Machel Montano, the reigning International Power and Groovy Soca Monarch was part of a panel discussion at the Caribbean Investment Forum 2012 where he expressed his optimism about the soca genre which he believes will ultimately surpass reggae and dancehall to become the “sound of the Caribbean.”
Check out some of his comments courtesy of the Trinidad Guardian:
On the need to examine the local industry and measure successes against other cultural industries around the world:
“…have we really sat up and wondered if our music is the best? If it is the best Carnival? Have we really watched the world and sat down as a unit to really criticise ourselves and see where we are at and know where we want to be? We have been distracted by the oil and the gas and we are primarily an energy country. Look in the mirror. Let us constantly be our greatest critics. Let us constantly analyse where we are at and be honest. This is something I wanted to say because I am a person who is always positively dissatisfied, meaning that I am constantly improving my product and I want to do that until the day I die, because it is who I am—to become a higher expression of who I am.”
On the need to embrace technology:
“So there has been some incremental movement, but we need now to embrace technology. We have a plus. We don’t need the big record companies anymore, because the big record companies are a thing of the past. That works in our favour because the big record companies are nowhere near us, so let’s use the (cellular) phone, let’s use the Internet, let’s use the apps and embrace technology…social media.”
On need for unity between new and more established acts:
“We have to stop this culture of every time somebody tries something and they change it, the older people say they (are) spoiling it. They (are) not spoiling it. They (are) taking it into their hands and they adding to it, which is what sprouts growth and we have to embrace that as a culture.”
On the quality of artists output:
“I think if the artistes improve and we make something that is worth selling, somebody will come here looking for it, to sell it. So we have to constantly improve that.”
On the need for key stakeholders in the industry:
“It’s not the funds that are going to help us become more popular. It’s going to help us. We need, more than ever—more than funds—qualified people willing to sit down around us and embrace us and teach us the right things.” “Help us and teach us what works out there in the world. It is a work in progress.”
On representation for members of the music industry:
“First of all, we don’t have a unit. We don’t have an artiste body. We don’t have a body that could lobby the Government. So we have to work together. We have to have a body and we have to have greater frequency of conversations like this and every time we have a conversation, we must hold ourselves accountable. “We must have some deliverables, we must have a timeline. We must set a plan for us to achieve these things. That’s how we will make progress.”
Montano sees his successes as an example for other rising artists. Improvements have been made in the industry by emerging acts who have improved management structures, strengthened production capacities, envisaged themselves as a brand and even added merchandising to further the brand, while taking a fancy to the social networking medium because of his advances and achievements.
The forum took place Tuesday at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre at Lady Young Road St. Ann’s on the topic Creative Industries: The Entertainment Industry.
Sharon Burke, a talent agent from Jamaica and Tamsen Reed, chief executive officer at Celebrity Headliners and CMG in the United States joined Montano on the panel.
Via [Trinidad Guardian]