Are Soca Artists Selling Out For Fame? The EDM (Electronic Dance Music) Trend. Are Artists Doomed To Failure?

by Mantius Cazaubon (SocaFreak.com)

Bunji Garlin & Fay Ann Lyons, 106 & Park. Soca meets Pop.

Bunji Garlin & Fay Ann Lyons, 106 & Park. Soca meets Pop.

Many soca artistes are changing the approach to their songs, making them sound more like EDM (Electronic Dance Music). What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree or disagree with this new trend? Bunji Garlin, since the success of his Differentology, seems to be moving more and more in this direction. Machel Montano, Fay-Ann Lyons, Destra and all the other big names, to the less popular artists are going down this Pop music road. Is this good for soca or are these artists selling out? Soca Freak wants to hear your thoughts on this. Do you agree or disagree with what is happening. Comment below.


Fireman Hooper - Soca Man (Song addresses this subject.)



One can argue that this will help soca to advance further. At least, this is what many of the soca artists have been saying. They seem to be attempting to bridge soca with more internationally popular genres to make soca more palatable for the international market. But by doing this is there a danger of alienating their real market, the Caribbean market. Aren't they watering down the music too much and killing soca music?

At the end of the day, soca artists have themselves and their families to feed. This is business and you can't blame them for trying out new things. This begs the question whether the artists really care about promoting Caribbean culture or if it's more about advancing their own selfish interests.

For a long time now soca artists have been trying to penetrate the international market. Sadly, any time they do, as in the case with Kevin Lyttle many years ago, the soca brand doesn't seem to get the recognition we want. Even with the success of Bunji's Differentology, soca is left in the dark due to the fact that this song is not a typical soca song. If artists perform watered down versions of soca music, will soca ever be branded out there?

Some people are arguing that the big names are in danger of creating the impression that they are abandoning the very fans who made them famous. Without real fans, you're doomed as an artist. By trying to please everybody you end up pleasing nobody. Artists are trying to be all things to everyone instead of focusing on their niche market.

Artists like KMC who embarked on a journey to do electro music seems to be dabbling in soca once again. He had said that soca would go nowhere. One wonders why he is back.

Are soca artists doomed to failure with this new EDM/Techno/Electro/Pop trend? Are they selling out for fame? Do you prefer pure soca? I want to hear your thoughts below. Please comment.

Related Artice: Big Mistake: Have Soca Artists Abandoned Their True Fans? The EDM Craze.

Comments for Are Soca Artists Selling Out For Fame? The EDM (Electronic Dance Music) Trend. Are Artists Doomed To Failure?

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Oct 26, 2014
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Be yourself.
by: Eugene

Soca artists should focus on what comes naturally to them and not try to imitate other cultures. As long as they imitate they will always be second best. Be yourself. Be Caribbean and let your true colours shine.

Oct 26, 2014
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EDM and soca
by: Anonymous

A step in the right direction.

Oct 26, 2014
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Soca artists are not selling out!
by: Sokah@Soca | Trinizagada

Hello Mantius,
Interesting question with a simple answer... NO!

Name any artist; as an example, I will use Bunji... does he produce any "Riddim"... hell no!
The question that should really be asked is the following: Are the regional music producers "selling out"? Why asks this? Are they not the ones producing the EDM Soca Riddims? It is not the artist or artists singing on the various riddims.

Having said that Soca music has changed from the day it was named! Ras Shorty I named it SOKAH... it was changed by a news reporter in Trinidad to SOCA when he made reference to the new genre in the newspaper as Soca and not Sokah. Shorty changed the music by removing the indian rhythms and introduced a new sound (sounded more like soul music) and it still carried the name soca. It continues to change every year... why all the fuss about the EDM addition to the music? Not all the songs are EDM influenced so why the fuss?

EDM infused tracks seem to work for Bunji on the International scene and especially in Europe where they embrace World music unlike the Americans. Bunji's successes in America has nothing to do with what you may call purist Soca it has to do with fusion Soca... I believe that any artist (and you are one) should not be constrained by the regional market and because we want to force people to accept traditional Soca... it does not work like that. Kevin Lyttles big hit was not pure Soca... that should have opened everyone's eyes years ago.

"Power Soca" and Soca music in general is Carnival music... if we aspire to gain acceptance in North America we have to meet the North American needs... that means fusion soca!

If anyone says that is a sell off or sell out then that artist will remain a regional artist with no hope of breaking through to the International markets (America and Europe). It should be noted that the Americans still don't understand our culture and that is the reason Fusion Soca blends, and in this case EDM Soca is being used to penetrate internationally...

Just some quick thoughts.... hope this helps. I will go and read the article from the link you sent now.
www.trinizagada.com

Oct 26, 2014
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soca
by: Anonymous

I think soca should stay to its best and that's its purest that's when its good. After all isn't the beauty of people liking your music its because its authentic not like everything else, as the saying goes bring soca music to the world not the other way round.

Oct 26, 2014
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Soca artistes and the EDM trend.
by: Soca Freak

Thanks for your very insightful post, Trinizagada. Bless!

Oct 26, 2014
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selling out easier and less work
by: england uk soca lovers

not a good future for soca im hoping this is a phase that will fizzle out soon. should you not understand go listen to shortpree TAKE IT BACK all should become clear.

Oct 26, 2014
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Shortpree - Take It back.
by: Soca Freak

Ok. Thanks England UK Soca Lovers. I listened to song.

Shortpree - Take It Back


Oct 29, 2014
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Just another sub-genre, so, no problem.
by: Rhythmwize

Its OK in my opinion to have different sub-genres in Soca. It should not be a problem and lead to failure. In fact, its a good thing if done properly and thats the key. For me, done properly means keeping the Caribbean and Soca flavor or vibe in the music production. There are lots of different forms of EDM music. EDM music has become popular because of the new software used to produce the tracks...producers can now create sounds and riddims that were impossible before. I think Major Lazer has done a good job in this regard with his reggae productions. Its a breath of fresh air and something new, you can't keep doing the same thing over and over forever. My only suggestion is too use these new productions techniques sparingly with good taste to keep the soca vibe intact.

Nov 02, 2014
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Be Yourself! And Accept your own.
by: Onjo

Greetings!
OK hear whats happening we as a people we struggle to accept our own self we want what others have to feel accepted, meanwhile the world looks on and admires our rich culture and they want it,1st EXAMPLE:

look at reggae music it evolved from ska to roots rock reggae,in the early 70s we had roots music, then in the early 80s it changed to
E D M the first E D M song was the sleng' teng' rid dim since then reggae music moved away from roots music to dance hall/ bashment E D M style, but when you go around Europe what are the Europeans listening to? well its not E D M Reggae instead they are listening and creating roots music Dub style reggae,go to Japan its roots reggae,
2nd EXAMPLE:
Hip Hop music now has a E D M sound to it and have now lost its essence and message, culture,
we want what they the west have the E D M frequency, and they want what we created and have in our DNA the the rhythm of the Drum, hence we have rhythm and can wine and dance they in the west have no rhythm cant wine or dance + there bottom to flat,
in time to come we will not be able to wine or dance because we will be jumping to a frequency that is not our own or in our DNA and just think in Europe the majority of Europeans take drugs just to keep up to there own frequency of techno or trance music in there night clubs, so why do we want to exchange our sweet Calypso,Soca,Rapso,for that?
Be Yourself! And Accept your own.

give thanks!

Nov 09, 2014
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edm crap
by: Anonymous

The World wants authentic products. Not copies. We are the only people producing authentic soca music. Be patient and the world will come to us. 21 million visitors come to the caribbean each year. They come looking for authentic caribbean products not copies.
the fastest growth areas for caribbean music will not be the rhythmically challenged peoples of europe, but the rapidly growing middle classes of africa, who understand our rhythms. Remember Bob was a srat in Africa long before he became popular in N.America.

Nov 22, 2014
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The Gone too far now!
by: Rick

I think that soca is definitely losing it's culture and identity. I don't object to an artist putting out a song or two with an EDM style, however I notice they are doing this too much in the hopes of taking soca mainstream mainly for their fame.

At the end of the day if the song is big the regular market does not see it as soca but a dance or EDM genre. That's where soca will lose it's identity and feel. Also what good is it for the younger generation coming up like my 13 year old daughter to think soca sounds like EDM? Luckily she understands true soca music and appreciates it more than the faked up stuff out there presently. Parent teach your children real Caribbean culture and don't hide it as they will carry it on being the next generation.

Respect to the artists keeping it real with a true soca vibe. Bunji and Faye Anne has gone too far as one example and there are many more artist. At least I think Machel has a good balance.

It happened with Hip Hop, House Music, R&B, that non Caribbean people want to take ownership of our music and it seems like soca could go this way. Non black radio and record producers want nothing to do with our music when it is underground but when it gets huge they want to come in and claim ownership mainly because artist sell out and make it sound like "so called mainstream music." Caribbean artist don't sell out to the point where people think soca is not a Caribbean thing!

Calling a spade a spade here. That is my humble but accurate opinion.

Keep it real and stay Caribbean!

Rick

Nov 26, 2014
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Been saying this for YEARS!
by: Weasel

I've been saying this for YEARS!!!

I'm from ANTIGUA and up here we have a small island/jam-band soca style sound. This style of soca fits our geographic region. The Power/Jumpy Soca is CARNIVAL music and CARNIVAL was NEVER about EDM. I can understand mixing GROOVY soca with EDM and that makes sense because Groovy is more party music or multipurpose. Our POWER/JUMPY soca is for 'De Road' which is why artists cannot stop making these songs without referencing "de road', 'jumping', 'waving', 'bacchanal', 'Jouvert' etc... Jumpy soca SHOULD reflect OUR CULTURE AND our CARNIVAL.

These artists should stop cashing out and messing up our culture.

Burning Flames made it big with "Island Girl" etc. Byron Lee and the Dragonaires frequently ripped them off to how good their music was and they do experiment with their sound but at the end of the day you can recognize the local brand. As of late every up and coming local artists wants to sound "trini' because apparently Trinidad and Tobago is the end all of soca music. Up and coming artists want to emulate Trini soca so much so that Trini Lingo has permeated into our 'culture'. This makes me sick. Even more so now that Trini artists are trying to incorporate EDM to appeal to larger audiences. This act of trying to branch out to appeal to larger audiences and be accepted on a larger musical stage reveals a deeper psychological problem. It reveals the need ot please the 'massa'. It is slavery mentality. Let us not forget that Carnival is a celebration of the emancipation of slavery. That's why we do it and that's why our artists should remember that soca is OUR music so they should stop trying to make it Everybody else's music. It's in the SAME category of selling out as travelling to the United States and beginning to YANK (Speak in American Twang) to blend in with the Americans rather than speaking our regular broken english/creole/patois. STOP TRYING TO BLEND IN!!! We were made to STAND OUT!!!

I'll end with a quote from the Great Young Destroyer.

"We're still riding at the back of the bus."

@Weasel_Antigua

Jan 08, 2015
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real identity
by: the Entertainer

So some people feel the dance crazy EDM is the way to go i say bull shit where is your i dentity and dont for get people when Bunji won the soul train Award be for that he was pure soca that was popular then the reimx in to EDM Machel won the soul train awward with what Ministry of the road i did not hear anh EDM there so peopl come on dont be like the Brazilian model who was not comfortable with her self so she added on Bottom now ts all leakng out belive in your shit and stick with it you ever here Reggae switch

Jan 11, 2015
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Be Yourself! And Accept your own
by: Onjo De' spice isle Jab Jab

Greetings! Mantius
For this reason I like Tallpree he keep it real he remind all Caribbean people what real soca music is and should be all about, please listen carefully to the following lyrics of Tallpree
song and share the link so all can listen the song: Tallpree - What Is Jab
They took us from Africa down to the west indies to work on the plantation as slave commodities, and when they want to mock we they paint up there bodies with the black molasses, what goes around comes back around we free from slavery we own this town, I in ah piece of short pants no tea shirt on me back with shackles round me neck and the old oil running black, drum beating and we chanting some old ancient melodies remember we ancestors and what they do for we, they fort for freedom and freedom came and if we have too we will fight again, dem black on the inside look dem deh' dem black on the outside look dem deh' that black colour just can't hide look dem deh' we taking it worldwide look dem deh'

Yes Calypso & soca music is our own expression passed down from our ancestors and born out of enslavement, it is our honour to keep the realness of our culture alive yes take it worldwide! but don't mix it or water it down, don't change it or rearrange it for we or our musical culture
IS NOT FOR SALE! Our soca music is our story and we taking that story to the world with our African/Caribbean rhythms and not no
(Electronic Dance Music)

Onjo

Jan 11, 2015
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Electronic Dance Music and Soca
by: Mantius Cazaubon

Big up yourselves, The Entertainer and Onjo De' Spice Isle Jab Jab. I appreciate your comments. Read also: Big Mistake: Have Soca Artists Abandoned Their True Fans? The EDM Craze.

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