Black Prince: Life as a calypsonian not easy

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Staff Article
Interview Recorded: May 30, 2005
Posted: July 05, 2005

Behind the rainbow is more rain

Kenroy Smith 'Black Prince'
Kenroy Smith 'Black Prince'
There are ups and downs. I do not know about the other calypsonians, but for me there are ups and downs. Up to now, I have no regrets. If I have to sing calypso again, I would not go over the pressure that I got. At times I would ask myself why I put myself in this calypso thing, but then I would realize that I am not in calypso; calypso is in me, so I cannot get away from that. Sometimes I am lying down in the night and a calypso comes in my head. You cannot get away from it. In the days when I used to get pressure around the calypso tent, I couldn't eat.

My girlfriend and I used to be vexed because I didn't have any time with her. I was going through my changes. This calypso thing is a hurtful thing. It kills people. The reason it had that effect on me was because I like it so much. I had a dream that turned into a nightmare, but I do not bother with it again. The dream was that I was seeing quite out there, and enjoying the life in calypso. It did not work fast enough for me to begin with. I grew up believing that there is something behind the rainbow. But all it has behind the rainbow is more rain.

It is the love of the thing, and it is a thing you cannot get away from, even if you tried. All the years that I stayed away from calypso (even though I was making calypsos), I could not stop. I wasn't singing it, because of whatever I had inside of me, whether it was hate, disgust, remorse or whatever, but I was making the calypso.

I moved along, and Martineau called me and I did the song. It also started with something that they had started, called 'Hits Of The Year' new release. That was with Alvin Danielle, and that used to take place at the Mas' Camp. Alvin called an evening about six o'clock and told me to come down now and bring my guitar. I went down there and I sang the song, and the song mash up the place.

Another experience I had was in 1962 when we had Independence. I went to a place to sing my song, and I sang the same Independence song and the same badjohn song. Well, the South badjohns did not like that, and they started to boo. A man snatched a bottle to pelt it at me. When I was coming out of the place, my girlfriend (who went into the show walking along side me), was way in the back and I up in front when it was time to come out. I am just telling you of my experience with that kind of thing, like the booing that I faced.

In 1993 when I made the semi-finals of the Calypso Monarch competition with the same song, 'The Letter', they rest another boo on me. Because I had the experience "my clothes did not get too big."

What made that season nice was what I did. I was living in Arouca at the time, and when I was going home, I turned the corner,went into the parlour and I bought a roll of toilet paper. I stuck the toilet paper in my hand, I put it up in the air, I hug up my guitar and I walked inside. Not a man on the block said anything. When I was coming out the night now, they said, "It's all right uncle, you will catch them." That was a psychological thing I did with them, because if I had just walk in there, it would have been something else. But that was nice. When I went back, man, ah bring the place down. I always say that was one of the best feelings I ever had, even better than the semi-finals.


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