Toya talks about the message in music!

Photo by David Pascal

She has tasted victory and success before, most recently in 2008 when she won the Miss SLHTA pageant wowing the judges with her singing ability and her charm on the night. Now, 23-year-old Latoya who simply goes by “Toya” is eyeing another prize, this time the 2011 Groovy Soca Monarch.
Toya has been singing for many years now, doing mostly back up for various Soca artistes, and decided to give Soca music a go in 2008. One year later, she was a finalist in the Groovy Soca Monarch with the popular “Dickie” and did it again in 2010 with “Feel the Rhythm.” This year, Toya is feeling much more than the rhythm. She is totally engulfed and feeling the energy, colour, vibrancy, creativity and artistic expression that is the excitement of this great cultural expression called carnival. And it was under such influences that she came up with the song for 2011 simply called “Carnival.”
Toya sat down with us to talk about the song which happens to be a favourite with a sweet melody, simple yet effective arrangements and good lyrics to match.
“This song ‘Carnival,’ I wrote the lyrics and it was produced by Miguel Joseph of Studio 9,” she started to explain. “It’s a song for which I was given the beat since last year but I wanted to pay tribute to carnival with a song and do it right. And so I had to take my time with it. The ideal for me was to incorporate all the elements of carnival, the brass, the steel pan, the imagery of people having fun in the bands in their costume and just that whole wonderful feeling that is our wonderful culture of carnival,” Toya continued. She went on to inform us that she started putting ideas together for the song since November 2010 and finished it this past February, 2011.
Elated that she has once again made it to the Groovy Soca Monarch finals Toya says she wants to bring a real carnival experience showpiece to the stage come tomorrow night Thursday July 14 at the Groovy Soca Monarch finals which will be held ay Pointe Seraphine.
“For me it is not just about winning, but making a true contribution to carnival and this is my opportunity to do that, so I am going all out with my production on the night and you can expect to experience the true essence of carnival and our culture,” Toya says. For the past two weeks it has been lots of rehearsals for the young female performer with lots of vocal training, working with her dancers and getting enough sleep in between. And now as showtime approaches she says she is ready to put on a good show for her fans and the audience, come the night.
We asked Toya about Saint Lucia’s carnival and the music in general and she stated that the carnival has a lot of potential but things can be better organized and put in place well in advance each year if the event is to improve.
“In terms of the music, honestly we need to open our minds to a lot more diversity. Somehow there is just too much smut and underlying messages or direct negative messages in the music,” Toya states.  “And some of the artistes who put a lot of effort into doing good music get stifled. But if we are to grow they should not give up and the DJ’s and the organizers of events need to give them the opportunities to expand. So I think the artistes in general need to grow out of the mind set of doing music just to stir up reaction here and yes, try to do music that has something uniquely Saint Lucian but with universal appeal at the same time,” she stressed.
Toya, who works as at M.A.C Cosmetics agent at the Bay Walk Mall says she loves cooking, swimming, and travelling with an addiction for shopping.  But for now music brings her much joy and she is thrilled to be a part of this thing called “looshan carnival” and adding much to its sweetness for 2011.

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