his independent production company,
West Coast Beats. With music as his primary
focus, he draws inspiration from life and follows
through by just letting the vibes take flight.
Having taken a sabbatical from music after a
business deal went sour in Toronto where a pro-
moter refused to pay him, Umi has resurfaced
with one goal in mind, declaring, "I just want to
get back on top. That ordeal left me cold. I just
needed some time for myself to get back to being
the Umi that people love."
He revealed that he's dropping an R&B song en-
titled "Toxic." The message in the song relates to
relationships and breaking up, making it extremely
Umi revealed, "I want to create an industry
movement whereby all music can get played and
marketed, not just soca. There are many talented
artistes here who are interested in singing genres
like rap and electronic, but there is no real plat-
form or appreciation for them."
In the workings is an LP album which comprises
his various styles and sounds showcasing Umi's
versatility and vibe.
"I think giving them a little bit of everything for
the first album is a good idea because people will
get a broad perspective of what I have to offer as
an artiste. I see music taking me to the Grammys,"
he said, encouraged.
• Supporters of Umi who love to #tunup can fol-
low him on Instagram @umidmak10 as well as Twit-
ter and Facebook @umimarcano.
This Carnival, prepare to add an extra 10
per cent to the advertised price of your fete
tickets. Scalping, or buying tickets in bulk to a
popular fete for the sole purpose of making a
profit, is now big business in Trinidad and To-
Though frowned upon, the practice is not ex-
plicitly prohibited in Trinbago, and it is up to
promoters to put measures in place to prevent
it from happening. So says Leslie, who has
been scalping tickets for 15 years.
Leslie, who declined to supply his surname,
splits his time between his day job selling
clothing and buying and reselling cars, and
scalping tickets for all the biggest fetes. It's
the money he makes from his personal busi-
ness ventures that he uses to invest in buying
tickets in bulk.
Of course, there are always risks. Some-
times scalpers can be left with tickets they
can't offload in time.
"The most I ever lost was $25,000 for 200
tickets to WASA fete in 2009. They cost $125
each. But on the night of the fete, the pro-
moter was selling them for $100 each and
every half hour or so the price would drop
again to $80, then to $60. So of course I got
my tickets for $125 and I'm still trying to make
a profit, but nobody was looking to buy from
me when they could get it for less than half of
that. So I had to eat that loss."
But Leslie says the gamble doesn't dissuade
him. Just as there are bad times, there are
equally good times. The trick, he says, is to
know which signature events to invest in, and
to get his hands on tickets early. The popular-
ity of events each year can be a good gauge
for which tickets will be in high demand.
"Some of the fetes like Tribe, Soca Brain-
wash, Beach House and Diamond Vale break-
fast party, you have to know someone to get
those tickets and they're not easy to get, so
you can make a profit. For example, Beach
House was $1300 in advance, but I can get
$2500 for those on resale."
"Once I made $120,000 in an hour for Pan
Semis. That was about four years ago and I
think it was the last year Pan sold out. A par-
ticular client wanted to buy 600 tickets, plus
$10,000 cash for sourcing them all. And easy
like that, that's money in my pocket."
While scalping sometimes gets a bad name,
Leslie believes he provides an important serv-
ice and that the profit he makes is the price for
sourcing hard to get tickets.
"I have a lot of return customers. Most peo-
ple don't have the time to run down tickets
going to a set of retailers when the tickets are
in high demand. Or maybe they weren't think-
ing about the event and the date crept up on
them last minute and it's too late to get tick-
ets. I help with that."
"I'm doing the same thing as car importers
so I don't know why people only have a prob-
lem when it's tickets. People will buy a shoe for
$100US and resell it for $4000TT and pocket
the profit and nobody has a problem with that.
People want to brand scalpers a certain way
and I don't know why."
According to Leslie, since ticket booths are
open to the public and anyone can get their
tickets early, he isn't doing anything wrong or
"If there was anything wrong with this they
would have stopped it long time. I think that's
why they started with the barcodes on the
tickets. They trying to freeze us out of the sys-
tem. But if they don't want us to scalp tickets
they could enforce ticket limits. But even then,
there are ways to get around those things. If a
retailer isn't getting any sales for a whole
week and someone comes in asking for 500
tickets, they are just happy to get the sale."
"But plenty promoters have friends scalping
their own events. Committee members will
have tickets for $200 each, but they hold the
tickets and then scalp them for $400 on the
night. I am telling you everybody is scalping.
From the stage manager come down. Some of
the most well known people are taking the
comps they get and selling them back for a
profit and all. Everybody is doing it."
And Leslie has no plans of stopping anytime
soon. After the Carnival season is over he'll be
focusing his efforts on Twenty20 cricket.
"I think scalping is just an exchange. Some-
body with a BA or a PhD not making that kind
of money in an hour for a piece of cardboard.
Tickets give me everything I have. I will never
Being relatively unknown in
T&T while experiencing massive
success as a Soca artiste in the
UK is a weird feeling for Rodell
Sorzano aka Trini Boi Joocie.
On one hand, while in the UK he
has won Road March Titles, sold
out fetes and even headlined the
Love Supreme Festival (as the first
Soca artiste to do so) with Jazz
musician Courtney Pine which also
featured leading international Jazz
legends. Then on the other hand
when he gets home to Trinidad he
wonders who to call but he isn't
worried. He intends to market him-
self at home and regionally.
"I try really hard to market my-
self when I in Trinidad. It's so
weird, a lot of people think I'm a
new artiste, then when they do
their research they realise what
I'm about. I've played so many
shows in the UK, I can't even re-
member them all. But I know that
making it in T&T is the mark that I
want to hit," said Trini Boi Joocie.
Issue 171• Friday, February 6, 2015
What stands out about beautiful
Vincentian soca artiste Lornette
Yoland Nedd Reid (aka Fya Empress)
is not her accent, but the tone of her
voice - soothing and strong. Clocking
15 years in the professional music in-
dustry, Fya Empress began her career
doing music festivals at school. Travel
took her to Tobago to sing back-
ground vocals with Michael Baker, be-
fore going on her own, explaining,
"My husband, David Reid (aka Mr. Fu-
sion), started booking shows for me."
Winner of the Best New Female
Soca Artiste award at the International
Soca Awards 2011, Fya Empress also
defended her title at the Tobago Soca
Monarch competition on three sepa-
rate occasions. In addition to winning
Tobago Calypso Monarch 2014 and the
St. Vincent Ragga Soca Monarch, Ca-
lypso Monarch and Road March
(2013), she achieved international soca
status with hits such as, "No Money,
No Wuk" and "Ah Ketch It". Laughing,
she divulged, "Trinidad and Tobago
never really knew who I was until I
sang 'Rum Please' for the 2013 finals."
'Mo' Bacchanal' is the release which
earned her a spot in the International
Soca Monarch semi finals. Produced by
Andre 'Hits' Phillip (Grenada) and writ-
ten by 645 Entertainment (Trinidad),
the song is also going to be featured
on the Soca Gold 2015 VP Records CD.
"The song is about what happens on
the road - what happens when you
hear sweet soca music - what it does
to you! It's just to put on your cos-
tumes, come out and get on bad. Mo'
Bacchanal!" (There isn't a video,
though, due to a minor production
Recently, she has joined the O.M.G.
band alongside Akeem 'Preedy' Chance
and Virgil Williams and she already
looks forward to 2016. "Just five years
ago my wish was to just make a state-
ment in St. Vincent - and I did. Now, to
win road march or calypso monarch in
Trinidad would be a dream come true
Being a female in the music industry
has its challenges, but her main sup-
port comes from her husband and col-
league in their band Fire Fusion.
"We write together. Our creative
process is natural and we focus on the
content - how we write and how to put
it across. The dynamic works for a
good end product. Also, children listen
to our music and look up to us, even
calling me 'Aunty Fya Empress', so the
lyrics have to be a certain standard."
Open to working with anyone, she
added, "So long as the rhythm is good
and they know what they're doing!"
Umi 'Jaja' Marcano
To stay updated with Fya Empress, follow her on Twit-
ter @fyaempress, Instagram @ fyaempress and Face-
book at FyaEmpress. To support #Mo'Bacchanal at the
International Soca Monarch, text #IsmBreakOutArtiste-
FyaEmpress to 1005.
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