A musical prodigy

Mikel gets a little steelpan direction from her musical dad Wayne Gooding.
Mikel gets a little steelpan direction from her musical dad Wayne Gooding.

It is not every day that one gets to interact with a child prodigy whose navel string is buried right here in Barbados.

The encyclopedic edition of the Lexicon Webster dictionary describes a prodigy as “a person, especially a child or youth, of extraordinary talent or ability; a marvel or wonder, as a remarkable deed, occurrence, or accomplishment; something unnatural or inexplicable”.

Then 10-year-old Mikel Gooding can easily fit any of those descriptions. Any observer of Mikel, could be fooled by her unassuming persona, and may not even take a second look at her as anything other than just another little child. I plead guilty.

But although I only had brief words with her when I first heard her sing at my church, Cave Hill Wesleyan, several Sunday mornings ago, and I was mesmerised, I was even more “blown away” when I got the opportunity to interview her at length last night for this article.

Yes, she admitted being “a bit nervous”; but I told her it happens to me sometimes, too. However, when she started to respond to my questions, the first three things that struck me were her confidence, impressive articulation and her erect posture. They must be good for something.

This Christ Church Girls student is a singer, song writer and panist. As I said before, I first recogised her exceptional talent as a singer/song writer when she sang one of her compositions at my church recently. I could not believe a little girl could have penned such lyrics, plus creation of the melody, then give them such mature and professional structural treatment.

And to compliment the composition, Mikel’s rendition and vocal quality, produced an amazing musical package.

The song is called Recipe of Life. Even the title of the song is not one, normally associated with the thoughts of an infant. I felt then there was some deep philosophical background to this song, judging from the title. And the extraordinary thought processes of this child was confirmed during our interview, when she explained how the song was inspired.

“Well I was at my cousin’s wedding and he likes to eat food and his wife likes to cook; and a lady came up and she said things about what they should put into this pot to make their relationship grow; and I grasped a little bit from that, and I changed it up a little bit and put it into rhythm, and made a song of it,” she explained.

Now how many children do you know make such discernment and create a song from events of that nature? She insisted that she comes up with all her melodies and lyrics and puts everything together herself, except on a few occasions where her father, Wayne Gooding, a musician as well, would tweak it here or there while strumming his guitar.

Gooding admitted that his daughter was substantially responsible for “doing” all of her songs without his assistance. She said she had already written more than five songs, but fewer than 12.

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