Patrice Roberts performing at a fete in 2008
|Born||11 April 1985|
|Origin||Toco, Trinidad and Tobago|
|Associated acts||Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin, Zan|
Patrice Roberts (born 11 April 1985) is a Trinidadian soca singer. She is known as one the "First Ladies of Soca".
She came to national attention in 2005 with the huge hit collaboration "The Islands" alongside Bunji Garlin, written by Kernal Roberts and produced by Shawn Noel (Da Ma$tamind), which was used in promotional commercials by the Ministry of Tourism.
It was in 2005 when Patrice Roberts shocked the entertainment industry in Trinidad and Tobago with her talent. Her introduction through a vocal collaboration was with Bunji Garlin,who at that time was in the spotlight. It was her refreshingly soothing and powerful vocals that quickly got her the attention that many established entertainers desired. Very few were able to provide accurate answers about her and her career, appearing mystery like. Patrice Roberts has assumed her position in the Caribbean music industry as a force to be reckoned with.
Music was always an instrumental part of her life and would inevitably become her career. As far as her mind allows her to journey Patrice recollects always being in love with music and singing. It was at the tender age of seven she began taking her passion seriously.Since then Patrice has not regretted surrendering to her passion.
In 2006, shortly after Patrice shot into the spotlight she became one of the frontline vocalists and the only female vocalists in the internationally recognized Soca Band, which at that time was known as Xtatik (now HD). For Patrice
her professional career had just begun and she was in full flight. It would be a challenging and difficult journey for
Patrice but one that she would embrace and make her own when given the opportunity.
Fresh out of school, Roberts experienced what many would consider “culture shock”; moving from her countryside dwellings in Toco to city lights. Her transition from a calypso consumed lifestyle to Soca meant that the life she was accepting would attract obstacles beyond her understanding, “I had to adapt to the culture, the atmosphere and
now compete with established artistes.”
Prior to her collaboration with Bunji Garlin and her alliance with Machel Montano and HD, Patrice had numerous Calypso accolades under her belt. Her journey from then to now was crafted by ace songwriter and producer, Kernal Roberts. The male Roberts was approached by Patrice's then mentors; Dan Nero and George Stanisclaus for her introduction into
the "Soca World." This is how 2005 began. One of her greatest achievements followed soon after when she was named the youngest female Road March winner for her collaboration with Machel Montano titled “Band Of The Year”. This achievement would solidify her existence in the Soca world and prove to critics that she was more talent than they expected. Her talent has provided her with opportunities to travel extensively throughout the Caribbean, The USA and Europe with more opportunities still presenting themselves.
To understand her career one must understand her struggles, obstacles and successes, a simple word of advice from her to anyone interested in following their dreams is, "Believe in them." To date Roberts has been recognized for some of her hit singles namely, 'Big Girl Now', 'Old and Grey', ‘A Little Wine’, ‘Bruk Out’, ‘I am Soca’, 'Unforgettable', ‘Tempa Wine’, ‘Judgement Stage’, Wukkin Up’, ‘Rollin’, 'B.O.D.Y' with Machel Montano, and among others.
Artistry: Feminism in Trinidad
On 1 January 2017 Patrice Roberts released a song called Big Girl Now. In the context of Caribbean and Trinidadian history and Roberts’ role as a female soca artist, the song serves as a modern repudiation of a male dominated culture. Trinidadian culture has historically been male dominated and the same can be said of soca since its inception. Before and after Trinidad’s independence from Britain, the country has kept a strict binary of male and female roles. Men dominated the "rational" public sphere thus laying claim to the spoken word and women were relegated to the private sphere as was much of the rest of the Caribbean. The gendered authority over the spoken word in the Caribbean and Trinidad gives great meaning to women who challenge such notions. In the 1980s, the male dominated field of soca music began to shift as Trinidadian vocal performers began to emerge. Enter Patrice Roberts who was born in 1986 just as women began to dominate soca music. In Big Girl Now, Patrice Roberts brushes past traditional notions of who can and can’t produce soca music and takes back her own sexuality as a grown woman from a society that attempts to tell her what she can and can’t do. Much of gendered Trinidadian society can be traced back to early post-independence. Just after the independence of Trinidad from Britain on 31 August 1962, the country set about creating the imagined community of "nation" and citizenry (state). In this light the creation of cultural borders such as that on sexuality is one of the modern nation-state. For example, the Sexual Offenses Bill of 1986 that attempted to regulate women’s bodies by dictating what was allowed sexually. The bill stated that " promiscuity" was a "contaminant of the West". Soca music as performed by female soca performers, such as Patrice Roberts in Big Girl Now, can be thought of as a repudiation of the nation-state evident in lyrics such as "mind your business, hush your mouth" while Patrice Roberts and her friends in the music video for Big Girl Now take part in what might be considered "promiscuous behavior" by traditional norms. Some critics of Caribbean music and the soca music scene such as author Kevin Frank believe the role of women to be a solely exploitative and poisonous one while looking at the lyrics of male soca artists and the dance "winning". These critics fail to take into account contemporary female soca performers and the colonial history of pre-independence Trinidad as well as early post-independence Trinidad. Both periods sought out to control the sexuality of women. According to Susan Harewood, national narratives that make up the conception of "nation" are multi-authored but rarely egalitarian. Throughout Trinidad’s history these narratives have been written by men. Artists and Trinidadian women such as Patrice Roberts are authoring their own narrative of what it means to be a Trinidadian woman.
Carnival and Soca Music (Traditional Culture)
Patrice Roberts was born and grew up in Trinidad. Trinidad is a nation having remarkable carnival culture, and it is also known to be the hub of the soca and the calypso music. The soca music is also called the soul calypso. Both genres represent the carnival culture in Trinidad. Trinidad carnival music exhibits three themes including the tradition, the social identity, and the performance context and function. The tradition component of the carnival music includes the usage of music in religious ceremonies and weddings. In these occasions, the instruments such as guitar, cautro, and maracas are used. In additional, vocal, clapping, stamping and special breathing sound "doption" are also used in the soca and calypso music. People dance in the Trinidad carnivals. The social identity component reflects the ethnic diversity in Trinidad. There are huge population of Indians, Africans, and other ethnicities. The soca music mixes the calypso with East Indian music. Comparing to calypso, the soca music has faster tempo and it is more energetic. The soca music is designed for festivity and cheerful dance. While the soca lyric has less storytelling, it is calling the audiences to respond to the singer. The soca music is also having more sound effects from the studio production. As a Trinidadian, Patrice Roberts’ songs exhibit characteristics of the soca music and the Trinidad carnival dynamic. As a popular singer, she performs the soca music to broad global audiences and fosters cultural exchanges. In 2006, Patrice Roberts sang with Machel Montano, an internationally known soca singer. Together, their song "Band of De Year" won the 2006 Carnival Road March. This achievement brought fame to both singers, the soca music, and the Trinidad carnival culture.
Patrice Roberts and Motherhood
Despite their best efforts the people of Trinidad and Tobago still suffer color and class discrimination as well as sexism . It is apparent in the music industry is male-dominated while women are taking up the vocalist roles in bands. Even though women are able to use their voice to speak of the gender-biased oppression as a welcoming to the music industry, it is also to be said that they are restricted to playing musical instruments roles that can farther increase their credibility. Despite this, Calypso music became the opening door for women to work in the music industry. Calypso music is a type of political and social folk song genre from Trinidad. Calypso music gave the women of Trinidad a voice to sing of gendered-biased oppression. Patrice Roberts started her career with calypso music but transitioned to Soca, the Soul of Calypso music. Despite being a musical performance that are sometimes cases as a form of male objectification, she is also a mother. She wrote a song for her daughter of one, Lily. Patrice Roberts came from a traditional Muslim family where it restricted her of doing what she loved, to sing. The changing role of women as well as the improved status of local expressive forms help create a space for women to participate in the cultural life of Trinidad and Tobago, just as they won role for themselves in public life in general. Patrice Roberts was able to still be an entertainer and was able to perform when she was pregnant. This past mother’s day, she celebrated her daughter’s first birthday by publishing a song for her. Her daughter’s name is Lily and the song title is Diamond in My Heart. This music video features Patrice Roberts being a mother during Lily’s baptism.
In her early career, Roberts first won the 1995 Sangre Grande Junior Calypso Monarch competition. In 2000, she became a top finalist in the competition, marking her ascent in the calypso arena. In the year 2001, she became the National Soca Monarch, the National Library Calypso Monarch and the National Junior Calypso Monarch. She again won the National Junior Calypso Monarch in 2002. Other achievements include Toco Personality Winner 2000 and U.N.D.P. second-runner up 2001.
Patrice Roberts has also competed in the International Soca Monarch in Trinidad on several occasions. In 2006, she placed second alongside Zan with the track "Always Be" in the "Groovy" category. Her collaboration with Machel Montano, "Light it Up" placed 4th in the "Power" category in 2007. In 2008, she placed second in the "Groovy" category with her song "More Wuk".
To this day, Roberts is known as one of the leading ladies of soca.
- Blossoming (2003)
- Looking Hot (2008)
- "The Islands" (featuring Bunji Garlin) (2005)
- "Always Be" (featuring Zan) (2006)
- "Band Of De Year" (featuring Machel Montano; album B.O.D.Y.) (2006) (Winner 2006 Carnival Road March)
- "Till Tomorrow" (featuring Zan) (2007)
- "Light it Up" (featuring Machel Montano; album Book of Angels) (2007)
- "Dance With Me" (featuring Fraud Squad) (2007)
- "Wukkin Up (Remix)" (featuring Macka Diamond) (2007)
- "Rollin" (featuring Machel Montano; album Flame on) (2008)
- "Tempa Wine" (featuring Machel Montano) (2008)
- "Feels Nice" (featuring Machel Montano) (2008)
- "Bump & Grind" (featuring Tian Winter) (2008)
- "Like it Like That" (featuring)kes the band (2018)
- Peter Ray Blood Pusle Friday 18 November 2005 Archived 16 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Pinto, Samantha. "Why Must All Girls Want to Be Flag Women? Postcolonial Sexualities, National Reception, and Caribbean Soca Performance." Meridians 10.1 (2009): 137-63. JSTOR. Web. 29 May 2017.
- Harewood, Susan. "Transnational Soca Performances, Gendered Re-Narrations Of Caribbean Nationalism." Social and Economic Studies 55.1/2, POPULAR CULTURE (2006): 25-48. JSTOR. Web. 29 May 2017.
- Frank, Kevin. "Female Agency and Oppression in Caribbean Bacchanalian Culture: Soca, Carnival, and Dancehall." Women's Studies Quarterly 35.1/2, The Sexual Body (2007): 172-90. JSTOR. Web. 29 May 2017.
- Munro, Hope. What She Go Do: Women in Afro-Trinidadian Music. Jackson: U of Mississippi, 2016. Print.
- Munro, Hope. What She Go Do: Women in Afro-Trinidadian Music. Jackson: U of Mississippi, 2016. Print.
- SocaBookings PATRICE ROBERTS Archived 18 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Soca Monarch 2006 Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- ‘Iwer’ is International Soca Monarch 2007
- Soca Monarch 2008 Results
- Soca: Carnival 2006 winners announced - Machel and Patrice Roberts win Road March Archived 16 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine