…says 2019 Calypso Monarch, ‘The Mighty Believer’
WHILE calypso music is a seasonal enjoyment for many, Guyana’s 2019 Calypso Monarch says it is his life.
Sharing his story with `The Buzz’, Kenroy Fraser, who goes by the stage name ‘The Mighty Believer’, said that the love for calypso was embedded in him as a little child, since he grew up hearing his father play that genre of music all day, all night.
`Lord Canary’, `Rebel’, `Lady Stella’, `Chalk Dust’ and `The Mighty Sparrow’, are but a few of the calypsonians who he grew up listening to.
However, he started singing in church, when his pastor realised he had a voice.
“My pastor heard me sing one time, and she started giving me Joseph Niles’ songs to sing in church. But is my thing, so I started writing my own stuff, in my style of music. That’s when I started singing gospel calypso in church,” Fraser said.
In 2004, when he was 19, Fraser entered into the Junior Calypso Monarch competition, and has since then been competing.
He won the Junior Monarch in 2005, placed third in 2006 and 2007, then, he competed in the senior category in 2008.
After using two years as his years of experience, the calypsonian said that his trial period was over in 2010.
“I started taking the competition seriously. I said to myself “this is action time”, and I got third in 2010 and 2011, second in 2012 but I didn’t compete in 2013. I returned and was awarded third place in 2014 and 2015, second in 2016, fourth in 2017 and in 2018 I didn’t space,” Fraser shared.
After his daunting experience last year, Fraser said he came back with a strong determination to win the crown in 2019, and he was successful.
The 34-year-old Berbician said that calypso means more to him than people perceive.
“Calypso is my life. Anytime you pass by me, and I’m at home, you hear calypso playing. I see calypso as a way to get messages out there to people. Calypsonians are the people’s mouthpiece. As much as people would see things in the newspaper or the television, when you sing about it, people tend to get the message more,” he posited.
Growing up with his parents and six siblings (five brothers and one sister), in Belladrum, West Coast Berbice, Fraser said he was exposed to rich culture, deeming ‘country life’, as ‘the best life’.
His love for Berbice, and by extension, Guyana, is what the calypsonian said inspired his winning 2019 calypso song.
“I would have toured the world a lot, and being in the beautiful countries; Brazil and America, I trained with the US Coast Guards for quite a number of years, and I don’t think they’re more beautiful than Guyana. And I don’t think that much of our people see the true beauty that our country possess,” Fraser said.
“So this year’s song ‘Guyana must be a paradise’, was centered on that fact. And the song tells you why Guyana must be a paradise,” he added.
Now that Fraser has the coveted title, he said that his main focus now is to defend the crown in 2020. In fact, the monarch said he aspires to win the most crowns, and would also like to be a calypsonian who won the crown, three consecutive years.
In addition to that, Fraser said that he is looking towards releasing his first album by mid this year.
Sharing the meaning behind his stage name, ‘The Mighty Believer’, Fraser said that it is simply because he strongly believes in himself and his ability.
“Competing year after year in the competition, from since 2004, is enough proof that I believed that one day I will be where I am today, the Calypso Monarch,” he said.
He admonishes all to “believe in yourself, and you have to love what you’re doing. What made me successful is because I started off, not as a winner, but I knew I was a winner… People tend to quit when they don’t get what they want, but you have to believe that one day you will get it, keep trying harder and you will be successful.”
Though calypso is his life, Fraser said, his love for music was paired with his being ambitious, in that he is a Marine Engineer by qualification, a small scale contractor with the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and also manages his own poultry business.