soca

10 Questions with International Soca Artist Scrappy

Scrappy live at O2
Scrappy live at O2 (UK Soca Scene Photo)

Born Garvin Johnson, Scrappy has been performing now for more than 20 years starting out as a calypsonian in the mid 90s on Montserrat. We asked him 10 questions on lessons learned as an entrepreneur and entertainer.

1. Where/who do you get your work ethic from?

Scrappy: I am very optimistic so my work ethic comes from that. I am always considering the possibility of success on the next level so I always have a new aim or target and find ways to better what I’ve done.

2. When did you decide that you wanted to focus on Soca and do it full-time?

Scrappy: From 2005 when I came to Montserrat and saw the love and support I got with my debut album. I realized that this is where I want to be.

3. What jobs have you done while trying to build your music career?

Scrappy: Well I teach music. Also I used to work at a Pizza Hut delivery service and Virgin Megastore.

4. Tell me about the creation of Tropical Storm. How does having your own band change the soca game for you and how you show up on stage?

Scrappy
Scrappy live at O2 (UK Soca Scene Photo)

Scrappy: Tropical Storm is a Caribbean band by that I mean mixed cultures and music ideas. Having my own band makes me more flexible on stage in terms of performances. CD’s limit you.

5. What are some of the challenges of doing soca on the European scene?

Scrappy: Exposing it to new territories and have to explain what soca is and all the work that comes with it. Plus the EU market is still new to soca so you need to be detailed about planning how and when you do stuff in the various countries.

  6. What kind of money can you make for gigs across the countries? Which ones pay more?

Scrappy: Well the money is based on you as a brand/product. Just as different tablets sell for different prices because of the quality of the brand so making money is down to how you build your brand. It varies.

7.Money secrets that you learned the hard way.

Scrappy: Always make sure that you can cover running (operating) costs. We always over look the bills that needs to be paid to make the money.

8. Talk about the new music project. How long does it take you to write before hitting the studio or does it happen when you go in and listen to rhythms? Talk us through the process.

Scrappy: Well I get the music first then vibe off that but in rare occasions I make a vibe up then put music to it. Writing isn’t hard though. My mother had me reading a lot in school and now I realise how that helps me to write and express myself.

9. Which artists have you worked with and admire their work ethic? Who would you like to work with?

Scrappy: Well I more work with producers than artists. Artists now are so focused on building themselves that it’s hard to get anyone so easy but I like SD Productions, Daddy Willo and Junez.

10. Your one core belief about music? Your core belief about business? Your core belief about what you can do in the world.

Scrappy:

On MusicAlways keep in mind you will cross paths again with the people you have met. The small promoter now can be the big promoter tomorrow.

On Business – Build your brand and product. Learn and know your competition and always think that what you can achieve they can also so that way you never underestimate other people.

On the World – Well I have this idea that we are all connected in the world. It sounds crazy BUT if I for instance get bad news, and I share it with someone form Montserrat they might be sad because I am sad, then they will share that with someone in America and then my sadness has now affected someone in America and it goes on and on. So for what I can do in the world is teach love. Sometimes we just need to be the one person who started it and it spreads. ?

jam up on somebody coverConnect with Scrappy:
Email: garvin@jmediagroup.co.uk

Website:www.scrappyonline.net 

Twitter:www.twitter.com/scrappyonline

Facebook:www.facebook.com/scrappyonline
Soundcloud:www.soundcloud.com/scrappyonline

Candlelight Soca Fete for Arrow

Father George Agger lights a candle in memory of Arrow.

LITTLE BAY, Montserrat – More than 300 people came out to celebrate the life and music of The Soca King of the World, Alphonsus “The Mighty Arrow” Cassell MBE on Wednesday evening at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. Arrow passed away at his home on Montserrat at the age


Basil Chambers of ZJB Radio Montserrrat organized and hosted the memorial celebration.

of 60 and after a long battle with cancer.

The candlelight soca fete was organized by Basil Chambers of ZJB Radio Montserrat, Tribestar and Bang de dread sound systems.

Father George Agger gave the opening prayer and the music begun. Rev. Joan Meade was also on hand to offer another prayer for the family and remarked that Arrow will remain with us because of the vast amount of music and memories that he has created for Montserratians and people all over the world.

The Cassell family has announced that funeral services will be held on Friday, October 1 at 2pm at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.

Here are a few pictures from the event.

It was all about the man and the music, who provided a fundamental party song and jam with Hot Hot Hot.

The Mighty Arrow, Soca King of the World, dies at 60

BRADES, Montserrat – The Government and People of Montserrat join in mourning the loss of The Soca King of the World, Alphonsus “The Mighty Arrow” Cassell MBE. He died at his residence on Montserrat today Wednesday 15 September 2010 at the age of 60.

The island’s national Radio Station ZJB was today overwhelmed with calls of grief and offers of condolences to Arrow’s family in an atmosphere of deep mourning across the island.

Montserrat’s Chief Minister, The Honourable Reuben T. Meade said; “Arrows passing is a national loss of a Cultural Institution and a National Icon who was generous, kind and the embodiment of an enduring and unmoving love for humanity.  Arrow was an entertainer who shared with his people and the world life’s lessons of securing triumph over challenges and opportunity over loss.  He will live on in the hearts of all Montserratians.”

Arrow was diagnosed with cerebral cancer in early 2009.  He was airlifted to the neighbouring island of Antigua last week for treatment.  His family wishes to thank the medical teams in Montserrat, Miami and Antigua, friends and family who gave their support during the period of his illness.

Arrow or “Phonzie”, as he was referred to by close friends and family, is responsible for taking the Soca genre to the international music scene with his 1982 smash hit, Hot, Hot, Hot.

Having won the local Montserrat Calypso Competition on three occasions, the talents of the proud son of Montserrat were spotted by former Beatles manager, Sir George Martin, who worked with Arrow to turn his focus to his recording and touring career.

Arrow recorded no less than 22 studio albums with other notable hits including Long Time, Dancing Mood, O’La Soca and Groove Master. He has performed at concerts, music festivals and gala events across the globe.

“His death is a great loss to the family, his native land of Montserrat and the music world,” said his brother, Justin “Hero” Cassell, another talented vocalist and songwriter, who worked with Arrow during his peak years. Funeral arrangements are to be announcements in due course.

For further information contact Justin “Hero” Cassell at 1 (664) 496-0203.

… Ends …

Champeon igniting a Soca “Movement”

Florence, South Carolina (Sonique Solutions) –  Ten years after leaving Trinidad in 2000 to pursue his education in the United States, Champeon returns to his homeland with a renewed passion to promote his latest Soca smash single “Move,” a collaborative effort between himself and producer extraordinaire Shawn “Da Ma$tamind” Noel.

This hard working artiste whose birth name is Ronnel Ramirez discovered his passion for music at the age of 8 yrs old. At this young age he developed his craft for writing a variety of musical styles such as Soca, Rapso, Reggae, Hip Hop and R&B. He later honed his performance skills as a teenager performing in local talent shows with his group Absentee Crew (which comprised himself and fellow classmates from his alma mater, San Juan Secondary in Trinidad).

His time with Absentee Crew propelled his zeal for the entertainment industry and the group eventually recorded a song entitled “Vibes Yah Later” and performed at an event in Miami at which they opened for former Road March winner Sanelle Dempster. After a brief hiatus to complete his education, Champeon is back as a solo artiste armed with a sure crowd pleaser in the form of the new track “Move”.

The up-tempo song which is set to drive Soca lovers wild was recorded at the famed Mastamind Productions Studio in New York City. “Move” contains all the ingredients of a Carnival hit, taut instrumentation inclusive of soulful horns and pulsating percussion, catchy, memorable hooks and dynamic lyrics which create the imagery of an energetic Soca fete or Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

When asked about his experience working with Shawn “Da Ma$tamind” Noel, Champeon stated, “Mastamind is a genius when it comes to his music. Working with a producer with such great credentials was intimidating at first, but once I was in the studio the vibes just started to flow and great music was the result”.

With regards to the inspiration behind creating this track, he shared that he used elements of his own upward journey into the Soca industry as well as his progressive mindset towards opportunity as a foundation for the song. “Move is the beginning of Champeon as an artiste; I call it “The Movement”. Move is what you do when the rhythm of Soca hits you….You can’t stand still!!!  “Move” can also mean any movement that makes you feel good”.

Currently residing in South Carolina, Champeon had an entertainment presence in major Southern USA events and showcases such as The Charleston, Carifest, The Charlotte Caribbean Festival, the Glow After Party at Twilght Club in Charlotte, North Carolina and various shows in Florida.

Although not based in the Caribbean and not surrounded by Soca music, this husband and father of two is an ambassador for the music and culture in a market where most people have never heard of Soca or Calypso i.e. “The Dirty South”.

He maintains his presence within the Caribbean community through the use of social networks e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace and has made his track “Move” available for legal purchase via www.trinidadtunes.com.

Thus far, Champeon has received tremendous support from his family and friends for his entertainment aspirations and positive feedback from key members of the Soca fraternity. Even though hea professional career in the Telecommunications field ‘Champ’ is still hungry for musical success and ready to take the world of Soca by storm.

As he plans his highly anticipated promotional visit to T&T hethanks all his supporters for the love and well wishes and invites all potential fans to embrace him as a new artist as he brings forward fresh, positive music geared towards making the masses sing, dance, jump and wave and even think.

One might ask why the name Champeon. To this query he simply answers, “When someone calls my name ‘Champion’ or ‘Champ’ it helps me conquer anything that I try to achieve in life. The name helps me to stay focused and keeps me on my ‘A’ game

To obtain more information on Champeon access the following links:

MySpace:http://www.myspace.com/champpezy

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Champeon-Champpezy/127954910578513?ref=ts

Twitter:http://twitter.com/champpezy

Reverbnation:http://www.reverbnation.com/champeon