*We've asked none other than Caroline Mair to jazz things up the way only she can ... on Saturday 18 October 2008 at GREEN CARPET – Greenlight Network’s 2nd annual fundraising environmental concert. Spend a few moments with us and read what this talented songstress has to say about her journey from singing in showers to the stage.
1. At what age did you start singing?
Well, I’ve been singing in the shower for as long as I can remember, but I’ve been ridiculously shy until this year. I was in and out of choirs, but I hate choirs, and I would sing at university once in a while. But I went through a couple of things last year, and I guess it got me thinking about the things I really wanted out of life. So I jumped up one day and went to Satchmo’s during my lunch break, and waited there every day for three days for as long as I could so they could hear me sing. And they listened, and they liked, and I’ve grown in confidence since then.
2. Why do you sing?
Because I have to. I played piano for about ten years and hated it, but I loved music. I just never knew I was using the wrong instrument. There’s always music in my head. Lyrics bouncing around, melodies. I would hear a blues song, then I would deviate from the tune, think about things to add, try to funk it up in my head with a parang or tassa beat or something. Or a Spanish verse with a clave for the bridge. I’ve been doing this since I was very small, trying to switch things up.
3. What songs do you sing? Originals? Covers?
I sing covers in public, but I think I would like to expand into my own compositions. I have a lot of songs tumbling around in my head, as I said. But I’ve only done one or two things in collaboration with other people. I really want to explore different genres, try to mix what I currently sing with Caribbean genres. I guess I just love fusions, so I want to try to play with that.
4. What styles of singing do you explore? Which is your favourite and why?
I love opera, but you have to be trained to follow that path. Otherwise, you’ll hurt your voice. So now it’s mostly jazz, neo-soul, the blues. I love the blues, harnessing all that emotion into your voice. What I sing in Satchmo’s is purely old school – lovely standard ballards. Other places I make it more contemporary, try to bring some modern neo-soul into the mix. As I said before, I really want to explore fusion, and find ways of blending more Caribbean forms with what I sing right now.
5. Are you a trained singer?
No. I hate choirs and classes. But did do ten years of piano, so at least I know something about music. Well, I’m supposed to know! It’s somewhere filed away in my memory, I’m sure!
6. Do you perform regularly?
I have a regular gig at Satchmo’s, Mondays and Saturdays.
7. Name places (establishments or countries) where you've performed
Satchmo’s, Coco Lounge, and Central Bank in Trinidad; Groove Bar in New York; Victor’s Café (opera) and Zanzibar Blue in Philadelphia.
8. What was your most memorable performance ... and why?
For my grandmother’s funeral. I hadn’t officially started to sing in public. I was still too shy. My grandmother was the only one who encouraged me to sing in public, and I never sang, not even for her really. So I decided to sing for her funeral. It was awful, really. Started to cry in the middle of the song. But I meant every word of the song.
9. Who/what inspires you - in singing (specifically) and in life (generally)?
In singing, Billy Holiday has to be my favourite. The quality of her voice is magnetic. She had a very tragic life, and you could hear the pain in her voice. When I heard “Southern Trees” for the first time, I had chills. Nina Simone is another one. “Don’t Explain” is a song that just stops you cold, and you’re there in the moment, in the song, pleading with her lover to “just say you’ll remain.” I like the craziness of Amy Winehouse – she’s the only pop singer I like really. She re-introduces “diva” back into music. I mean, look at what happened to Britney – there’s a price to pay for those exacting standard of beauty and “femininity” that’s put upon women in any field, especially music.
10. This is an environmental concert. What personal statement would you like to share with readers re the environment/your thoughts/feelings, etc...?
As a developing country, we have a lot invested in protecting our environment. There’s a fine line to draw between development and exploitation. Sustainable development – that benefits us, not foreign entities and countries – is really key here. It’s an ongoing battle. How to provide for ourselves and for the future? How to ensure what we do today does not jeopardize tomorrow? We’re a small country, and our resources are limited. It requires everyday people thinking outside the box, being entrepreneurial, finding ways to reduce our waste and develop a market that doesn’t revolve around oil and gas. Because if we leave protecting the environment solely up to the government, it won’t end up getting done. And really, we’ll be just as much to blame.
Date: Saturday 18th October
Time: 5 - 8 p.m.
Venue: La Joya Auditorium, Eastern Main Road, St. Joseph
Glenford Bhagat - 789-0786
Shivonne DuBarry - 758-7915
Elspeth Duncan - 786-2539
50% of proceeds will go to WORC (Wildlife Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre).
The other 50% will go toward Greenlight Network’s environmental projects. Have a look at some of our past ones.
Please forward this post to those you think will be interested in learning about our performers, attending the concert and supporting this worthy environmental cause.