2017 Carnival, more and more local artist started to get prepared for one of St Maarten Biggest Soca Competitions ‘’ Soca Rumble’’. As it seems to get more and more interesting every year as more local artist are turning up their approach and game plan towards getting the crown. This year joining the soca band wagon is locally know reggae Artist Junior Lion now taking it to the next level with the new stage name as ‘’Da Lion aka Ehi Meketre’’. Da Lion brings a new blend of African ambiance to Caribbean soca with his new single I Appreciate. With so much great artist touching the Stage this year for Soca Rumble, it leaves the whole St Maarten in great enthusiasm to see if King Vers will guard his throne or who will be the Soca Rumble King .
As the industry for local music grows , Cultural Xpression always finds it necessary to hear a bit more from our local artist, what they have been up to and their plans toward progress for their careers. This month we take great pleasure in bringing you front and center with up the 2nd place grovey runner up Soca Rumble winner ‘’Da Lion’’, just before he got prepared for Carnival 2017 .
Da Lion aka Ehi Meketre formally known as Junior Lion, can please explain bit more on the meaning of ‘’Ehi Meketre’’ and the transition from Junior lion and Da Lion ?
Ehi Meketre are ancient Kemetic names, Ehi means “God of Muzik” and Meketre means “behold RE or protected by RE”,and the transition simply means that The Cub has evolved into Da Lion.
Where are you from and what is your artistic talent?
I am from the beautiful Island of Soualiga Oualichi aka St Martin, and I’m a singer.
When did you first get involved with music and Was Reggae Music your first genre choice?
I got involved with muzik from a very young age, as most singers I started out in church. I must say that my first muzik of choice was RnB/HipHop.
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
This realization began when I became Rastafarian in 1997.
What was the first song you ever performed and what was that experience like?
I remembered performing my first hit single entitled “ Inna we Country” at the Youth Astravaganza” in 2000 for carnival in the festival village, it was one of the most memorable experiences i will always have, I remember being called back to perform again after finishing my set.
How has your experience been as a reggae artist in the Caribbean?
I must say that Reggae muzik has been good to me over the years, I’ve been to Jamaica, Bermuda, Anguilla, St Eustatius, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Saba, Montserrat just to name a few.
Most people know you as a reggae artist, what made you decide to take part in St Maarten Carnival 2017 ’s Soca Rumble?
I had recently released a new dancehall track entitled “Talk di tingz dem” and received major radio publicity and promotion here on the Island being assisted by my long time friend Baker Junior, so one day he said to me: Why don’t you enter into the “Soca Rumble” with those kind of lyrics? I answered him by saying: I’m not to sure about that, Soca isn’t really my thing. He then said to me: Why don’t you try? I know you can do it man, it’s just a Rythm, a beat along with a good concept, and that’s when I thought about it and decided to enter into the “Soca Rumble”.
How has the creative process been putting together this song for Soca Rumble 2017 ?
To tell you the truth I was at the brink of not having a song ready, it was a struggle. Then I went to Funk Gumbs and he made me listen to one of his beats and it revived me immediately, as I started to freestyle on the beat he looked at me and said: Go in the booth and voice it, why are you standing here waisting time? And thats how this whole idea came about on the very same night that we had to turn it our Songs for qualification.
What can people expect from your stage performance during Soca Rumble this Year?
hahahaha, I am so fortunate right now to be a contestant on the show that I’m a bit mesmerized. I am greatly humbled by this so, in return I have to give to my people something “Epic” that they have never seen me done before and I will just leave it as that.
Are you thinking on making a transition to explore more soca music options for yourself as an artist ?
Ohhhhh Yeeeesssssss, for sure, I’m in love with Soca now and forever.
What is your plans with music after soca rumble?
To continue working towards my goals as a recording/performing Artiste and to flood the industry with great muzik in general.
Who are your top three all time favorite artists and do you listen to other local artist, name a few?
I was always inspired by international legends : Michael Jackson, the Mighty Arrow and Peter Tosh. I also grew up listening to King timo, King Bobo, Caiso Brat, Mighty Dow, Mighty Cat, Calypso Barbara, king Kotto, Singing Olivia and many more to numerous to mention.I now listen to Bush boys, AK Alexis, Kilo Gotti, Ice boy Slim, SMW, Tolly Boys, Michou Layka and many more … the list goes on and on.
What do you want to be remembered most for as an artist?
I would like to be remembered for the work and contributions over the years, both Nationally and Internationally.
What has been your biggest musical opportunity so far and where have you traveled and performed ?
Wow, I’ve had so many over the years. I’ve had the privilege open for great pioneers such as Beres Hammond, Beenie man, Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrika, Gregoy Isaacs, Capelton, I Wayne, KRS 1, Anthony B and many more…I’ve also travelled and performed in Europe and America.
As an artist, how would you define success?
Success to begin with is actually getting up every morning and having breath of LIFE, Living lovingly with one another as we go through our experiences from day to day having learnt something of vital importance from them. As long as we keep working towards our dreams, goals and plans we will become successful in the short or long run, “experiences in life will always make us wiser while the challenges we face will always make us stronger, let us be the change that we wish to see living in this world” (inspired by Gandhi).
If music wasn’t a productive direction to take, what would you use as your creative outlet?
I am a Man of LIFE therefore I am “INFINITE POSSIBILITIES” I am a Farmer, Basketball coach, Referee, Actor, Writer, Clothing designer and so many more …
What is your advice for musicians looking to on musical entertainment as a career choice?
It is a great choice, I fully encourage the young musicians to do more research and study the Muzik business as much as possible, make sure to copywrite and publish your work/creative ideas.
What is one thing you would change about the music industry?
I would change the way it is viewed here in St Martin, I would make it an outlet for young entrepreneurs in this age and time, and that artistes gets what’s rightfully theirs in terms of financial income by setting up workshops, clinics and booking agencies for better improvement of all artistic art forms.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Touring the globe and having a positive impact on people from all walks of life.
If you only had five minutes to perform one song to leave an impact on the world, what would it be?
I would sing a song from my first album in 2006 entitled “The Journey no matter what” called “Isperience in life”.
As you know our cultural paper is focus on a number of community awareness building topics, most importantly Agriculture and Community development. What are your thoughts and views of the importance of Agriculture for St Maarten?
Agriculture is very much needed and necessary to have on our little 37 square mile of Island for the simple fact that we import everything here. We should be spending money on farm lands and digging wells for water, we are living in a time of genetic modified foods (GMO) that are causing serious health issues on a daily basis. I also think that it should be thought as a circular in schools, from elementary to university. whether it be fishing, raising of herds and flocks to planting our own organic vegetables and learning to capitalize on our resources starting with cleaning our salt ponds so that they can reproduce salt. After all we were once known as “Land of Salt and many Women” Smile
What do you think can bring more community members together to focus on positive development issues for their surrounding communities?
There are so many things we can think of just to name a few such as : Sport tournaments, cultural events pertaining to health awareness, Outdoor movie nights in each community by utilizing our community centers, getting business entrepreneurs to share publicly their stories and views for a better St Martin.
As we come to an end of our interview, would you like to give a shout out and some inspiring words for other artist and youngsters out there that look forward to positive change in their lives?
Sure, I would like to thank my Mother and Father for bringing me into this world, My ancestors who have forged to make way so we can all be here today, the Gumbs family and all those families out there who have been mighty pillars in my life you know who you are, friends that go way back and those I’ve lost along the way, fans, loved ones, Starliner records, Turntup Tv, Good Capitol Entertainment and those of you who have supported “Da Lion” and have seen me grow over the years. It wasn’t always easy on this path to success for it has been quite a journey, Still I remain very humble to this day. Life has blessed me tremendously, I’ve met wonderful people, sat with the greats, held conversations with mighty people in this life time and still there are many more to meet and learn from. Let your light shine bright, always remember to “live the best of life while it last” for no one knows the day nor time we will leave this beautiful paradise named earth. Cherish each other, lend a helping hand to someone in need, say sorry to someone whom you may have hurt in the past, never let your problems get you down stay focus and achieve your goals, you are not alone. The most Honorable Bob Marley once said “LIVE and LET LIVE” only a fool relies on his own understanding. Hotep and peace be unto all “Yuh no hear wah Da Lion declare”… Remember to sms #3 to 2525 #I appreciate# come out and support me on Soca Rumble on April 25th 2017 at the festival village it’s going to be “EPIC”.
Want to get more info on Da Lion visit Facebook page: Ambassador junior lion.
P 10 – MY LIFE’S SPRING CLEANING METHOD – Expressed By Latoya Ruan