She may not be a household name in Saint Lucia – yet! But twenty-nine year old Cleopatra Jules is one step closer to making her mark as an internationally recognized singer, songwriter and maybe even actress. Cleopatra is one of ten delegates selected to represent Saint Lucia at a major talent search in the Bahamas where she will audition before talent scouts and agents from around the world.“I started singing in church,” Cleopatra responded when we asked about how her talent first developed. “From there I got the encouragement and later joined my school choir and performed at school and church events and functions,” she recalled. In 2009 Cleopatra represented Super J at the inter-commercial house Calypso competition, placing third. “After that I migrated to Barbadosfor a while where I took my songwriting and recording a lot more seriously,” she told the STAR. “My focus was to give my music, my songwriting my all so that I could get to that point where I could be seen as having that international quality,” she added. While in Barbados she recorded a Christmas song in 2010 and collaborated with Barbadian Peter Ram for another song pitched at 2012 Barbados Crop Over festival.
Earlier this year Cleopatra vaguely noticed something about a talent search to be held here in Saint Lucia in February. By her own admission she did not pay much attention to it. “Then a few days before the actual auditions a friend called me to tell me about Island MMTS [Music, Model and Talent Showcase] and asked if I was going. So at that point I said, ‘why not?’ and I decided I would take advantage of it,” Cleopatra said. Not only did she audition, but she was recognized for her singing, songwriting and acting skills.
“The acting, I did not plan to do it but when I got to the auditions, I heard about it and I was given a television commercial script to read, which I did,” Cleopatra revealed. The very next day she got an email and a call back from the Bahamian scouts informing her that she had been selected to travel to the Bahamas in July.
“Since then I have just been getting prepared, doing the best I can. I know I have what it takes to become an international recording artiste; this is what I want and so I am going for it,” the aspiring entertainer disclosed.
Her family, she says, is very supportive of her. “They know that this is something I have always wanted and they recognize that this is an opportunity of a lifetime for me.”
Also supportive of Cleopatra and the other delegates is Delia Louis who is the regional director of Island MMTS. She explains to us what the agency is all about.
“Island MMTS based in the Bahamas is an exclusive organization for talent. In February they held auditions for Caribbean talent to travel to the Bahamas to network, meet talent agencies from across the world and get the opportunity to compete and get selected for recording deals, careers as models, actors and songwriters,” Louis says.
There were auditions in several Caribbean islands – a total of 23 – with Saint Lucia fielding the largest contingent – over one hundred. “We actually had more persons than we could have accommodated on the day,” Louis says.
The Saint Lucia delegates selected include models, singers, actors and one songwriter. There were also the virtual auditions across the Caribbean which were won by songwriter Kazia Aurelien.
“Since the selection we have been going through training and workshops in various areas with the delegates. These include a copyright workshop with ECCO, a workshop with a lawyer on contracts and legal representation, advice on the industry and recording with Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, and make-up application with Pink Charcoal,” Louis explains. The delegates have also been practicing their interview skills and offered tips on imaging.
Scheduled to leave Saint Lucia on July 12 and return July 19, most of those selected are working on funding for the trip. “This is somewhat challenging so we have been on a drive to get sponsorship to cover our airfare, meals and accommodation,” Louis says.
While in the Bahamas the participants will attend seminars and workshops with agents and talent managers and then audition before various representatives. Those who are successful will receive call-backs, while all attendees will get the opportunity to leave their demos and portfolios with interested parties.
As the time draws nearer for the Island MMTS event in the Bahamas, Delia Louis is appealing to the general public and to corporate Saint Lucia to assist in making the trip possible. “We have a letter
of endorsement from the ministry of creative industries but we are still waiting to see whether we will also get some sort of financial assistance from them,” she says. But in the meantime Delia Louis, Cleopatra Jules and Kazia Aurelien are all excited about their possibilities with high hopes that they can indeed make Saint Lucia proud.