Voice Makes The Three-peat

International Soca Monarch
Blaxx during his performance of ‘Hulk’ in the finals of the International Soca Monarch at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Friday.

TRINIDAD – Guardian

Voice (Aaron St Louis) made the hat-trick after he was announced the winner of the International Soca Monarch yesterday. He took away $300,000 in prize money. While the crowd chanted his name moments before he came on stage, after his performance and while waiting for the results as if claiming the victory on his behalf, St Louis said it was not a question of expecting the win easily.

“Whatever we do, we had to work for it. We worked hard again for this one as well. Because although people were like ‘Yeah, you going to win,’ we don’t want any upsets,” he said, after the results were announced at the Queen’s Park Savannah early yesterday morning.

“It’s an amazing feeling. I want to say thanks to God for giving me the health and strength to be here tonight and have a great song. Thanks to everyone who supported, thanks for the love from the people who came out, who really supported in their numbers tonight. Thanks for family, thanks for friends. It’s an amazing feeling, words cannot describe,” he said.

When the results were announced, he was embraced by friends and his parents.

Asked if he plans to defend in 2019, St Louis said “When next year come, we will see. We can’t say just yet.” For now, he said, his next step is to get as much rest and prepare for Dimanche Gras, in which he is a finalist for the Calypso Monarch.

St Louis, who sang Year of Love, performed second to last out of the line-up of 12 contestants.

Seasoned artiste Blaxx, placed second with Hulk. Orlando Octave came third with Love You So. Newcomer Turner placed fourth with Champions.

St Louis presented the imagery of fire as a source of life. “Keep that fire burning, not to destroy, but to restore, get back to a place of peace, lift up your voice,” he said in his introductory video, which also featured a cameo of Black Stalin. Black Stalin, who won the calypso monarch with a fiery composition Bun Dem, suffered a stroke in 2014. On stage, St Louis carried the burning metaphor with fire eaters.

Blaxx had a comfortable performance, buoyed by two Hulk characters on stage. Orlando Octave brought the elements of T&T’s beauty. Turner, who came on the music scene just last year, paid tribute to the stalwarts of calypso. Near the end of his performance, former Calypso and Road March King David Rudder appeared on stage to pass Turner the crown.

With the absence of some regular faces in the competition, new blood got an opportunity to demonstrate their worth. Teenager Aaron Duncan, a former National Schools Soca Monarch and this year’s Schools National Intellectual Chutney Soca Monarch, commanded the stage. The lone female in the bunch, Jadel also had a strong showing. She took the opportunity to demonstrate her hoola hoop skills, by using three at a time during her performance of Round and Round. Rome, who performed the chutney ditty D Key, was revved up with his motorcycle cast.

The show, which has seen the Hasely Crawford Stadium as its home for more than a decade, was minimal in comparison at the new venue, Queen’s Park Savannah. But the crowd did show eventually, after the 10.30 pm start time and remained until St Louis appeared. With a cast of 12 performers, the competition ended just before 1 am with the results announced less than an hour later.