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Keeping the faith

by Leigh-Ann Worrell

faithcallenderIt’s your secondary school graduation.

Sitting uneasily in a cap and gown, you try to listen as the principal/guest speaker/education officer encourages you to “chase your dreams”, “reach for the stars” or “follow your heart” while striving for excellence.

The thing is, hardly any of them tells you it’s not always easy – or practical, to do so.

They forgot to mention that sometimes, you have to twist your dreams to fit the reality, and this is exactly what Faith Fate Callender is doing. Sitting with Bajan Vibes in the bleachers of the 3W’s Oval, she spoke about how the changing outlook of the real meaning of “success” on the music scene.

“Once upon a time I would have said my ultimate goal was to be signed. But now I realised that does not mean you will make money or that I will be successful,” Faith asserted, “Touring and performing is where the money is.”

Admittedly not a “rich kid”, The Alleyne School alumna has also had to come up with ways to ensure she generates an income doing the thing she loves. Faith has a gig at The Good Life on Saturdays and is a member of two bands – new soca group Kryptonyte and the well-known reggae ensemble Hygraid, which she joined last month. She revealed that reggae was the preferred genre, but was willing to step out in order to cement her name in local households.

“I am more into reggae/pop fusion, but I realised to dominate Barbados you have to do what is popular so I said I would try soca and see how people perceive it. Once the season is over, I will bring out my own stuff…”.

Faith’s soca song will be featured on Blood’s album this year, due to drop on May 1.

Recording a song is not a cheap venture and the young singer ensured to save whatever she made from performances in order to offset the costs.

Despite the sacrifices, Faith did not regret getting into music.

School pageants and performances provided her initial introduction to singing. However, Faith focussed more on academics than notes and chords, going on to study accounting at the Barbados Community College. But the music inside refused to die.

“It is only from last year I realised the music is inside of me and I want to pursue that career. I started pushing from last year. It was a difficult choice to make, sometimes I think I should still do accounts on the back to keep something there. I might do that, but I want to see how far singing and music can go. If there are opportunities for me, I want music to come first…”

Since making the decision, Faith has been blessed by meeting the right people who taught her about many aspects of the local entertainment scene.

“It is very hard to keep yourself motivated because you see people doing it and they are not getting anywhere. But once that passion lives inside you it motivates you,” she added.

There is another creative aspect to Faith. This one, she wears for everyone to see.

It is Teddi the Brand, which she collaborated on with friend Nekoli Parris.

Launched in December, Nekoli told Bajan Vibes it was started out of a growing interest in fashion and entrepreneurship.

“I was doing science but I was struggling. So I decided to do something that I loved,” he explained.

Teddi the Brand was inspired by Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 movie, Ted and aimed to spread positive vibes through “ambition, fun-loving and fashion-oriented” styles. The two create the slogans and Nekoli’s brother does the graphic design.

So far, TTB produced tee-shirts but was aiming to create a full head-to-toe brand. Their styles can currently be found in two stores in the City, with hopes to expand into more in the coming months.

“We did not expect to have the appreciation … that we had,” Nekoli noted.

“We have gotten very positive feedback and we have to go back for more stock,” his business partner added.

Kicking things off with Genesis, they will be encouraging people to Live a Little next month, featuring an extended line of long-sleeved and three-quarter-sleeved shirts for the men, as well as crop tops and tank tops for the ladies.

Making a fashion statement on stage is also important. Faith understood that sex was a hot commodity on the soca scene, but believed there was a classy way to do it.

“Face it, men wanna see sexy women and women wanna see men with shirts off. But it is just how you present it,” the singer asserted. “You can wear something revealing but not trashy and make it sexy.”

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