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Problems faced by artistes before, during Vincy Mas

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Tue, Jul 17. 2012

(From an artiste’s viewpoint)

Editor: Carnival in St Vincent and the Grenadines is the only time of the year when local talent and creativities are exposed on a major scale. It creates a source of income for artistes, songwriters, band members, musicians and other participants during this period.{{more}} It is clear that the festival is developing, but it is grievous to know the truthful factors that our local artistes faced with on an annual basis.

I have been a songwriter/artiste since the year 2009. I prefer keeping my identity anonymous for various reasons. I am going to speak generally and from my experience, as I list and explain three major problems that hinder the progression of our local artistes:

1) Lack of Support/ Sponsorship – Financial Funding is very essential especially for the potential artist who cannot afford studio production. A single track costs an average of $800 and more and with the rising competition, 2-3 songs are recommend for release each year. Most of the business entities contribute thousands, even millions into carnival but fail to support the young and upcoming artistes in these times. So sad, but so true. I can say this for a fact, because during my years striving in this venture, I attempted to achieve sponsorships from several different firms, but I have not received one bit. I often withdraw money from my little savings or borrow funds from friends and relatives with no surety of regaining a cent.

2) Carnival Bias – This is a major problem especially for new entertainers who have serious potential of becoming future superstars. There is prejudice against these artistes in their own country. They are often victimized, criticized and unrecognized for their effort. It’s not until one such artiste goes overseas and attains a name for themselves that he or she will begin to get some recognition. The radio stations are among the biggest mediums for promoting and getting local audiences familiar with the songs for carnival, but from listening these stations, it seems as if it’s only the most popular artistes get played. There’s a particular station in my country that I know for a fact that finds all kinds of excuses to delay from airing new artist songs and in most cases, their songs are disrespectfully discarded for no good reason, and as a result they don’t get played period! Another bias situation that I’ve discovered recently is the judging of songs for competitions. For final selections, 99 per cent of the times the majority of artistes that get selected are often the well known ones, whether or not their songs are worth picking. It’s as if the judges already made their selections before the audition and only appear to deceive the new or younger artists. In one of this year’s auditions that I attended, I heard a lot of better songs coming from the new artistes, but they unfortunately didn’t get the opportunity to showcase their talent. So sad but so true. What these people in authority fail to realise is that they are crippling the younger generation from developing by de-motivating them, while the elders and bigger names only get to prosper.

3) Carnival Politics – This problem is linked with the other two problems already highlighted. It is similar to the everyday politics, but doesn’t involve any political party. This issue promotes favouritism and hardship among artistes. For instance, if one Artiste is associated with a firm that is competing with another firm who practises or provide similar services, the artiste tends to receive unfair treatment because of their involvement and is affected by business decisions especially if a contract was made. I have not yet experienced such problems as yet, but I was told that it exists and I sense its presence.

In closing, I would hope that all the relevant persons would have read this article and seek to find solutions of such problems not just for me but for the next generation.

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