Soufriere native Elijah Arthur Allain has for a third consecutive year made Saint Lucians proud with a super performance at last Sunday’s National Soca Monarch Competition held at the Daren Sammy Cricket Stadium. It was no easy task competing against such soca giants as Ricky T, Teddyson John, Q-Pid, Ambi, Mongstar and Ezra D’Fun Machine. A longstanding music ambassador for the island and seven years a schoolteacher, Arthur (as he is best known) has performed at several major national events, and undertaken successful school tours that made fans of teachers, students and their parents island-wide.
The current lead vocalist for the band Evalucian, and former front man for Matrix recently sat down with me to talk about himself, something he does not particularly enjoy. “What drives me is my passion for music,” he said, as if that were not obvious. “I want our artistes, when they travel, to see themselves as ambassadors for our country and to be given due recognition at home.”
Hardly surprising, Arthur dislikes “negative energy.” A bright outlook will always overcome depression, he said. His smile lighting up the room, he added: “I came into Soca via the Matrix Band and started off doing rap.”
Singing now for some seven years, he credits his father for his initial interest in music. At weekends, Arthur recalled, he would play his records and sing along with them. At secondary school his music teacher encouraged him to take up various instruments. He started experimenting with the recorder then moved on to acoustic and bass guitars, keyboards and folk drum.
He plans over the next three years to be touring with Evalucian and to record an album to be used as a tool to market Saint Lucia overseas. “I am especially proud to have been the first artiste to win the Soca Monarch Competition three times in a row,” he said. “It just goes to show yet again that with hard work the sky really is the limit for the truly ambitious.”
He names among his heroes Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson, Teddyson John, Ricky T and Derek Yard. He also greatly admires Machel Montano, Kes and R Kelly.
Looking way ahead, Arthur sees himself “settled with my family and quietly enjoying life, having achieved all my ambitions. A fantasy for now but you never know.” Above all he hopes to be a role model for young people.
“I want to be for Saint Lucia what Rihanna is to Barbados,” he said finally. “I want people overseas to hear my music and be inspired to visit where it came from. What an achievement, to serve as the flag of Saint Lucia in places I may never have visited. That’s my favourite fantasy.”
If hard work and self-confidence have anything to do with success, it won’t be long before this most patriotic Saint Lucian realizes his wildest dreams. Like Rihanna?