By Tamica Garnett
GROWING up with his grandfather singing to him before he slept at nights, music was always a part of life for 31-year-old Remesh Brijnauth, or ‘Tony Cuttz,’ as he’s known when he hits the stage; so eight years ago he decided to get serious about the business and started singing professionally.
Known widely for his skilfulness as a barber, Cuttz has been showing that he is just as skilful on the mic as he is with the blade. His musical pursuit hitting a high point for him when he brought third place at the Mashramani Chutney Monarch competition last month, on his first try in a singing competition.
For his third-place finish, Cuttz walked away with $400,000 and the confidence boost.
And now Cuttz feels all the more encouraged to continue down the path of a musical career, where he sings mostly soca and chutney.
“My goal is for my music to play all over the world, and for me to make a positive impact with my music,” said Cuttz, who is currently working on his newest single, “Give We The Soca.”
Cuttz entered the competition with his original single, “Neighbour Roti,” and though he was confident of his track going in, finishing third was still left him in happy disbelief.
“When the judge called me up as third I wasn’t sure I heard right. I was so surprised as a newcomer to get a space; it was a big deal to me,” Cuttz expressed.
Finishing behind big wigs like Bunty Singh and Steven Ramphal has now made Cuttz even more determined to build his reputation and develop his career as a singer.
“I was so grateful to be on the same stage with the other singers,” Cuttz shared of his experience at the annual competition.
Cuttz, who is from Lusignan, decided that 2020 was going to be the year that he stepped out on stage in the competition, after following the competition in 2019 and believing he has what it takes to be among the level of rivalry put forth. And so it was at last month’s competition; Cuttz was among 17 singers who were vying for the $1 million grand prize.
Cuttz said being in the competition was a long way from when he first started out and would get stage fright.
“When I go on stage I used to get scared of the crowd and be really nervous, but soon as I start to sing I would be ok,” he shares.
Though he has always had an affinity for singing, it really got started for Cuttz during church singing gospel and playing instruments. Aside from his vocal ability, Cuttz is also quite the hand on the keyboard and guitar.
Cuttz attributed the encouragement that he has gotten over the years from his friends and family as the reason behind why he has been able to persevere and develop as a singer.
“My biggest inspiration I believe is my grandfather and my grandmother, who bought me a keyboard, and my friend [fellow Guyanese singer] Vicadi Singh, who gave me that encouragement, and who saw something in me when it came to music,” Cuttz expressed
It was with his grandparents that Cuttz grew up, in the quiet Mahicony Village of Little Abary, along with his three brothers and a sister. Growing up, life wasn’t easy for the family, leading to Cuttz having to drop out of secondary school. Nonetheless, the family was never short on love and support for each other.
“Well, we didn’t have a fancy life, with money or a big house or a fancy job. My grandfather would walk around and sell disinfectant, fly and rat poison and so on,” Cuttz shared.
In 2005, at the age of 17, Cuttz moved to Trinidad to live with his mom and soon took up music. It was also in Trinidad that his love for singing soca and chutney developed.
“I lived in Trinidad for 12 years, and chutney and soca are very big deals in TT, so living there that long made me get more into those kinds of songs,” Cuttz explained.
Cuttz eventually took up the trade of barbering, currently operating at Elegance Cuttz in Lusignan.
“I love my job. When somebody comes for a haircut, when I’m finished and I can see the customer happy that is the best part of my job,” said Cuttz, who comes from quite the barbering family.
“My dad is a barber, there’s me, and my second brother and right now my small brother is training to become a barber as well. I grew up seeing my dad cutting everybody hair in the neighbourhood, so I was trained in Trinidad to become a barber,” Cuttz said.
Nevertheless, Cuttz said that he is excited to see where his music career takes him in the future.