5 Questions With Patrice Roberts
Trinidadian soca singer Patrice Roberts continues to prove that she is an artistic force to be reckoned with. With a career that spans more than a decade, the entertainer released her largest volume of music for any carnival season in 2019 with 14 diverse tracks, all fit to ‘tek on the road’. These include Like it Hot, Into You, My Side, and Judgement Stage, the latter poised to take Road March on Sunday.
But when Roberts is not burning up the stage or hitting the recording studio, she spends time with her family, mostly her daughter, Lily, whom she describes as her “greatest gift”. During her inaugural concert, Strength of a Woman, held in her homeland in February, Roberts paid tribute to her daughter and a bevy of females in the industry.
Speaking to The Gleaner, Roberts said it is important to uplift and inspire other women. “I felt it was time for me to share a bit of my story with my fans, and in sharing that story, there were people like Singing Sandra and Destra Garcia who contributed to me being who I am,” she said. “Nessa Preppy and Nailah Blackman are young, upcoming, talented and beautiful, and they are also overcoming obstacles, which in itself requires strength. The women who were showcased in my first concert were all there for a reason. As women, we have to work 10 times harder to be taken seriously, and the public is more critical of us.”
In light of this, Roberts wants to teach her daughter the value of a good work ethic, honesty, respect and bravery.
In this week’s edition of 5 Questions With, the soca heavyweight shares her preparation for this season and her plans for the rest of the year.
‘Judgement Stage’ is being praised by soca revellers as the song of the season. It is more hardcore than your usual style. What was your musical game plan coming into Road March for 2019?
My mindset was that I wanted to give everyone something that they can enjoy. It was all about pleasing the fans and satisfying their musical appetite. Road March is for the masquerader, and there is always that one song or some songs that add to their overall experience. I felt that Judgement Stage could add value to the experience on the road, and from what I was told, it did just that. The song also passed the tests at carnival fêtes, which also made me quite happy.
The song was released on the same day that Machel Montano dropped ‘Release’. He was one of your early mentors. Does it ever get personal competing with him?
I do not ever take Road March personally, to be honest. In my career I won the title (The Road March) once with Machel Montano, and that was with Band of Year. There were years when I had contenders, and there were years that I didn’t. I am just always happy when the music is accepted and appreciated, not only in Trinidad and Tobago, but throughout the diaspora and wherever else it reaches.
You’ve managed to be consistent each year with providing a steady catalogue of fan favourites and memorable performances. How challenging is it to top yourself each year?
I always put pressure on myself because I am always reinventing myself and always looking at ways to be better. I won’t tell lies, it is difficult, but my team and I work together to figure it out, and things always work out for the best. I love to start recording early so that I have material to choose from instead of rushing.
You are no stranger to performing in Jamaica. What is a special memory you have of Jamaica carnival?
Ahh! It is tough for me to say because every time I visit Jamaica, I experience something new. However, the road last year was fun. I really enjoyed seeing Jamaicans engage with and enjoy the music the way that they did. We are very aware that soca is not a prominent genre in Jamaica, but the fact that natives are becoming receptive is quite heart-warming.
Tell us about your plans for the remainder of the year.
I am back in studio already recording material that you may hear soon and for carnival 2020. I am also focusing on some business projects, which will be revealed in due time. There is also my touring obligations, which will have me travelling for most of the year.