Times have changed and so must we. Introducing the Limited Edition Digital (L.E.D.) Spotlight, the first digital showcase ever in the Spotlight series!
The Showcase took place simultaneously on 3 platforms (Facebook, YouTube and Webinar Jam) on Friday 29th May 2020.
14 artistes were chosen from a pool of applicants to compete for spots in the 2020 Spotlight cohort. These artistes performed before the L.E.D. Spotlight Showcase judges for a chance to move on to the Spotlight Programme for training.
Meet the 2020 Artistes of Spotlight:
Aaron Ifill was born on December 17, 1990, in Champs Fleur, Trinidad and Tobago. His musical style blends Jazz, Pop, Funk, Reggae, Gospel, Hip Hop & Blues influences with R&B to create his unique sound. Ifill makes a lot of fans wherever he goes. Armed with the charisma and vocal skills of a seasoned performer, this young talent makes more than a lasting impression.
He is a natural in all of the elements of stardom and continues to build on his craft, by constantly writing and recording music. He is well on his way to becoming one of Trinidad and Tobago’s next major recording artiste.
Aisha Noel is a multi-genre singer, songwriter, performer and musician with a passion for the performing arts. Starting her professional music career in 2018, Aisha was one of the winners in the official "Uncovered Live" showcase. Her own show, Aisha Uncovered Live, at Kaiso Blues Cafe, was a tremendous success. Within that same year, the determined songstress released her first production entitled, “Nobody be Safe” a dancehall/soca infused track produced by the Ballistik Boyz. It then came as no surprise that within 2019, Aisha released her first Soca Single, “Soca Fever (Baile)” produced by 2020 Road March and Soca Monarch winning producer, Bjorn Graham. Aisha’s song spearheads the, “Hello Bacchannal Riddim”, alongside artistes, Orlando Octave, 5Star Akil, Ricardo Drue and Fadda Fox. Aisha speaks of love as a major inspiration in her work which keeps her motivated to accomplish her goals.
Alethea Beharry is an independent singer/songwriter and music teacher who learnt how to sing from her mother and had her first piano lesson while living in Australia at the age of four. She has never stopped singing and playing since. Her sound is a mix of indie-pop and hard rock with influences such as Florence & the Machine, Queen, Kid Cudi and Fleetwood Mac. She is currently working on her first album - to be released later this year. She has performed with artistes such as local hard rock band 'Bangaseed', Michelle Xavier, Marvin Smith, L.A. Rose, Yasha & Rai and at events such as "R.A.Y.", "My Music Family", Alias' "Heroes vs. Villians", Synergy's "Friday Night Live", "Viva Las Vegans" & Brian MacFarlane's "Christmas Joy". She is excited to share her life and passion with the entire world!
DNA 868 Muzik
Yohan Popwell, professionally known as Dna 868 Muzik, started his music career in 2003 with Hip Hop as his chosen avenue, although his musical influences include a myriad of artistes from Jay-Z, Queen the band, DMX to local artistes such as Chalkdust, Superblue and Iwer George. He took a break musically from 2011-2014 to focus on his family life but returned in 2015 with a renewed vigour and passion for his craft. In 2017, he became part of “I’ve Had Enough TT”, a Creative Arts Foundation which deals with helping underprivileged kids in the creative field. He has also worked with artistes such as Shiloh, Greg B, K.G, and Sykaflo, and is currently working on an upcoming EP aptly titled: 868, which is soon to be released.
Elizabeth Waldron, professionally known as Juss Lizz, is a music artist of many genres. Her career started in 2013 in the Hip Hop field, following in the footsteps of her influences such as Lauryn Hill and Eminem.
Her singing career started officially in 2017 where she decided to give rap a well-deserved break to focus on her first love, Soul/R&B and her Creative Arts foundation, ‘I’ve Had Enough TT’, where she works with underprivileged kids in the creative field. Since then, she’s performed alongside many local artistes and has done background vocals for a few projects such as, Shumba and GBM “Journey”, Machel Montano and Abdiel “Show Me” on the Upendo Riddim and Skinny Fabulous. Currently, she is focusing on songwriting and working on an upcoming Ep XIII that’s carded to be released soon.
Leah-Sophia Richards is a Tobagonian singer-songwriter-producer most strongly associated with the pop urban genre but is able to master all genres. Born in Scarborough Tobago to a family of musicians, Leah grew up influenced by the sound and artistry of the musical traditions of Soca and Calypso Reggae RnB Classical and Pop sounds. At the age of five, Richards began singing regularly in a musical band owned by her parents Orin and Jennifer Richards. This band performed in all the hotels, restaurants and functions on the island. Leah also participated in music festivals, Calypso competitions and the World Championship of Performing Arts in Hollywood where she received gold medals and trophies. She is not only classically trained in voice but also in music production and various instruments including the pan and keyboards.
Mahalia Thomas is a diligent, ambitious and committed individual who continues to strive for excellence. This young lady who hails from Arima has over fifteen years’ experience as a pan soloist in the Pan Industry.
She has performed for various functions in many venues in Trinidad. She has taught many students, some privately and some who belong to Arima All Stars, a steel orchestra where, besides being a member, is Captain of the band. She has also performed with other steelbands on the East such as Melodians. Mahalia also had the privilege of arranging for the senior band, as well as the junior band, on several occasions. Mahalia has such a great passion for the instrument that this enthusiasm is also communicated to her audience.
Monique La Chapelle
Monique La Chapelle is a Trinbagonian Singer-songwriter and Musician. She began writing songs at age ten and, by the age of twelve, she was performing her original music on stage. In 2015, she released her first single “Eviction Notice” that remained at #1 for 6 weeks on the Indigenous music charts and made it to the Semi-finals of the International Songwriting Competition. Growing up in the performing arts, she is a very experienced vocalist and captures her audience excellently. The young 23-year-old hopes to pursue an International Career being a singer-songwriter who performs her music for a global audience. Her original music is always well received wherever she performs and her soulful Jazz fusion to covers are a delight to listen to. Monique is a passionate and career-driven individual with a desire to inspire everyone she meets. She thoroughly enjoys performing and lifting the hearts of others through her music.
Meet the L.E.D. Spotlight Showcase Judges:
Collens (nee Thomas-McSween) is a well-known professional in the field of Music. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Boston University and has functioned in diverse capacities both locally and abroad over the past 30 years. She also coaches Vocal Development and Performance Techniques for singers daily at her voice studio in Cascade, Port of Spain. She was a head judge and vocal coach on Digicel
Rising Stars in Trinidad from 2009 to 2013 and has been on the judging panels for several other competitions including Best Village Competition. As a performing and recording artist, she has sung everything from Opera as a young Soprano soloist with the Trinidad Opera Company, to popular music as the lead vocalist with the band Frantic (now Imij & Co.) and the big band Fireflight with renowned producer Carl Beaver Henderson.
Internationally, she performed with Derek Walcott off Broadway, the role of Tesbia in the Nobel Laureate world tours, and at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, England, as Minstral Mary in Geraldine Connor’s Carnival Messiah. She has also recorded in Italy a pop single, Boston, and New York Walcott poems and Trinidad a pop album. Glenda has been a collaborator in several local and international productions. She has worked for Disney Cruise Lines and is presently a casting consultant for Disney International, having successfully cast a number of singers from Trinidad and Tobago in The Lion King musical in England, Spain, Germany and Australia. This year she presented her work for Peter Minshall to the directors of the Tate Modern museum in London. Over the years she has worked as musical director, choral arranger, composer or producer with production houses, such as John Henessy in London, Play Mas in Germany, Bernard Hazel in London, The Baggasse Company and Trinidad Theatre Workshop, Ricardo Nanton, John Thompson, Raf Robertson, 3Canal and a number of musical productions at Queens Hall.
As a Voice Coach, Glenda teaches part-time at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. She has lectured and held workshops in voice and speech at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop and the University Of the West Indies, St. Augustine, and she has worked as a music teacher at Holy Name Convent, Bishops Centenary High School and The American International School.
Jerome Precilla, known by most as Rome, is a well-rounded entertainer. He is currently one of the top Soca Parang singers in T&T and was also a Soca Monarch and Chutney Soca Monarch Finalist. Not only is he a performer but he is also a Television host and a radio personality on Boom Champions who holds a Masters in Engineering Asset Management and a BSc in Mechanical Engineering. Rome is also an entrepreneur at heart as he is the Co-Founder of Quik Slice Pizza and SocaHub.com. In his latest project, he was featured on the VH1 hit reality TV series Girls Cruise alongside US celebrities Lil Kim, Mya and Chilli of TLC.
Trinidadian music producer and cultural ambassador, Anson Soverall has an innovative style. His multi-genre production and song-writing abilities have paved the way for his many successes. He is known as the man behind the Soca hits in his home country of Trinidad & Tobago. Manager of Nailah Blackman, Sekon Sta and Turner, his belief is that "once given the chance and the right tools, this younger generation is sure to stun the world with its own distinctive sound".
Anson continues to break waves by incorporating his skill and style into every production. Even though Anson may have many hit productions under his belt, a few of his well-known contributions include ‘Memory’ by Machel Montano & Tarrus Riley, ‘Badishh’ by Nailah Blackman & Shenseea, ‘Work Out’ by Nailah Blackman & Kes.
In the past few years Anson’s work has crossed international boundaries with a successfully co-produced song that received significant airplay on BBC radio. The song titled, “Paasalmba” represents his foray into the Asian music market. He has worked with artistes in Jamaica, Suriname, Barbados, the U.S. and Holland, to name a few. He creates Soca, Hip Hop, R&B, Pop, Dance, Techno, as well as Dub Step with a unique twist.
Meet the preliminary judges who were tasked with selecting those 14:
DJ Rawkus - DJ, Television Show Host, Event Producer, Music Producer, Sound Engineer. These are the skills that Jayron "Rawkus" Remy has gathered over his 16 years in the entertainment industry. Popularly known for hosting Vintage Unplugged, he currently guest hosts on The Now Morning show on TTT and has his own radio show on Talk City 91.1fm. He is also the DJ/sequencer for Freetown Collective and 3canal. Some of the events he has been responsible for producing include, iHeart TT, the concerts at New Fire Festival 2017-2019, Freetown's last major concerts; Free The Carnival, FTC Black, Born in Darkness album launch and FTC. Currently pursuing a post-grad diploma in Arts and Cultural Enterprise Management at UWI, the journey continues.
Natasha Joseph - Arranger, Composer, and Producer Natasha has been an ambassador for the Steelpan representing Trinidad and Tobago in many countries such as USA, London and Japan, Tobago Jazz, Barbados Jazz, St Lucia Jazz, and Grenada Jazz festivals.
Natasha is the current Arranger for Platinum Steel Orchestra, an All-Female single pan band who placed 9th in the National Panorama 2016. In 2017 she worked as drillmaster for MHTL Starlift and helped them secure 7th place in the National Panorama finals. In 2015 she founded the improvisational approach master class, Music Jym. Natasha is currently in her final year at the University of the West Indies pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree and is also a Music Instructor with the Multicultural Music Program Unit (MMPU) out of the Ministry of Education.
Keith Kirk - as a songwriter, music producer, and music business professional, Keith has a deep passion for the music business and helping musicians, singers, and creatives navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of the industry. Keith has worked for some of the largest music and media companies in the world including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, BMG, 21st Century Fox and was recently on contract with the International Copyright Enterprise in Berlin, Germany.
In November and December of 2017 over a period of 3 days at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios, London, Keith, along with 25 other session vocalists recorded the entire vocal underscore for the hugely successful Marvel feature film Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman. Keith holds a Bachelors of Music from the University of Hertfordshire and a Masters in Music Business Management from the University of Westminster. He occasionally speaks at industry panels and delivers music business presentations.
Reuel Lynch - Born with a passion for music, Reuel Lynch became a keyboardist at the age of 14 years. He was surrounded by music from an early age, his father being a trumpeter and his mother leading worship at her local church. This passion led him to further hone his craft through music composition, arrangement, production as well as directing choirs and bands across Trinidad & Tobago. His first big opening came in 2003 when Reuel began playing keyboard for gospel groups such as Broadway Boys International. Other artists soon followed: Ancil Valley, Koen Duncan and Birthright, and The Love Circle, now known as Gamma Ray, under the leadership of Isaac Blackman, son of The Lengendary Ras Shorty.
Over the years his peers have recognized Reuel for his hard work and talent by nominating him for awards in several award shows. Among his accomplishments are the Producer of the Year award at the Marlin awards in 2014 and again in 2016. Most recently he is a finalist for Producer of the Year at the Prayze Factor People's Choice Awards Season 10 in Atlanta and a nominee for Producer of the Year in the South Florida Gospel Music Awards in Palm Beach.
Stage 1: Expression of Interest
- An act can be a singer and or instrumentalist, performing original music.
- All Acts must indicate their interest to compete for entry into the Spotlight Programme by agreeing to the Spotlight Terms & Conditions and by completing the submission process via the google form link here available on the MusicTT website NO LATER THAN 11:59PM on Friday 10th April, 2020.
- All submissions will be screened by a panel independent of MusicTT staff. Failure to meet the criteria or non-submission of requested information will result in automatic disqualification. Selected Acts must compete in the Showcase for entry into Spotlight.
Expression of Interest Checklist
Artistes must be prepared to submit/upload ALL of the following information via the Google link:
- Agree to Spotlight’s Terms & Conditions
- Artiste Contact information
- If applicable: Manager’s contact information
- Identify Type of Act & genre(s) of music
- Provide Social Media Handles: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
- Proof via a link of a minimum of 3 productions/releases, 1 of which debuted between 2019-2020. Instrumentalists (only) can refer to contributory works.
- Upload Image of Passport Bio Data Page or Trinidad and Tobago national ID Card
- A profile (professional) photo of yourself (no ‘selfies’) and an artist bio NOT exceeding 150 words.
- An endorsement letter for your Act to the Spotlight Programme signed by a Producer you have worked with. Must include Producer’s contact info.
- A video introducing yourself, explaining why you want to be in the Spotlight programme; then singing/performing one verse and chorus (only) of an original song. Video must not exceed 120 seconds in total.
Stage 2: Selection
- The panel independent of MusicTT staff will screen all suitable artistes (those who have submitted ALL the requested information) and recommend 14 Acts to compete in the Spotlight Entry Showcase which will take place at a date to be determined. Please click the link here to view the rubric that will be used to assess the submissions of all Acts.
- Acts that have qualified for the Spotlight Entry Showcase will be notified by MusicTT to ensure agreements to the rules and regulations of the Spotlight Entry Showcase are signed by all performing acts. Any act not agreeing to the rules and regulations for performing at the Spotlight Entry Showcase will be disqualified, and the act that followed them in the scoring system will be offered their place.
- For participants who have not qualified at this stage, please note: we do not believe that your lack of qualification for the Spotlight Entry Showcase in any way indicates that you lack the talent or skill to become an international act. In the interim, we encourage you to register as a performer on the Live Music District here.
Stage 3– Showcasing to the Music Executive Panel
- The Top 15 Acts submitted by the panel independent of MusicTT staff must all agree to the rules and regulations of this Showcase in order to perform on the date to be determined.
- All Acts must prepare one song for this showcase. While original music is preferred, cover songs are also allowed across any genre of music.
- Each song must be a maximum of 5 minutes. Acts that attempt to perform songs that are longer than 3 minutes will result in the immediate disqualification of the Act.
- All Acts must agree to attend all rehearsals and sound checks put in place by MusicTT for this Showcase. Acts must submit the song they plan to perform and their technical riders, alongside all other information requested by MusicTT.
- The Music Executive Panel will judge this Music Showcase. Information regarding the judges will be released at least a week before the show.
- This Panel will be responsible for choosing the Acts that they believe should qualify for the Spotlight Programme. These Acts will be considered by the judges to be closest to “export-readiness” and the judges will indicate what skills and training will be necessary for these Acts to reach the global stage. The judges’ decisions are final.
- While MusicTT aims for a Spotlight portfolio of 6 Acts, the judges may deem the Acts seen as in need of further development before they reach a stage of export potential. As such, the Spotlight portfolio may end up being much smaller.
About Spotlight: An Artist Portfolio Development Programme
The Artist Portfolio Development Programme (APDP) was conceptualized with the intention of refining a portfolio of musical artists annually who can be shopped to the world. Not all artists, however, are ready for the global stage in terms of quality and export-readiness. The APDP seeks to identify those who have international potential for export, grooming them to leverage their creative talent on the worldwide market. This model is not a one-shop-fit-all. Some may already be at a world-class standard but are in need of business acumen, legal guidance and the right networks. Some singers may be brilliant vocalists in need of performance training so that they can communicate effectively with an audience, and they may also need management.
Business Goals and Objectives
The objectives of this initiative are:
- To provide access to artist development education and build capacity for export.
- To ensure artistes receive globally competitive artist development training.
- To create and leverage export-ready products.
- To network and liaise with international industry professionals.
- To acquire international contracts and deals.
- To develop the local music ecosystem/cluster.
- To change the cultural mindset of artists to one that is fully engaged and professional that is to say business-oriented in the growth and implementation of their craft.