GI wrote his identify into the Chutney Soca Monarch (CSM) corridor of fame final yr when he turned the third competitor to win three consecutive titles. Solely Rikki Jai (Samraj Jaimungal) (2001, 2002, 2003) and Rooplal Girdharrie (2006, 2007, 2008) have achieved that feat.
Ought to he win the title this yr, GI would safe an unprecedented CSM beaver-trick. Most importantly, the return of a full in-person, unrestricted competitors provides him the prospect to make historical past in entrance of a doubtlessly massive stay viewers.
“4 in a row has by no means been achieved earlier than,” GI mentioned throughout an internet change with Kitcharee on Thursday night.
The prolific performer says, nevertheless, his camp is but to decide on defending his title, however maintains that the CSM title stays “one of the crucial coveted in our diaspora”. And whereas an absence of sponsorship and pandemic-forced restrictions meant considerably much less prize cash for rivals within the final two competitions, for him it was extra about “defending the tradition” than a pay day.
“It was by no means solely in regards to the cash. The title Chutney Soca Monarch holds vital benefit within the trade and by extension, the world. In 2021 and 2022, defending the title was about defending the tradition. Nothing can take away from the title.”
This yr, the CSM first prize returns to its pre-pandemic payout of $500,000. GI took house that purse in 2020, however solely collected $40,000 a chunk for his final two wins.
“I’ve been unfortunate when it comes to the payout from the competitors,” he admitted.
“The payout in 2020 was the identical because it had been for 2018 and 2019. Nevertheless, in 2021 and 2022, it was the bottom prize cash presumably paid within the historical past of the competitors. To present you some perspective, in years passed by, individuals inserting from fifth to twelfth bought roughly $100K entrance prize, merely for taking part within the competitors — which was greater than the mixed prize cash for 2021 and 2022 for 1st place,” GI lamented.
What’s for sure is GI has the musical artillery to defend his crown. The Penal-born entertainer has a alternative of songs, having collaborated with Viking Ding Dong (Andre Houlder) on the fete-pleasing “10 Wheeler”, and three-time Worldwide Soca Monarch and Street March winner Bunji Garlin (Ian Alvarez) on “Raining Rum”.
“Ding Dong and I’ve been pals for a few years now. Working collectively got here simply as Ding Dong heard the observe and requested to collaborate on it with me. The energies had been proper, and all of it occurred because it was imagined to. Working with Ding Dong is working with a buddy. It was simple and enjoyable on the identical time.”
Collaborating with Garlin was a complete different expertise, the chutney star admitted. He revealed that he has been a longstanding fan of Garlin and that by recording a music with him, he has now crossed one merchandise off his bucket listing.
The music video for the challenge drops quickly.
“Working with a legend like Bunji Garlin was an honour for me. I’ve been a fan of Bunji Garlin since I used to be a baby rising up due to this fact this collaboration is one for the historical past books. Each groups—TeamGI and Staff Viking—have maintained an amazing relationship and mutual respect over the previous few years and it was a stroll within the park with this collaboration. A collaboration was all the time within the dialogue with myself and Bunji, and we each agreed that the time is now.”
The most effective half about being the CSM king for the final three years, has been travelling and interfacing with new audiences, GI mentioned.
“I used to be capable of journey and characterize the chutney soca style all through the world. I’ve been to New York Metropolis, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New Jersey, Orlando, Houston, Schenectady, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota in the USA in addition to London, Guyana, Suriname, and Aruba.
“Travelling because the title holder is a heart-warming expertise. The love and respect you get from fellow artistes, promoters and supporters is wonderful. I’ve been capable of additional develop my model with travelling because the CSM King.”
GI says his purpose for this “Mom of All Carnivals” is to have his voice heard on extra mainstream platforms on the fete circuit.
“Now we have had vital progress within the model and the identify GI is now a family identify. Now we have had quite a few calls from mainstream fetes.”
As for the remainder of 2023, he says, his private mandate and problem is to lift the bar on the standard of music he produces in his Oneness Studios, and by extension serving to to elevate the general commonplace of the trade.
“On this studio, we’ll constantly try to carry everybody, from all walks of music, collectively as one. It will permit us to really fuse the eagerness for music which kinds the tradition of Trinidad and Tobago.”