She was side-by-side with Soca superstar Machel Montano for almost 10 years, then the singer parted ways with the HD band. Patrice Roberts transformed from Calypso to Soca, from a shy country girl to an independent Soca Princess, who now prepares herself for international ground.
Patrice Roberts was making her ascent in the Calypso arena, emerging from the Soca scene in 2005 due to the hit single The Islands alongside Bunji Garlin. Together with Machel Montano she turned into the youngest Roadmarch winner in 2006, got into the band and put her entire life among the elite of the Caribbean music industry. For more than a decade Patrice Roberts has been with the premier Soca artists in the Caribbean and now she finally delivers what she had set out to do on the big stage. With catchy songs, piercing vocals and an energetic live performance the singer now claims her own space in the Soca sphere. She doesn’t want to stand as a feature of Fantastic Friday any longer, but taps her hands into new waters, many never would have expected.
Carnival is just in its swing and Patrice Roberts talks to Carnevale Network about being herself, new releases and the success of her solo career – enjoy the interview and catch the new and fresh vibe!
Anika Klimke: Patrice, I’m glad to have you for this interview, hope all is good in Trini. Let us start with, let’s say, the biggest thing that happened in 2015: the start of your solo career. Can you tell me … why now? Why did you parted ways right this year?
Patrice: For me, I always wanted to branch off on my own and 2015 was the ideal opportunity, because not just me, but also Machel himself wanted to branch off and do his thing. You know, I’ve learned so much from him as an artist, I was able to travel the world and explore many options.
Anika Klimke: So it was not just your decision, but Machels’ as well?
Patrice: It was a general decision and I guess, this was the best decision for everybody to move on and kinda find yourself as an artist. Machel has been molding artists and helping people become individual artists, so I think it was only fair and it was an opportunity for him as well to focus on himself and do his thing. Machel as an artist, he has a lot of ideas and a lot of things to still accomplish and he would like to accomplish it on his own. I mean, for me it felt like school. He gave us the opportunity to be among him for years in the band, he taught us a lot, toured with us and now I’m on my own and I can do what I’ve been taught. We’re still cool. I haven’t seen them in a while, but I still appreciate every single thing, every single opportunity he has given me, so … so far so good.
Anika Klimke: So, was Machel the most important person you were working with?
Patrice: He is one of the most important persons I worked with. I worked with Bunji as well, that was a really important moment for me as it was the starting of my career in general. He has also given me the opportunity to be on his stage and he has taught me a lot, even if it was only a short experience. I have gotten the opportunity to work with Destra for a short period of time as well, so I learned some things from the big guns in the business. So I must say to Destra, Bunji Garlin, Machel Montano, I thank you for every opportunity that I have gotten. Also Fay-Ann, you know, she pulled me aside and gave me some tips, some valuable advice, so big up to Fay-Ann as well.
Anika Klimke: True, and now you branched off to be a solo artist. How did you go on after the change?
Patrice: After the change I was really scared. I mean, I’ve been around people like Machel for nine, ten years and at that time he and the band and being around the Machel family was all I knew. So the transition from that to solo was a really scary experience for me, because I didn’t know what to expect or what I was going into. I left Machel and really didn’t have management or anything, so I had to start all over again and … I guess everything happened in its time. You know, doors started opening from the moment I decided to walk.
Anika Klimke: And you started to put a lot of effort into your career, recording and touring, but you also invest into yourself as you tell in Money Done.
Patrice: Alright, I mean … everybody can relate to Money Done, because you work so hard and at some point you kinda really wanna spend time by yourself or spend money on yourself and that’s me. You know, I will take my money just to make myself happy and just go all out and Money Done is about that. I’m a gymaholic - once it comes to anything with gym, I go all out, spend my money there. Also I haven’t taken any vacation, but I would really like to go for some vacation in Paris, that is definitely a place for me to go.
Anika Klimke: I’m pretty sure that Money Done belongs to those Crop Over songs, that just roll over to Trinidad. But regarding Trinidad Carnival, you released another song that talks about yourself and that is Nobody.
Patrice: Exactly! The song was written by an 18-year-old guy from St. Vincent, produced by Mark Cyrus and from the moment I heard it, I fell in love with it, because all women, all females could relate to Nobody. For me, I really feel like you don’t need anybody to feel happy and special. Being special, loving yourself and being important … it comes within yourself. You need to love yourself, you need to take care of yourself and you don’t need anybody to do that for you, because you can do that by yourself. So, Nobody, it sounds like me, right?
Anika Klimke: Definitely! It sounds like the ‘new’ Patrice Roberts, who just branched off for a solo career.
Patrice: You know, the reason why I put out that song… everybody calls me the Soca Princess, because I’ve been under Machel - they see me as a baby, so they call me the princess. My goal is to actually make a difference and make the masses see a different side of me like a more mature side, but still appeal to the younger market. Sexy, but classy.
Anika Klimke: Sexy, but classy – great! Just like the images in your new calendar. Can you tell me why you came up with a 2016 calendar?
Patrice: I like to think out of the box. I don’t like to be the same, I like to stand out. In Trinidad, everyone’s marketing strategy is a hat or a t-shirt and I didn’t want to fall in that bucket. I wanted to do something different, that will wow the masses and wow everyone. So for me, I think a calendar was the ideal thing, it’s not just only a brilliant marketing strategy, but it’s an opportunity to be in the homes of everyone. So while they see me for Carnival, they would have the opportunity to see me every day, the whole year around. [laughs]
Anika Klimke: Cool! And I guess it quite pleases your fans. Do you really listen to them?
Patrice: For me, the fans are really important to me. When I put out music and I read comments and they say: ‘no Patrice, you need to come harder’, I would actually listen to them and go harder, because without them I wouldn’t be here. Fans are the people who come to support whether you’re up or you’re down, they push you forward, so why not appreciate them?
Anika Klimke: And fans usually give a certain energy to an artist. Where does your energy come from?
Patrice: The energy comes from my fans, the people, from the moment when I enter a stage and I hear the vibe of the people, it kinda gives me energy to go. But besides that, this is something I love. From since I was a kid, I always loved to entertain and when you love something, you show more passion and the drive is there, so I guess the drive is just naturally there, for me. It is something I love to do.
Anika Klimke: And it’s something that you want to do until you’re old and grey?
Patrice: [laughs] Definitely. You know, some people have been growing up in Carnival, been loving Carnival, the Carnival spirit and been doing this for years and they’re like in their seventies and still going strong, because Soca kind of … does that to you. From the time you hear a Soca music, it’s like no other and I feel like I could do this until I’m old and grey, because Soca music gives me that energy to go.
Anika Klimke: Do you have more coming up in future? What are your plans for Carnival 2016 and beyond?
Patrice: For Carnival 2016 my aim is to dominate the season [laughs]. I mean, everyone used to view me under the umbrella of Machel and I just want to show fans and people that I can do it on my own as an artist. I want to show them that I can hold my own ground and press on as an artist, so stamp my name for 2016 for Carnival. Beyond, my aim is to branch off in different genre, not leaving out Soca, but tapping my hands into different genres of music like dancehall and you know, just spreading my wings and just pushing myself to the limit.
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