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Machel Montano performing in Sap Paulo, Brazil in 2007
|Also known as||Boy Boy, Mr.Fete, Double M|
24 November 1974 |
Carenage, Trinidad and Tobago
|Origin||Siparia, Trinidad and Tobago|
|Occupations||Musician, producer, Song-writer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, keyboards, percussion|
|Associated acts||Xtatik, Destra Garcia, Farmer Nappy, Patrice Roberts, Zan, Pitbull (entertainer)|
He is the frontman of the popular soca band The HD Family, and is noted for his high energy, fast-paced, and often unpredictable on-stage performances. During his career, which spans over 30 years, he has recorded several songs alongside many of Caribbean music's most popular acts, such as Lerone Guy of St Anthonys College, Alison Hinds, Beenie Man, Calypso Rose, Burning Flames, Drupatee, Wyclef Jean, Canibus, Red Rat, Shaggy, Sparrow, Denise Belfon, Ken Marlon Charles (KMC), Destra, Walker Hornung, Vybz Kartel, Mohombi, G-Unit, Black Stalin, David Rudder, Buju Banton, Mr. Vegas, Doug E. Fresh, Pitbull, Busta Rhymes and many others. In 1987 he was the youngest finalist to ever win the Caribbean Song Festival. He now stands as one of the most well-known soca acts in the world, using his leverage as an artist able to sell-out shows. Recently he has moved to the Los Angeles area and furthered his pursuit saying "I may not be the one to bring it forth, but in the meantime, I have a lot of work to do in order for something to happen". He is very well known in New York and has had sold out concerts in Madison Square Gardens many times over.
Born in Carenage (West Trinidad), his family moved to Siparia, South Trinidad, when he was very young. Machel attended Siparia Boys' R.C., then Presentation College, a prestigious secondary school in San Fernando, where he was in the choir led by Mrs. Cynthia Lee-Mack. Machel first shot to fame as a 9-year-old boy with the song "Too Young To Soca" while he was still in primary school. In 1984, along with his older brother Marcus and neighbours, the group Panasonic Express was started and, in 1989, the band became Xtatik.
Machel Montano HD - his concepts
The band developed and was re-invented by its leader Montano several times, including as Clamydia, The Xtatik Circus, Xtatik The Road Marching Band and The Band of the Year, as part of Machel's Zen battle to keep his band and his performances fresh. Since 2007 they became known as Machel Montano HD (High Definition); Machel promotes the concept by saying that he is the first human being to go HD. He claims this is a representation of the evolution of his music over the last 25 years and highly improved style in which his music shall be presented to his fans over radio formats, television, and during live performances. He is part of a campaign in Trinidad and Tobago to promoting safe driving - "Arrive Alive". Part of the hype surrounding Montano since 2007 is his HD tour bus, a 20-year-old bus from the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) that was re-done and includes a bedroom, bathroom facilities, flat-screen TVs, Internet access and expensive audio systems. After its debut in 2007, the bus was re-painted for 2008, the new images of Machel matching various photos from the album artwork of his 2008 CD, Flame On. The bus featured heavily in his videos for "Jumbie" (2007) and "Rollin/Blazin d Trail" (2008). In 2012 Machel Montano won the Road March, Power Soca Monarch and the Groovy Soca Monarch. He won the Groovy Soca Monarch with his rendition "Mr. Fete". In May 2012 the singer launched the music video to his hit single "Bottle Of Rum"..
In the last few years the band has risen to a new level of musicality as each performance is very tight musically and has foreign influences such as Ernesto Luis Gutirrez, its Venezuelan percussionist, Shawn Mitchell, bassist from Grenada and musicians from Barbados. Kernal Roberts, the son of the late Lord Kitchener (calypsonian) has picked up the role as Xtatik's drummer and musical director and has brought new life to the band.
Montano was also instrumental in the promotion of soca music in the United Kingdom on the BBC's black music digital radio station BBC Radio 1Xtra, where he co-presented the International Sounds of Soca show for four years with DJ Slic. He has released many successful singles, with and without Xtatik, during his career, such as "Big Truck" (Xtatik's most successful single, which won the Road March title in 1997), "Outa Space" (with Beenie Man), "Music Farm" (Xtatik), "It's Carnival" (with Destra), and his most recent back to back Road March title wins for 2006, "Band Of The Year" (with Patrice Roberts) and 2007, "Jumbie".
His 2008 album Flame On, was released in February 2008 and featured collaborations with some of the most esteemed artistes in calypso such as David Rudder on "Oil and Music" and The Mighty Sparrow on "Congo Man". These two collaborations were well-received all around, especially "Congo Man".
Flame On also includes Clamydia with other well-known artistes from various genres including soca, reggae, rap and reggaeton. Examples of these partnerships can be heard on the following tracks: Patrice Roberts on "Rollin", Shaggy on "Wining Season", Buju Banton on "Make Love" and finally Lil Jon and Pitbull on "Defense (The Anthem)".
Flame On displays the very strong relationship between Machel Montano and Kernal Roberts, his right-hand man. Roberts was involved in the writing of eight out the 13 tracks on the album.
In Trinidad's Carnival Road March Competition for Carnival 2008, Montano's song "Blazin d Trail" placed third even though it was a crowd favourite when it was played at Carnival fetes during the Carnival season of 2008.
In 2011, Machel won the International Soca Monarch competition defeating the likes of Iwer George (2nd) and Bunji Garlin (3rd) after a fierce night of competition. In the end, Machel walked away with the TT$2 million dollar prize and the first International Soca Monarch title of his career. He then went on to win the Carnival Road March title with the same hit 'Advantage' by a landslide victory.
In 2012, Machel once again won the International Power Soca Monarch with the song "Pump Yuh Flag". Montano once again received the TT$2 million dollar prize and title. Also he entered the Groovy Soca Monarch and was victorious ousting the reigning Groovy Soca Monarch King Kes Diffenthaller and crowd favorite Kerwin Du Bois who placed 2nd in the competition. Topping off the Carnival Season in Trinidad & Tobago, he won the Carnival Road March title (Pump Yuh Flag-Played 233 Times). His closest challengers were Fay Ann Lyons(96) & Iwer George(84). 2011 and 2012 to date have been the most successful of Montano's career and most attribute it to his strong work ethic, relationship with current manager, James Walton and mother Liz Montano.
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- Too Young to Soca? (1986)
- Soca Earthquake (1987)
- Dr. Carnival (1988)
- Katch Ya! (1989)
- Breakin Out! (1990)
- One Step Ahead! (1991)
- 2000 Young To Soca (2000 Re-Edition)
- The Xtatik Experience (2005)
- B.O.D.Y. (2006)
- The Book of Angels (2007)
- Flame on, released as Wining Season in the United States (2008)
- Heavenly Drum (2009)
- The Return (2011)
- Double M (2012)
- Going for Gold (2012)- Machel Montano and Friends
- Machelements (Volume 1) (2013)- Machel Montano
- X Amount Ah Sweetnesss (1992)
- Soca Style Hot (1993)
- By All Means (1994)
- Loose Yuh Waist (1995)
- Men At Work (1996)
- Heavy Duty (1997)
- Xtatik Live (1997)
- Charge (1998)
- Any Minute Now (1999)
- Here Comes the Band (2000)
- Same High (2001)
- On the Cusp (2002)
- The Xtatik Circus (2003- as "Xtatik Band 5.0")
- The Xtatik Parade (2004)
- Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p. 300-301
- New York Amsterdam News, Vol. 98, Issue 39, Pages 24-25 9/20/2007
- BET J to air Machel Montano Trinidad & Tobago special - Saturday, March 24, 2007: CaribbeanNetNews
- Machel Montano Performs at Miami Broward Carnival 2012