“I don’t ever think of giving up, that’s why my name is Prosper.”
No doubt about it, Sabina George Francis is the definition of persistence. Ahead of the release of his fifth album, Grace De Dieux (Grace of God), the St Lucian musician stopped by the STAR to quite literally spread the Gospel. Much of his music revolves around advocating for the betterment of St Lucia, and within his lyrics he speaks out against crime and makes a point of uplifting young people.
“My message is about crime, asking people to be more responsible, speaking to the young people, especially young men about the way they live,” he explained. “I want them to know God is life. Too many people just live for today; they need to listen to conscious music, they need to learn to respect people.”
Over the years Prosper’s Zouk inspired beats and conscious lyrics have earned him some loyal fans, but he hadn’t been as lucky with his attempts to make a name for himself in the local Calypso arena. The 54-year-old is a member of the Calypso Association, the Soca Revue Tent to be precise.
“I’m still involved, but it was really hectic this year,” he offered. “We had a hard time. I didn’t make it to semi finals, but I’ve been pushing with music for a long time now, from 1983…”
Despite not leaving a lasting impression on competition judges, Prosper is passionate about music and intends to “keep it moving.”
“When I realized Calypso wasn’t doing anything for me, I decided to go out, use my talent, and not give up. I have six children. They support me, but they don’t like the vibe, because they see and hear about the things that happen in the Calypso arena and they don’t like the game at all.”
Quite apart from his personal experience, Prosper isn’t convinced St Lucians have love for their own when it comes to music. Without that type of support, he feels artistes are fighting a losing battle.
“I don’t get heavy feedback to show that people are really into our music,” he said. “They are more into foreign music, that’s why Calypsonians here cannot even produce an album. Our people need to be conscious of their own local artistes. We the local artistes have so much to offer. There’s enough talent in St Lucia but our people need to give us the push. While people out there are appreciating St Lucian music, our people don’t give us enough support. It takes effort to produce an album, especially in Creole and English like my music.”
When it comes to cultural celebrations like that of Creole Heritage Month observed annually in October, Prosper feels a number of talented musicians are often overlooked by the organizations responsible.
“When I look at the Folk Research Center (FRC) and the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF), when it comes to Creole month they pay little attention to the good artistes, when they can get artistes like Yonacha, Gregory Sinai, Ras Africa, bands like African Roots, the Focus Band, The West Coast Band—all these bands and artistes have been left out of the Creole music. They need to do something to get these artistes more involved in the Creole Festivals. They feature the same music and artistes all the time but there is so much more.”
Prosper’s first album Soca Zouk Vol. one featured songs like ‘Ti Papi’ then came Soca Zouk Vol. two, Glow Mouchas, Man Criticizing Man and album number four, Prosper and Friends. Prosper’s latest album will be released on August 23, 2013 and can be purchased at various music stores including DJ Outlet.
“I always have conscious songs so people like that,” he shared. “I don’t have any issues with people understanding my music. I want to thank everyone who’s supported me for taking the time to understand my music and where I’m coming from, especially guys like George Leo, Mr Gaston of the West Coast Band, and Steve Parker, my biggest supporter. These are the guys who really inspire me.”
When it came to his drive, Prosper said he was motivated and inspired by God: “My mind is always open to whatever comes my way. I know I’m talented and I love my music. I love the art form and will always stay in it. I’m not fighting for anything.”