Black Prince: Life as a calypsonian not easy

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

I am going to make a calypso on that

Kenroy Smith 'Black Prince'
Kenroy Smith 'Black Prince'
I have been successful, though not financially. Since then I traveled a few places and I did a few things ... a few recordings. I have about nineteen to twenty-one recordings; a few from since in the '80's and about five or six CD's. One is with myself, Blakie and Zandolie. That is raw calypso. The CD's are available and you can get them at either Cleeves or Rhyners (Record Stores) and elsewhere. I won about two Most Humorous competitions. I won one with 'The Letter' in 1993 and I believe in 1997 with 'Mrs. Black Prince Business'. I made top twenty once or twice, and was a nominee for the Sunshine Awards. I laughed at it because I asked myself why did I have to go to the U.S. in the winter for a Sunshine Award? Shadow won that anyway; I was a nominee. I enjoy doing calypso. The happiest moments are when I am doing calypso, whether I am doing it at home or whether I perform. That is my life in retrospect.

Some of the topics come to me, and some I might sit down and I will say, "I am going to make a calypso on that," and I put it together. I had a song that I did not too long ago, 'Wha Happen Done Happen Already'. That song just came to me. I was in the kitchen doing my chores, and the idea just came and I started singing it. When that happens, anything you are doing has to stop. I went by the tape and the guitar and I started to put it together. Then I did another one last year. Last year I saw an advertisement on the TV with Mother Nature. But what fascinated me was, Mother Nature was a man, so I decided to do a song on that. Some ideas I have to think about. There is one I have which is, 'Wey ah Get'. I did that because, after 1993 people felt I made plenty money. So this song was about being popular and broke. Then recently we had this thing about cell phones. I call it 'mania'. I made a song on that too. I was coming from Arima and this girl was only on the cell phone. Some topics are like that. Some come to you and some, like you would see something in front of you. As long as you keep seeing that something, the right things will come for you to sing.

Another thing is, I never write a song. I sing it and when I feel I have it, I put it down on a cassette. I believe almost anybody could put words together and rhyme. But then, where are you getting the melody? You can make a composition but not necessarily a calypso. When you have them both together, then you make a calypso. Many times over the years, men tell me, "Prince boy, you could get calypso… it have ah calypso ah want you to sing… ah have a book of calypsos." When they bring the book and I watch it and tell them to sing the song, they would say, "I say you go put the tune." I could be wrong, but I honestly believe that you cannot teach anybody to make calypso. You could give them a little direction, but not teach them to make the calypso.

The melody, I believe is what humbugs people. I believe that is a God-given thing. The thing about it is what your ears like. Someone could do a very good composition, and however you turn it, you cannot see anything wrong with it. Someone else may do the same thing and from the time he starts, you tell yourself this is stupidness this man singing here. But the melody, it will just thief your head and you gone with it, and that might become a hit and make a strong calypso. It might be a good one and people will say that boy has a strong calypso, and case close. These are just a few of the experiences that I had along the way. As I said, I had rough times; there were good times, happy times and sad times.


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