Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Carnival by design, J'can music by profession - Denyque adds drawing to wearing costumes

Published:Sunday | November 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew
Denyque marching on Trafalgar Road during carnival in April.
Denyque performing at Redbones Blues Cafe, New Kingston, in 2012.

Denyque has taken on a challenge for 2018: to design costumes for carnival brand Xaymaca International. The singer is founder of swimsuit brand WETswim, so she is familiar with the ins and outs of designing.

Her section is Majesty by Denyque, chosen after deliberations with the team to find a name that matches the Xaymaca 2018 regal theme, Luxe.

"Earlier this year, the directors of Xaymaca reached out to me to come on board in a more fruitful position rather than just jumping in carnival," Denyque told The Sunday Gleaner.

"The team was going to design the costumes, but I had the option to do it, which made me all the more excited. What I drew on paper, there is no way I could envision the final product. But there is a whole team with Xaymaca and Tribe involved. It was amazing bringing the costume to life with them," she said.

Denyque does not think of herself as a designer, but being in the creative pool alongside seasoned designers gives insight into the task at hand.

The work Denyque has cut out for her may take away attention from her new '90s-style reggae-hip hop single and music video, On & On, released three weeks ago, as well as taking time away reassessing the performing arts aspect of her career.




She does not feel browbeaten by remarks that her 'uptown pretty-girl' image or persona has affected or influenced her career as a recording artiste.

"Everything we do in life comes with a struggle. I have never been one to think like that. Just staying in my own lane and doing things the way I want to do them is what set me apart from everyone else and the reason for personal growth," Denyque said.

"I took a one-year hiatus to put together a new team, experiment with a new vibe, and now, I am focusing on new wave of productions. I love the team I am with now and equally love carnival, so I am definitely looking forward to a bigger and brighter future so far."

As an avid supporter of soca-themed events, Denyque has been participating in road marches for the last four years, wearing costumes. The singer has even explored the genre with singles such as Bumpa Wine, released in 2016, but is not always comfortable with the final product.

"I tried soca music, but I feel like I sound absolutely horrible in the genre. In order to succeed at it, I will need a really good song provided to me because I can't write lyrics for the genre either," Denyque said.

All jokes aside, that does not stop the Supergirl singer from belting out the lyrics to Machel Montano or Destra Garcia tracks while fÍting on the road.

"Doing the things I love to do is important to me. If you don't try or follow your dreams, you will end up sitting down thinking 'I shoulda, woulda, coulda'," Denyque said.

Denyque has also taken on the responsibility of marketing her own section. "The plan is to do a few lead-up video posts that will demonstrate ways in which the costume can be worn. With the help of Kandi King, co-director of Xaymaca International, we will share what elements of Majesty by Denyque can be coordinated to fit a certain body type or for a particular look, for example, mixing the front-line backpack with the back-line monokini," Denyque said.

Participants have the option of customising the design by substituting the pieces. "Front line is for a smaller frame, especially with the piece for the mid-section. I would suggest the one-piece or not wearing the belt for the larger females, but at the end of the day, it's about wearing whatever you feel comfortable in," Denyque said. "It is in no way to discriminate. people shouldn't take the contrast in the sections literally because you can mix and match, and everyone will mix and mingle on the road."