The dark clouds are slowly rolling away for creatives in the US, among them, Caribbean entertainers who’ve been held up for over a year. For many in the entertainment industry around the world, the pandemic has caused devastation. International reports suggest that other than the aviation industry, the entertainment industry has been hardest hit. There is a glimmer of light now however, and for one Caribbean creative residing in New York city, a year of introspection and silence, has stimulated creativity in the most incredible way.
Many would remember him as a child in the Caribbean, singing alongside Calypsonian David Michael Rudder- a song called, “The Future Belongs To Me.” Now, years later, Julius The Artist is offering his music to Soca lovers around the world at a time when he says he believes they need it most.
A thoughtful artist, Julius who originally hailed from Pioneer Drive, Sealots, Trinidad, has effectively delivered thought provoking songs over the years. In 2018, he released a song called, “Good Morning Trinidad,” invoking emotions for persons on the receiving end of domestic abuse and irrational violations. He followed that track up with “What’s Your Name,” paying homage to the land of his birth. Julius however explained that this time around, as the anxiety surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic eases in the United States, with many now receiving vaccines, he felt a strong desire to give his Caribbean people an anthem that could lift their spirits.
‘No Breather,’ was produced by famed New York based music producer, Brent Toussaint-the Trinidadian producer whose name stood out on Beyonce’s Lemonade album. He was also responsible for Machel Montano and Walker Hornung’s ‘With or Without You,’ and even Bunji Garlin’s ‘Gimme De Brass.’ “This song was held back for a year and a half because of what had been happening in the world,” admitted Julius. “Now, I’ve released the track because I think it’s the right time; people need something to take their mind off things,” he said. With US restrictions now easing, vaccination fetes are a thing. Added to that, bubble carnivals have emerged and Julius, like many artistes, is looking forward to taking the stage again.
As a dietary aid at a New York hospital by profession, Julius saw first-hand, and continues to witness the effects of the pandemic. He explained that his profession is possibly the ‘good news’ aspect of hospital-care these days, highlighting that he’s served patients who’ve gotten back on their feet after being diagnosed with Covid-19. “Over the past year, I’ve kept my focus on the brighter side of life, no matter how things were. I used the time to listen because sometimes you have to be still and go into a state of nothingness and meditate. I was always in my head,” he said.
Despite the daunting reality most felt, Julius got creative. Together with Ian ‘Fojo’ Cobin, he penned ‘No Breather’ and has even been working with Jason ‘Shaft’ Bishop on a major project he’s extremely excited about. Giving kudos to his manager, Tamara George, Julius says there’s a lot happening musically that he is grateful for. “I have a lot of really good conscious material but the people need something to excite them again- get them living again, after the past year so this is it; this is my gift to my Caribbean people and I think they’ll enjoy it,” he said.
DJ Lila Gives Miami Carnival Experience A Perfect 10!
The next generation’s being groomed to take over. Trinidad and Tobago’s DJ Lila is one of the prospects who’s been making a name for herself in the entertainment industry in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean but the young, female DJ and artist who is now a resident DJ at Next 99.1FM in Trinidad, isn’t being held back by geographic location.
Born in the US, Lila has always understood her mission. She’s under the guidance of her father, artist and multimedia specialist, Ziggy Rankin and they just completed the Miami Carnival circuit.
Grateful for the opportunity to represent and showcase her DJing skills in the carnival, Lila showed mad love for Giselle The Wassi One. “I wouldn’t have made it up there without Aunty Wassi. She organized the entire thing. I really want to thank her,” said the teen. The Miami opportunity brought her into the eyes of major promoters and artistes no doubt, and will essentially prove to be a springboard for her budding career.
Having really enjoyed the experience, Lila said as a TriniBad vocalist and representative for that sub-genre, she foresees more opportunity for the sometimes controversial music, which is prevalent in the Caribbean, to be included and collaborated in significant ways with Soca. “Everybody in Miami knew the music so I know we can continue to grow and become bigger,” she said.
On the matter of COVID-19 precautions and execution of the festival in Miami, Lila said she was impressed by the mask and testing rules, which had been implemented by the Miami Broward Festival committee, and the fact that the patrons followed those protocols. “Everything was well controlled,” said the young DJ, adding that in her view, experience was a perfect ten.
Lila, like many Caribbean youths, is eager to build her brand and represent her peers on global circuits. She says her goal was to get the experience this time around and for that, she is grateful.
This is Wild! TriniZuela Manager Turned Artist Morphs Into Kick A$$ Alter Ego, Gustavo.
A world without entertainment would be so dull. In the past two years, Trinidad and Tobago in particular, has experienced an entertainment drought as Covid-19 restrictions forced the abrupt and strongly enforced government shut down of an industry that fuels economic livelihood for countless people.
David Adams, the elder brother of entertainer, Mr. Renzo, says, much like everyone else, he too has been affected. He’s been an artist manager for some time, managing his brother’s career since 2000. Now, having embarked on a music career of his own a few years ago, the Venezuela born act, who’s created the perfect character alias in Gustavo, is bent on infiltrating the global entertainment scene in a way that others may not have thought of.
“This is music for the world,” said David on the release of his new single, ‘Straight Forward’. The track comes complete with a spanking new music video and is collaboratively sung with reggaeton artist, Jeico- a fellow Venezuelan. “He doesn’t speak English; this is pure reggaeton,” said Adams. This fact adds to the undiluted authenticity of the track. For Adams, the creation of a stage and digital character was necessary, since, off stage, in business mode, his personality is somewhat rigid. “This character, Gustavo, is full of himself,” admits Adams, as he speaks of the alter ego he shares his image with. Gustavo, according to the team behind Adams, is suave and chilled,but so sure of himself that he is undeterred by anything that may take place around him. “He’s truly something to see,” said Adams with a smirk.
Alter-egos aren’t uncommon in the entertainment industry, after all, right here in the Caribbean we’ve been met with Destra’s Lucy and Fay Ann Lyon’s Silver Surfer characters. In the United States, Sasha Fierce often makes her presence felt when Beyonce hits the stage. For David Adams, Gustavo is the stage personality he sometimes wishes he could be on a daily basis.
A national of Venezuela who migrated to Trinidad at a young age, Adams understands the tumultuous situation that Venezuelans continue to grapple with. He says there is no economy there and with that comes spiraling crime that has proven uncontrollable. Trinidad his home, he says he does not feel the same will take place in the twin island nation, explaining that once relations with the United States are maintained and there are no trade embargos placed on a country, it is highly unlikely that citizens of that country will see anything remotely close to what has been playing out in Venezuela. Adams is not ignorant to problems faced by people around the world and believes music is very important amid the current climate that everyone is now facing. “Music is part of our happiness and it’s very necessary. When you have stress, you have ailments and so music is really important. I pray for us to come out of this situation. In the US events are going on now, and I believe vaccination is a personal choice that we all, as individuals, have to decide upon,” he said.
The new single, ‘Straight Forward’, was produced by Prince Pronto of Tyrpp Records and written collaboratively by Pronto, RheoneElbourne, Jazeel Christopher, Gustavo and Jeico. Visuals for the track are now available on YouTube, with streaming accessible via all streaming platforms.
Press Release courtesy Etcetera The Company.
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