Mikey singing social
Party monarch champion taking on calypso commentary
Twenty-fourteen is a special year for Michael Mikey Mercer. It is his tenth year in the music business; and he is looking to do things a bit differently, if not with a bang.
“To be honest, when I first started, I gave myself about five to six years to be recognized as a soca artist,” he told Bajan Vibes. “That got a bit of a jump-start in my first year by winning the Road March.”
After that, the next two years were for the king, by some people’s standard, a bit low-keyed. But not for Mikey. He told us that for him this was an opportune time to step back and do what this industry requires: learn.
“You have to learn from these things. I didn’t place as high. I came ninth in my second year; and in my third I actually didn’t make Party Monarch. So I was just working to see what the public looks for from me, what it is that I was doing, and trying to acquire a symbiotic relationship with that.
“And from there it was about nine second places until I won in 2011,” said Mikey, who is also one of the main singers with the island top soca band Soka Kartel.
So just what will he be doing this year? Something he suggests that he has been putting off for a bit: singing social commentary.
“I will be releasing between eight and ten tracks, inclusive of two social commentaries, and about three or four collaborations, both locally and regionally. Social commentary is something I have always wanted to do for a while, but I don’t . . . . I am not going to go in blind. I like to do my research and choose the topic that suits me properly. From there it is to get writers to assist me, or write for me as the case may be.
“The first track that has been released already and [it] has been getting a fair amount of airplay is called Turn Up The Love which speaks to the ending of domestic violence, particularly violence against women. Everyone know that that is a cause that I am very passionate about. I am actually a UN ambassador; I work with UNIFEM, and I work with the Business And Professional Women’s Club of Barbados, and all such dealing with that,” Mikey explained.
His next track Time Fuh We is to be released this week and focuses on how we as a people can help each other at this time.
“There are things that we can do that people can relate to me because it is stuff that I do on a general basis with the charity in particular. I am very excited about it. It is something new for me, and I have been talking to the older calypsonians and getting any sort of insight that I can from them where performing and putting over social commentary is concerned,” he added.
As for ten years on, Mikey sums it all up by saying that it has been a lot of work, a lot of planning, a lot of sleepless nights.
“ . . . A lot of very long studio hours. We are proud of the growth and know we have a way to go. I am very thankful to all my corporate partners who are coming and supporting what I have been doing over the ten years and I want to thank the charities that support me in doing what I do.
“This helps a lot because charity work is extremely draining. Anyone who does charity work knows it is extremely tiring, but the feeling that you get at the end of it all makes it worth it.”