Bunji, Fay-Ann puts family first
Soca power couple sync schedules for daughter's sake For more than 15 years, the love of music, performing and being lyrical ambassadors for the country of Trinidad and Tobago, have fortified the union between popular soca artistes Fay-Ann Lyons and Ian 'Bunji Garlin' Alvarez. Together they have mastered the inner workings of the music industry and conquered the many pitfalls associated with it.
As they embark on new ventures for the growth of their empire, remaining a unit is imperative to the structure of their family. In a one-on-one with Outlook magazine, the soca giants both agreed that their number one mission is to be the best parents to their pride and joy, Syri Lyons-Alverez.
Contrary to popular belief, juggling family life while being roving entertainers is not as complicated as it seems.
"We frontline the same live band and we are in the same arena, touring the same territories. We run the same business together," said Bunji, who explained that having similar schedules works to their advantage. They actively try to sync their schedules with their daughter's school, so they can always be present in her life.
"We both know what it is like to have parents that were not always around because of the industry. We do not want the same for our daughter," said Fay-Ann. The nine-year-old has been travelling with her parents and being part of the live shows since she was just six months.
"Travelling with a baby was nice!" laughed Bunji, as he and Fay-Ann recounted the sleepless nights and learning experience with Syri.
"When you finish performing at night, a kid doesn't care how tired you are. She is up, she needs food. It was taxing, but it was nice. We were so excited and it was worth it," said Fay-Ann.
Understanding that each individual plays a specific role in the family has helped with their balance.
"I provide structure," Fay-Ann chimed in, who is the known planner within the Lyons-Alvarez household. "I am the 'slips man'," laughed Bunji.
"If I have 10 things to do and I didn't get one done, he will pick it up," Fay-Ann explained.
They have both contributed to each other's growth as artistes and individuals and are entirely grateful for their union.
"When you are around someone who has the ability to just increase their strength by share willpower, it will eventually force you to grow. From my observation, I think we are both people who like to be around certain environments that will allow you to increasingly grow stronger and faster," said Bunji, as he gazed lovingly at his wife.
"She herself is her own motivation, and that motivates me. Anybody who can motivate themself is a very powerful individual," he continued. They both have contrasting traits which fit perfectly together like 'ying and yang'.
"My approach is determined by the vibe and the feeling. She has a more scientific approach. Things that I might not be able to see down the road, she already saw. I might do things and get a few cuts and bruises and think it was well worth it, while she can find a way to get the same result without any casualties," Bunji explained.
The couple admits that the music industry comes with a few challenges that have put a strain on their marriage.
"We are out there in the world as woman and man. There will be fans who would want to get closer than they should. Complication only comes when you don't regulate it, and so far, we have been doing a good job," said Bunji.
The most important life lesson they wish to impart to their child is to appreciate what she has and what she doesn't have.
"I say this because there are a lot of rich, depressed people, and happy, poor people. As humans, what we don't understand is that you can be rich financially, but poor in spirit," said Fay-Ann.
Though exposed to a lavish lifestyle, humility is an evident trait that can be observed from the couple, which they wish to impart.
"She is a different type of child. She is not really into carnival and is more into the tech stuff. We realise that she is still at the age were she is still learning about herself and figuring out what she wants to do. As long as it is positive, we will support it," said Fay-Ann.
Christmas, just another day
Surprisingly, the family is not preparing for Christmas, which is just around the corner.
"We don't have any family Christmas traditions. Christmas has become too commercialised, and we have not bought our daughter a Christmas gift in years. She doesn't ask for one and doesn't make a fuss," said Fay-Ann.
You won't find a Christmas tree inside their house either, as this time of year is simply focused on being in each other's company and giving back to their community.
With the introduction of their new band, Rebellion on the horizon, the soca monarchs wish to bring the energy of carnival through their eyes to Jamaica.
"We know there are a lot of bands here, but each band brings a different vibe. If you really want to turn up, then you can come to Rebellion," said Fay-Ann.
The Rebellion band launch takes place on December 8 at Rebellion Yard (beside Emancipation Park), Park Close, Kingston 5. Ladies are free before 10 p.m., and pre-sold tickets cost $2,500; $3,000 at the gate. Gates open at 8 p.m.