Soca Artist, The Problem Is Not Your Song. Your Problem Is Obscurity.
by Mantius Cazaubon
Fireman Hooper, 2014 Saint Vincent and The Grenadines Soca Monarch
Many people think that a good song is what it really takes to make it in the soca industry. This is false. Since Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin, Fay Ann Lyons, Destra, Iwer George and the other big names are very visible, they can sing almost anything, no matter how good or bad, and it will get some level of mileage. They are on the radar, unlike the small artist. No one is waiting to hear what the largely unknown artist is going to release. But hundreds of thousands are waiting on names like Machel and Bunji, leaders in the game. They will flock to YouTube to hear every song they release.
The problem of the small artist is NOT product. Not song. The problem is OBSCURITY. Obscurity is defined as "the state of being unknown, inconspicuous, or unimportant." No one knows him, neither is he seen by the masses as being important to the industry. No one knows her song or whether she even exists. That's the real issue. Many of the small artists have songs which are much better than what the big names in soca are singing. But they are obscure. And because they are obscure, they cannot make any significant mark on soca music.
This applies to everything in life and business, not only to music. Does KFC fry better chicken than your mom? Hell no. But KFC is a multi-billion dollar company. Does Mc Donald's make a better burger? Hell no. But Mc Donald's is known all around the world. Their food doesn't taste better, but since no one knows your mother, no one is coming for dinner or buying. Since no one knows the vendor in your local shop, no one is patronizing.
Lesser known artists and producers shouldn't believe that because they are not making it, it automatically means that their product is substandard. There is nothing wrong with your song. Your material is good. But a good product means nothing. On rare occasions your song may be so good and its video may be so remarkable that it cuts through and is heard amidst the noise. Skinny Banton's Soak It Good and Mr Killa's Rolly Polly are perfect examples.
We all know of songs which made it big in their country of origin but are never or hardly ever heard out there. These songs win road march and soca monarch in the small islands but never get played on the big foreign radio stations or played by the big DJs. Songs like Grenadian, Squeeze Head's Turbo Charge and Vincentian, Fireman Hooper's Unruly are huge in their country, but did they ever make it big in Trinidad, North America, the UK and the rest of the Caribbean? No. These songs have all the right ingredients. They are great products. They are much better than a lot of the big hits made by the big guns, but will never see the light of day. This proves that it's not about the product but the visibility. Obscurity is the real issue.
There are many songs in Trinidad and Tobago itself sang by young and new artists which are much better than those being sang by names like Iwer George. But do they ever make it? Do they ever get airplay? An emphatic no! You never hear about these talented artists. So many artists and producers think that something must be wrong with their song. Nothing is wrong with your music! You're tweaking a bit too much.
What smaller artists have to work on is becoming known and getting attention. S/he needs to be remarkable. The word remarkable simply means that you have to create something or do something that people are going to naturally make remarks about. Get people to talk about you but make sure it's ethical. The upcoming artist needs to harness the power of the Internet as much as possible to gain visibility. Use social media like Facebook to get attention, build a YouTube following. Do something. Hustle like crazy! The problem is not with your song. The problem is not with your product. Your problem is OBSCURITY.
Squeeze Head - Turbo Charge