Classic going for the crown
He is a perennial Pic-O-De-Crop finalist but this year William Classic Waithe is looking to go all the way even though he acknowledges the decision is not his to make.
“The judges will have to decide that, ” he told Bajan Vibes.
“Last year a lot of people, including myself, felt that way [but] I feel sometimes in calypso I does get a hard deal, like I does get judge by a different standard or something,” he added.
However, Classic who has made it to the big finals stage at least eight times since 1987 is not about to give up.
“. . . I still have to press on and keep on singing for the people. I am not going to be daunted by the judges’ decision,” he said. “I am not going to let them validate me. I have a contribution to make and I will make that contribution by putting down the best performance I can, every year.”
The singer, who is marking three decades in the calypso arena, has come a long way since he started out in the Battleground Calypso Tent and is currently in the line up for De Big Show.
While declaring his love for the calypso genre, he told Bajan Vibes his main reason for coming back every year was “just to sing for the people”.
“[Sadly] the artform has become a lot more commercialised. The artistic side of it is not really promoted so much. You would find that calypso historically and traditionally used to be about a storyline and weight and humour. There was a lot of emphasis on song writing, but I find that a lot of the songs nowadays lack substance.
“Even back in the day, party songs used to have a story. You could have partied to . . . songs like Mr Tee [by the Mighty Grynner] and Boots and Jack [by the The Mighty Gabby] but not now!”
“ . . . times change. I accept that, but it isn’t always that when we change, we change for the better,” he lamented.
Classic said the younger brigade needed to understand that there was a writing aspect involved in the industry.
“They should hone their writing skills first and the rest would come together,” he advised.
“A lot of the songs leave a lot to be desired in terms of actual writing and the storyline. That is how it has changed.
He stressed that a song could be interesting and humourous without “giving instruction” or “bumper this and bumper that and that kinda stuff”.
Considered one of the few masters of double entendre in the calypso arena today, Classic confessed to his love for use of this musical device, which for him makes the artform all the more exciting.
“It fascinates me to play on words. I love word play because to me it is finding an interesting way to get your point across.
“If I can find a way to make people laugh, smile or I think that the English language gives me the opportunity to do that, I try to do that in my songs to make them more interesting, because at the same time, we must entertain.
“Calypso is not supposed to be boring and preaching to people and telling them about everything that went on. You have to find an angle, a way to get the message across in an exciting and entertaining way and get people to sit up in their chairs and take note. I strive for that. I may not always accomplish it but that is the angle that I use,” he told Bajan Vibes.
And what of his two songs this year?
He explained that one of his offerings, I Ain’t Come Here Fuh That, was composed in response to people teling him, he needed to do “a, b or c”.
However, some of the things they suggested “ain’t really proper” so he is telling them “I aint come here fuh that”.
Equally popular is Freundel Knows, another double entendre which makes direct reference to the Prime Minister “[because] people say he ain’t know wha going on. The song basically says he knows”.
“I am leaving people to think and imagine if I am making any reference to any part of his facial anatomy. I am happy with the response so far to that one,” he added.