All about originality

by Michron Robinson

sirrueltipshishatCalypsonian Chad Sir Ruel Bowen is getting ready for Crop-Over.

He will be entering the Pic-O-De-Crop competition again this year but for the first time he will be bringing self-penned songs.

He said that although the two songs were a lot of hard work, he felt more comfortable singing them. However, the challenge he faces, he said, is the result of growing accustomed to the work of others. The winner of the junior calypso monarch in 2008 added that he had to take time putting the lyrics and melody together and that took a lot of his time but once it was done he was satisfied.

The first song Bowen said he wrote was called Sir and is dedicated to some of those Barbadian men who were knighted by Queen Elizabeth as well as those who have made contributions to calypso, including Sir Don and himself.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY about his second song, Sir Ruel said: “The other song is actually a party song and it is a song dedicated to young people like me who were in Junior Monarch and are now singing with the older calypsonians and we could never get past semi-finals and since a lot of the younger artists are singing party I guess that is what the judges expect of us, party songs.”

The singer said this song was to encourage younger artists to stay in social commentary.

Bowen said that his motivation for writing the song Sir came from the fact that the men in his song are well respected and he wanted to honour them in this way.

“Usually when I am writing a song I would write piece of a verse and stop but this time around I wanted to push myself to the limit because I wanted to accomplish being a writer also. I knew it was not going to be an easy thing but once I got through it I knew I could do it [writing] and do it every year.

Sir Ruel said with his writing he was for the most part unassisted, except for when he in consulted his mother on a few questions, adding she would give him pointers occasionally.

The song will be recorded at Slam City studios with Chris Allman, who has worked with Cover Drive, Rupee, Natahlee and other soca artists, as the producer.

The calypsonian, who went straight to the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals in 2009 and placed fourth, said the good thing about writing his own songs — whether he wins or loses, whether he makes it all the way to the finals or not — is that having completed the task is something to be proud of.

“When you sing other people’s songs and you would like to change up a word, you would always have to go to them and ask to change it. Looking at a person’s songs and trying to unpick it is not always the best thing because that person wrote it expecting you to sing it the way how they wanted you sing it. Now if there was something in my song I wanted to change I could just say ‘Chad is there anything you want to change? And I would change it’,” he said jokingly.

Sir Ruel said that being diagnosed as mildly autistic has not bothered him in any way. He said sometimes he would think about it but he does not allow it to get in the way of his writing or hinder him in any other way.

The young calypsonian said he was of the view that not enough attention was being given to promoting growth social commentary. This, he added, was compounded by promising Junior Monarch competitors graduating to Party Monarch rather than social commentary.

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