Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 10th 2015 Contents 12 Friday April 10, 2015 • Issue 176
The Carters is a name that buzzes the
local performance world. It's a family of 3
that comprises of some of Trinidad and To-
bago's most exciting musical talent. Be-
tween the 2 Brothers and Sister they are
singers, songwriters, multiple musician play-
ers and top-notch performers.
Phil is the middle Carter. Native to West
Moorings, and he is what we would refer to as
a musical prodigy. His journey in music began
at just 5 years old, he admits to being a bit of
a problem child, but his father decided to
channel that energy into, of all things, learning
It was during this time that his love of
music began to take seed. In the years to
come, Phil got a bachelor degree in Music, be-
came a classically trained Grade 8 Level violin-
ist, and he taught himself how to play piano
and guitar. Not only that but he began com-
posing his own music.
What makes him interesting is his varied
musical tastes when it comes to performing.
His taste for the main stage came with his
stint as the guitarist and back up vocals for a
local rock band called Krash. They had a 7-year
run in the industry, however due to commit-
ment issues the band fell apart. He never re-
grets the time though, and it helped him focus
his life to his craft.
From his days as a rock star, Phil and his
siblings formed The Carters -- a cover band
that has a huge point of reference in the Cor-
porate music scene. They have spent the last
few years carving their own niche and devel-
oping their own style of music. That sounds
easy but with Dax, the older brother being a
rocker to the bone and Marie his sister being
and R&B songstress, Phil gets to bring all of
their style and his own interest into some-
thing that is unique and beautifully Caribbean
The formula works because they have
made music for giants like Angostura, opened
for Sean Paul, Shaggy and Machel Montano
and more. Phil has his eyes on the global
scene now, at the moment they are finalizing
a cache of original music and are being
courted by two international labels for signing.
At the moment he's putting his musical mind
to use in making their music commercial but
still true to all of their individual passions in
music -- the irony of balancing the act as the
only child is quite overstated. His vision how-
ever is just within grasp, and they are about to
launch on the social media scene quite soon.
Phil and the Carters are definitely people to
watch, take check them out via facebook.com/
and www.xxx.com and check out a sneak
peak of one of their songs here: tell us what
you think by tweeting us @metromagazinett
Prolific songwriter, Jelani Shaw is the
creative mind behind some of the best
lyrics ever penned. He continues to at-
tract attention on the music scene and
shows no sign of slowing down anytime
MM: Where do you get your ideas? Do
you choose the topic or does it choose
JS: It's never the same way twice. A
song is always a new venture to me. I need
to start from a fresh page every single
time and life is a book which has blessed
me with a lot of those.
MM: When you're writing a song, are
you thinking about the listener or are
you writing what you need to get out
personally? Does knowing that other
people are going to listen affect your
process at all?
JS: When I wrote plays at the UWI for a
playwrights course, we'd have to give our
peers our work to read aloud; so it's be-
come a norm for people to hear my
thoughts. I'm not afraid to connect a PA
system to my mind, but essentially, I spend
time with the artiste. I try my best to paint
a picture for them that fits just right in
their house of music. I really do work on
MM: At what point do you know a
song is "ready" and make yourself move
on to the next song?
JS: Haha. Once the artiste, other produc-
ers (if any) and management are all satis-
fied with what I've delivered, then it's
MM: Pick one or two favorites of all
the songs you've written, and tell me
about them. Why are you so fond of
JS: Well I have a lot of unreleased work
that I cherish, so I'll dig into the more
a. "Great Parade" was a poem... a letter
to my country. I wrote that song almost a
year ago and it had so much soul in the
lyrics before I composed the music. The
chords came to me in St Lucia and I played
it for hours. When I got back home I felt it
so deep inside my bones. I just hoped
that when I sang the demo, somebody
would hear the love I have for my
country in my voice. In my words.
Luckily, Machel called on New
Year's Day saying that he loved it.
b. Obviously "Ministry of
Road" would be the other song.
It's my baby. It's the song that
literally changed my life and
continues to do so. I was able
to see the power of
Caribbean Music. The power of Soca. The
vision of Machel to see that the idea was
good enough to be taken that far. We won
everything. And I don't mean the trophies, I
mean the respect that I tried to earn from
a lot of people for a long time. Many people
doubted that I was going to rise to any-
thing in the music circle. They thought I
was a Kanye wanna be, or a culture bug
who played drums from time to time. That
song and all the others that year gave me
the fuel and recognition that any musician
would want. It brought me closer to my
dad and helped me to understand just how
hard it truly is to be a creative in this
World. I love my job.
MM: What/Who are some of your mu-
JS: I'd get influenced by literally any-
thing if you give me a chance. Ask Kasey
Phillip how I wrote "D Influence" for Kerwin
Du Bois (great story) haha! My iTunes is
crazy. From Miles Davis, Prince, Quincy
Jones, John Mayer, Neil Young Peter
Gabriel, Kanye West, to Buju Banton and
Bob Marley. It's weird and I'm weird.
MM: What's been the proudest mo-
ment of your career up to this point?
JS: My proudest moment. Wow. I'd say
winning the Road March & Soca monarch
titles after I promised my mom a year be-
fore that I'd win them for her "someday"
and taking her and both my grandmothers
to my University graduation at the UWI in
MM: Do you have advice for someone
who wants to become a songwriter?
JS: I don't think I've been in the circle
long enough to give advice, really. That
seems out of place for me. The most I can
say is that there are a lot of really superb
writers right here in Trinidad&Tobago. We
just have to acknowledge them more, so
that they are recognised as a huge part of
MM: Give us an idea who you have
JS: Primarily I've written and produced
for Machel Montano, but I've been able to
add the likes of Kerwin Du Bois and Patrice
Roberts to the roster this year. Those are
the names I can say for now, because
those songs have been published, but I'm
working with other great talents, locally
and internationally. I am a Songwriter, but I
also produce music as well. I'm very grate-
MM: When did you realise that you
were good at song writing?
JS: Well, strange enough, I think I called
it into existence. You see, my surname is
Shaw, which in my mind makes me wonder
whether or not I am related, in some
strange way, to George Bernard Shaw (the
great playwright and political activist).
Other than that, I always liked writing from
a tender age and I only just recognised
that. So thanks for asking.
MM: Who did you enjoy writing for
the most and why?
JS: I enjoy writing, period. Doesn't mat-
ter for whom. I'm always myself with a pen
in my hand, whether I'm writing, painting,
drawing, whatever... I'm happy when I'm
MM: What inspires you?
JS: Well to inspire means to "fill (some-
one) with the urge or ability to do or feel
something, especially to do something cre-
ative." So I believe God inspires me.
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