Trinidad Carnival 2010 ushered in the sounds of a new artist. Young Voice exploded onto the scene with his hit “Jumper Cable”, a song he composed that assured all women on the scene that if the mid-party lull started to kick in he was prepared to get their waistlines going again. The year also saw other offerings from Voice, including “It’s Jouvert”, “Carnival Come Back”, and “To de Stadium” – a song perfect for getting Carnival revelers “ready for de road”. The artist was off to a good start and he refused to let that momentum die.
This singer-songwriter hails from Gran Couva, Caroni, Trinidad and was raised in Brooklyn, New York. Being reared in both places served him well. His connection to Trinidad allowed him to keep abreast of what was going on in the world of Calypso and Soca music. His education and experiences in New York have given him insight into a unique type of music promotion.
When Young Voice, whose given name is Kevin James, grew up he awoke to the sounds of Calypso on weekend mornings. His parents held tight to their roots and passed an appreciation and pride in their culture on to him. Although he likes all types of music, Soca was his first love so he never seriously considered a career as an R & B singer. He knew the music intimately as a fan and a Deejay which kept him close to that first love.
His entertainment career, though on the rise, is not his only gig. Educated in Forensic Psychology, Voice works for New York City Administration for Children’s Services helping to keep children protected and families educated on parenting. It was important that he earn a degree. “In entertainment you’re not guaranteed to make it.” This commitment to his education helped him to finance his dreams and make his parents mighty proud in the process.
Voice describes his style as a mix of ragga and groovy soca. This style has been well received both in the U.S. and abroad. New York has been great to him, the response has been overwhelming. On over to Boston and down to Atlanta audiences love him. Trinidadian audiences were initially wondering who this young man was taking the stage, but were won over when he began to deliver his goods. Like other artists, he would love to work with Machel Montano. The collaboration would certainly be a hit as “He keeps topping the charts each year.” As far as Carnival celebrations go, of course, Trinidad would have to be his favorite. “When you’re there you feel the love of the country. Everything changes; there are smiles on everyone’s faces.”
Does he envision the day when Soca makes it to the mainstream? He believes it is possible. He points out Montano’s success with his singles being played on Hot 97 in New York. “There are certain people who can get us there.” As a New York treasure, he could easily be included in that group. It is all about timing but Voice thinks there could be a day that “Soca artists will have the chance to be on MTV.”
I wondered if Soca would be stripped down and cheapened in the hands of American record labels. This doesn’t concern the confident artist. He is comfortable with being in control of his career. “I’m going to stick to it. People will reach out, sign you, then change your music and put a cap on how music comes out.” His success will surely continue for Young Voice, who has quite a bash coming up.
He has actually been celebrating his birthday all month, and this bash is three days earlier than his birthday, but with the work he has been putting in he is due for a fete to beat all fetes. Hopefully he will find the time to rest between his performance opening for Bunji Garlin this Saturday, because the next day, this Sunday, July 24th the Young Voice Private Birthday Bashment goes down in Brooklyn, NY. With over fourteen artists and eight DJ’s it’s sure to be an event for the books. This all day party begins with a breakfast party and transitions into a barbecue for the afternoon and evening. As he says on his Facebook page, “All day we jamming.” Guests will also enjoy the release of two new singles “Gone with Soca” and “(Link Up) On de Parkway”.
You can keep up with Young Voice on Facebook and follow him on Twitter!