Trinidad and Tobago International Soca Monarch semi-finals are done and Problem Child’s ‘Nasty Up’ has helped to concretize his spot as a noteworthy contender for the 2020 power soca monarchy.
Speaking exclusively with ANN on Tuesday morning, Problem – known also as Shertz James, said “the semi’s was just about making the finals for me. For the finals I’m hoping for a lot more creativity on the visual side of things…” He designed the semi-finals performance from a minimalist perspective which featured “just me and the song and four dancers. Just to prove to myself how powerful the song is.”
In an earlier exclusive ANN interview, the three-time Vincy Road March Monarch fingered budget financing as a potential threat to the problems he plans to create for his fellow contestants. That is still very much a challenge, Problem Child confirmed, as producing the closely guarded plans are expected to cost a small fortune. “Whenever I’ve competed I’ve never been able to acquire financial assistance. Everything has always been out of pocket. I’m hoping for some sort of sponsorship this time to bring my full presentation to life.”
Problem Child, a Troumaca native, has been plying his musical trade on the Trinidadian shores since his breakout 2008 Party Animal hit song. He admitted on one Vincy morning radio show to only beginning to experience notable payoffs as of 2017. It was his consistency at finding means to stay relevant across media outlets in T&T that helped to promote his name as a household brand. Undoubtedly, this local presence, in turn, informs his creative process. This, then, guides the style of presentation that he has elected to offer patrons at Fantastic Friday’s International Soca monarch competition.
“I’m hoping for some sort of sponsorship this time to bring my full presentation to life. The amount it will take financially hasn’t been assessed figure for figure but I have a rough idea of what it would cost and it’s a lot for me to spend as a single unit.” Problem Child told ANN.
As to lessons learned from the semi’s performance, he also told us, “from the semi’s I definitely learned for a fact that I’m a favorite. I learned that, I saw that for myself based on, you know, crowd participation.” The self-styled Vincy Bad Boy also compared the level of appreciation shown to other artists while validating his observation. “Obviously I couldn’t see backstage when I was onstage but the people who were with me at the semis were telling me backstage was a mess; in terms of they’ve never seen anybody backstage even people who were working you know, started to enjoy themselves – or participate, you know, (laughs) in the revelry while I was onstage. Just looking back on that alone I could see that, yeah, I definitely do stand a major chance,” Problem Child said further.
Other lessons did present themselves but they form part of “Problem” top-secret arsenal. “I did pick up on one or two things that I would improve on but I don’t want to say what because you never know who’s gonna read or come across what I’m saying and pick up on that themselves and try to better me at it. So I just don’t want to elaborate on it but I did learn stuff that I’m going to definitely improve on as well,” the shrewd Vincy showman explained.
“I have a meeting today with someone who is trying to assist with funding,” the prolific songwriter also told ANN. Problem Child is currently on a day’s trip to his homeland. He’s said to also be taking a breather from his hectic performance schedule as Trinidad’s Carnival fever heightens.
“With the right financial support and if I’m able to execute everything that I have planned (chuckles) things should be very very good on the night,” he reiterated.
The other power soca competitors are Lyrikal with ‘Rukshun,’ Olatunji’s ‘Thankful,’ ‘Stage Gone Bad’ from Iwer George, Trinidad Ghost’s ‘I Ain’t See,’ ‘Bun Up’ by Shall Marshall, Prophet Benjamin’s ‘Betty Cat,’ ‘Bumper Murder’ from Mical Teja, Preedy with ‘Shell It’ and ‘Easy To Break’ from Rome.
Hance John, the other Vincentian in the International Soca Monarch semi-finals, failed to qualify in his bid to be amongst those vying to dethrone 2019 Groovy Monarch Swappi.