Now that Lent is over, bands launching, some music dropping; I think this is the opportune time to introduce y'all to Mongstar.
Given name of Marley Mervin James, Mongstar grew up surrounded by family members who themselves were noted musical performers. Among them was his father, acclaimed Reggae artiste and musician Ras Bonti. There are his uncles Prosper, a popular Calypsonian, Zouk and Soca artiste and the inimitable Reggae performer Ras Africa. His aunts too, whom he says loved to sing country music to the strains of their guitars, played a role in his formidable years, when his musical interest began to blossom. His initial interest in music was in Reggae and Dancehall it would take a few years before he would make it back to the stage and this time with another genre of music – soca.
He began to release the fruits of his labour in May 2011. The first, a groovy number called “Glo Koko” on the Dutch Productions/Stratosphere Muzic Black Cinderella Riddim took on a life of its own enticing young and old listeners alike, eventually coming in third at the Groovy Monarch and second in the Road March competition. Then there is “Mas Mêlée” a zouk enthused Soca, with his Piton Soca Starz second runner up, Ambi with which he came fourth in the Groovy Soca Monarch competition. Mongstar would also release “Monster Energy” coming in 7th place at the Power Soca Monarch competition. His Carnival 2011 repertoire would also include “Michael” and “We Bad” which features Ambi, Selector Twis and Zionomi. Equally skilled with pen and mike – Mongstar would write “Biggie Biggie Bumper” for Ambi and along with producer Courtney “Curty” Louis “Love” for Illah Man.
These are only a few of his many accomplishments, he has represented Saint Lucia at the inaugural All For One Caribbean Voice Competition in Martinique, where he was crowned the champion – winning the Jeff Joseph trophy and a cash prize.
Mongstar is a member of the UpsurgeNG soca tent.
Here is our interview with him:
Tell us about Mongstar, when did you enter the musical field?
I am a soca artist who was born and raised in the Castries community of Faux-a-Chaud. I love music because it’s my heart, which is necessary to keep me alive. I have been singing since birth but began a professional career in music in 2010 when I participated and won the inaugural Piton Soca Starz competition.
What was the driving force behind you being an artiste? Why did you choose soca?
The driving force behind me was the love and support of my family, friends, fans and the right management. I chose soca because of the love and passion I have for that music and its part in Saint Lucian culture, I thought it could take me where I wanted to go professionally since in aiming for success it is always best to perfect what you know and love.
Who, if any of the older artistes influenced your musical style?
My father Ras Bonte’, my uncles Prosper and my favorite uncle Ras Africa as well as other local artistes and foreign artist from various islands influenced my sound. I was named after Bob Marley so that should give you an idea of how destined music was to part of my life…hellloooo.
Who is your favorite musician?
Honestly apart from my father I have no favorite but if I had to choose an artist in the soca field it would be Bunji Garlin.
What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Just let the music flow and always be happy and comfortable, humble and patient, yes just think happy thoughts because all that you are thinking and feeling will be felt and seen by the audience. If you want them to enjoy your music and performance, you have to love it too since they will feed off your energy.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
I just keep going and never stop smiling no matter what happens. You just can’t afford to ever give up on something if its your dream and what you want.
How often do you practice?
I am always practicing.
Do you write your own music?
Yes I do write my music, sometimes I write with other people as well. Inspiration can come from everywhere and everyone so I am always paying attention.
What makes you decide what to sing/write about?
Sometimes I am inspired by past experiences or something I’ve seen happen or if I am giving jokes and laughing with friends or family and the vibe comes through – I am always open to inspiration so it comes through everything.
What can we expect for 2016?
Well you can expect good music from me for sure hellooooo. I continue to work with new producers and writers as well as will work with artistes and studios I have already worked with in the past. I want to continue to grow as an artiste so you will hopefully see that too.
For Bookings and Additional Information contact:
Carmy Joseph firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell: (758) 285-8664
I wish you the best for 2016 and in your musical journey and looking forward to seeing and listening to your musical contributions.