Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 2nd 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt March 1 - 2017
Voice overcomes tech glitch to retain title
Far from Finished
A video of a child growing up in
the San Juan community plays on a
screen. Romanesque columns line
either side of a well-lit stage and
dancers can be seen peeking out from
behind. A translucent screen pops
into place and Aaron "Voice" St Louis,
the now two-time Soca Monarch
champion, appears on stage, royal in
a purple and gold jacket. The music
starts. The champion sings. The music
doesn't sync. It's jarring how incom-
patible the rhythm is to his voice.
The crowd notices. He does too.
Before long, the lights cut and Voice
exits the stage.
After 20 well-executed musical per-
formances on stage at the Hasely
Crawford Stadium for the Internation-
al Soca Monarch competition on Fan-
tastic Friday, the only error occurred
before the reigning champ. Everyone
notices and can feel the tension ripe
and rippling over the venue.
The crowd starts chanting his name.
The host, an empathetic Jason Wil-
liams, comes on with a brief expla-
nation and words of encouragement,
then follows up announcing the artiste
for the second time.
It was scripted by intervention,
either divine or man-made.
Voice was, in every essence of the
phrase which is the title of his winning
track, Far from Finished.
The performance which followed
was a tightly produced, confident ser-
enade of the masses as he stressed on
his mission of singing about positiv-
ity in a space focused on wine and
Voice gave a performance deserving
of a Soca Monarch title despite fierce
competition from the well-loved Iwer
George, the crooning Orlando Octave,
and the legacies of Terri Lyons and
In an interview published online
from his home, the young soca artiste,
who won the competition during his
first finals appearance last year, gave
thanks to God and to T&T for the
support. He spoke about the emotions
which bombarded him after the tech-
nical glitch in his first attempt.
"I realised I was singing and wasn't
hearing myself. I thought they had
miss the timing. I thought it was the
mic. I reach the chorus and the beat
didn't come in. When I look to the
side one of the guys from Roy Cape
said to come off the stage."
He said he was told something was
wrong with a piece of equipment, but
pointed out that it was the only major
glitch for the night after 20 perfor-
"I wasn't feeling good. There were
tears. I broke down. You work so hard
and you want to achieve something
and this one thing come in the way.
I felt like I disappointed a lot of peo-
ple because the expectations were high
and at that point in time I felt there
was nothing I could do but cry."
The singer's parents, who were on
hand to hear his victory announced,
were also emotional, telling the media
about how disappointed their son was,
even as he sang the words of advice
from his father: "What is for you is
Crowd favours Iwer
Voice was followed by Octave in
second place with his Single, Devon
Matthews in third and George in posi-
tion number four.
The dwindling crowd waiting for
the results were quick to express their
George had, in typical fashion,
received the most overwhelming
response, with jumping, waving, hands
splayed in the air and singing Take
Ah bathe from the crowd for the night.
But for the judges, who look at cri-
teria other than crowd response, such
as lyrics, it wasn't enough.
Instead, Matthews, with a powerful
performance of his Ella Andall collab-
oration called D Journey, edged him
out of third place.
In an interview afterwards, Mat-
thews said this particular win felt
especially good to him because of the
high calibre of performances during
the night. It is the highest he has
placed in the finals after three times
participating. It also comes off of his
third place in the Young Kings com-
He dedicated the victory to his
father, who passed away last year. He
said every year for Soca Monarch his
father was present.
"This year, he wasn't there, but now
I believe in angels."
Octave, who used his performance
to spread a message about protecting
T&T's women, said he felt good about
placing second, but felt even better
that he had gotten the opportunity to
speak to the large crowd about gen-
After making changes to the show
last year, this year, hosts Caribbean
Prestige Foundation made several
reversals, including a live broadcast
and the results given on the same day.
The show saw several delays this year,
starting half-hour late and finish
around 5 am.
Antiguan soca songstress Tizzy
opened the main show followed by a
performance from Blackman, who per-
formed hours after attending her
grandmother's funeral. One key
moment was when the young singer
changed her vocal range from the high-
pitch required of the song to a more
Kees made a second appearance with
another artiste with a famous legacy,
Kernal Roberts, son of Aldwyn Roberts,
Terri Lyons, who had a performance
where her father awkwardly crawled
on stage with a lion costume, was well
received by the crowd.
A soca fan reacts as reigning Soca Monarch Aaron 'Voice' St Louis arrives on stage during the finals of the
International Soca Monarch last Friday.
2017 International Soca Monarch, Aaron 'Voice' St Louis during his winning performance of
"Far from finished'.
PHOTOS: ANISTO ALVES
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