The saying “Patience is a virtue” may now be close to the heart of Saint Lucian music sensation Teddyson John. After a carnival season of mixed reviews here in Saint Lucia in July of 2015, the performer watched, maybe to his amazement and that of others, as one of his songs exploded onto the international scene. The song ‘Allez’ from back in October had made it onto international Soca playlists on radio stations around the world. And the music video, the last time we checked, had received over a quarter of a million views online.
TJ started doing music as a young boy – everything from Gospel to Pop and Jazz – and went the Soca route in 2007, winning the first ever Groovy Soca Monarch title that year with the song ‘Coming Down De Road’. The following year he hit the spot again with ‘Wine Up On Me’ and has been unstoppable in the Soca arena ever since, hailed as one of the best Saint Lucian performers. Amidst performances in Toronto, Miami and Barbados, TJ embarked on a heavy promotional tour to the mecca of Soca – Trinidad and Tobago – during the third quarter of 2015. Under his belt was the song ‘Allez’ which was now quite familiar to many thanks to the airplay the song was receiving. During that period TJ was able to secure a number of bookings to perform during Trinidad’s carnival which officially opened on Boxing Day, December 26th, 2015 and will culminate on Tuesday February 9th, 2016.
Last weekend TJ blazed two of the biggest carnival fetes in Trinidad – Soka in Moka and Tribe Ice – which he says was an exhilarating feeling. But before he could even compose himself the good news arrived on Tuesday. When the names of the semi-finalists of the International Soca Monarch (ISM) were announced, TJ was among the fifty-nine. Others selected hail from Trinidad and Tobago as well as Grenada, Barbados, St. Vincent and Antigua.
TJ, who entered the competition through the submission of his hit song ‘Allez’ for the preliminary competition in December, is the lone Saint Lucian to advance to the semi-final stage. He is also set to compete in the ‘Carib Breakout Artiste of the Year’ competition which is all part of the ISM package. This competition will be judged strictly by digital media – social media and text messages – and all results will be based on fan votes.
Traditionally held in previous years on Carnival Friday and dubbed ‘Fantastic Friday’, the ISM competition has undergone some changes for 2016 as it celebrates twenty-four years. The separate International Groovy Soca Monarch and International Power Soca Monarch competitions, for which the top four were announced in each category, now fall under one event at the International Soca Monarch 2016 for which one person will be crowned.
The semi-finals and finals of the competition will be judged using the following criteria: Melody – 25%, Arrangement – 20%, Lyrics – 20%, Performance – 20% and Crowd Response -15%. The event will be held on Sunday January 17th at the Queens Park, Savannah. This is not TJ’s first outing at the competition but this is his first occasion on his own efforts, with the help of his management team and persistent networking with Soca DJs and promoters around the world. In 2008 TJ was part of a history-making contingent and one of four artistes funded by the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) to compete in the International Soca Monarch. The others were Kerian Piper, Marianne and Ricky T, with Ricky T advancing to the finals. TJ’s camp is hoping to go all the way this time and is putting everything in place to ensure that he makes it through to the finals.
On Tuesday evening TJ posted to his Instagram to fans and followers: “Just got the good news! Thank you so much for the support. I made it to the Semi Finals of @soca_monarch 2016 (International Soca Monarch). God is great. #allez #stepforward.” As the digital voting commences fans, supporters and well-wishers from across the globe are all encouraged to rally behind TJ as he continues in his pursuit of excellence and the flying of the St. Lucian flag.
More information on the International Soca Monarch and Carib Breakout Artiste of the Year can be found on the website http://socamonarch.net/