Being a mentor

by Kimberley Cummins

There is so much talent in Barbados and Ricky Stoute’s objective is to nurture and mentor it.

He is back on the island for two weeks and speaking with Barbados TODAY after taking in the action during a break at the first semi-final of his father’s show – Richard Stoute Teen Talent Contest – he said his lifelong dream was to establish his own school of performing arts in the structure which housed the old Empire building on Probyn Street in the City.

However, funds were lacking so his immediate plan was to create a type of mentorship programme for young entertainers.

Stoute said it saddened him whenever he returned to the island to see young entertainers struggling as a result of other entertainers, both past and present, not getting involved and showing them the ropes.

What he is proposing to do is to come back home as often as he can and choose people from the field of entertainment in Barbados who had passed through Teen Talent or have made a significant contribution to entertainment. Then he would put systems in place where every year they would adopt a Teen Talent contestant to chaperone and groom that individual on how to speak, how to use the microphone, how to move on stage, how to make eye contact, how to dress, how to prepare, how to warm up and so on.

“I don’t think that is fair… there is so much talent on this island and I’m sitting there and thinking you can do this and you can do that but it also starts with us as entertainers who’ve been there, done that and know how hard it is to get where we were. I know how hard it was for me- it was probably even harder for me based on the fact that I was walking in my father’s shadow for many, many years and I had to branch out and do my own concerts and do something to let people see that I was serious about this. No one took me serious as a singer, everyone said ‘he is a dancer trying to be a singer’.

“There are some very talented people and they just fall by the wayside. There are a lot of kids with talent, I see them on Facebook and when I ask are you still singing they say ‘no, why? ‘in Barbados?’ they are just lost. I want to help kids, young boys and girls, with their talent to help them grow and progress beyond Teen Talent, Of Boys And Men, beyond these shores. If I could get someone beyond these shores and they come back and teach another generation and teach another generation and regenerate there is no reason why we can’t have 20,000 Rihannas – It just starts with us,” the 44 year old said.

“We sometimes pass people and say, ‘she used to be good, she used to sing. We need to be there for these kids, how many Edwin Yearwoods could they have been? How many Andy Armstrongs could they have been? Rihanna has support but who is to say that one of these kids if they have support and financial backing couldn’t be the next big thing. They are going home tonight and whoever may lose and say that is that, try next year but there is no one to say that ‘you have something, you may not have won tonight but you have something that I like and I want to groom you and develop that and when you see that person one year later you ask if that is the same person who was on stage last year – no that isn’t the same person.

“Where is Kim Derrick, where is Rosie Hunte, where is Terencia [Coward], where is Jan Gibson, where are all these people? Seeing people who have been in the competition in the audience watching you – it gives them hope that they can go up to them and ask ‘how was I tonight?, what do you think I should do?’… If I could win $10 million tomorrow that is just what I will do – I would invest in that.”

Stoute has been living in Germany for the past 11 years. On the 18th is headed to Russia for a four day tour. He keeps busy working at the Royal Albert Hall, as lead singer of a band The Right Thing in Germany and touring across Europe.

The winner of the 1997 CBU song contest is presently working on his maiden 14 track album which, he said, would feature: Vocal House, a lot of Dance, Rhythm and Blues and infused with Caribbean flavour. The songs will be inspirational.

In June 2013, he along with Coleen Brewster, will bring to the Barbados public once again the popular Of Boys And Men production.

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