Despite not capturing the coveted title on the 50th anniversary of Grenada’s independence, the third place winner Jermaine “Superstar” Simon of the sister isle of Carriacou is proud of her performance with the song “At 50”.
Speaking to THE NEW TODAY on Monday, the eight-time calypso monarch of Carriacou said her focus was to represent her little island well in the competition held last Saturday night at the Bus Terminal in Sauteurs, St Patrick.
“I know I had to be prepared… you know Superstar, she should go there and do she best. Although there were some hiccups in getting my presentation on stage, some of my presentation was there, some wasn’t there, I still expected to go (out and) do my best and I just went there and delivered,” she said.
The winner of the competition was ten-time Dimanche Gras monarch Finley “Scholar” Jeffrey who was taking part in the competition for the first time in over 20 years.
Performing since childhood, Superstar believes that her past experiences in calypso gave her the much-needed boost to put down an excellent performance in the 2024 Independence Calypso Monarch show.
Despite being “shy” at the beginning of her career, the female artiste revealed that she has matured in many ways in the artform over the years.
“…As I’m in the business now, I’ve grown. My voice has grown. My attitude towards singing has grown, me presenting myself, it has grown and I felt more confident.”
Embarking on creating uplifting music, the Carriacou-based artiste believes that age and experience have allowed her to create her own unique voice in the music industry.
“Knowing that I came from a musical family, I love music. To me, music is life and music brings a great feeling and when I’m doing music I love to do positive music and the experience was wonderful. And now I think that because of what I’ve been through in terms of the ups and downs with the music, they brought me to this day where I could be able to express everything,” she said.
When it comes to performing in both Grenada and Carriacou, the third-place finisher in the just-ended Independence show pointed out that both islands spark different performance strategies and techniques.
Despite the differences in terms of performance, Superstar stressed that it has helped her significantly.
“(There is) a big difference because Carriacou is a small island. And compared to Grenada, Grenada has a lot of you know, more experienced people and where I started off in Carriacou I just went out and I did my best but when I came here (Grenada) is like I am in the lion’s mouth.”
“So I just have to bring out everything because I meet a lot of big guns here and you know that experience has been great for me.”
According to the artiste, her experience as a music producer allows her to produce content that is remarkable.
The female calypsonian did not hesitate to give recognition to song writer Lloyd “Mr. X” Panchoo for the significant role he played in the composition “At 50.”
Speaking on his encouraging nature, she said that he saw her potential after taking part in the Dimanche Gras a few years ago and this sparked an affiliation between them filled with great music and compositions.
“I didn’t write the song – the song was written by Mr Lloyd Panchoo. That is Mr X and he told me that he had a great song for me. When I listened to the song, I say yeah. Listening to other independent song it’s always a jolly song because (it is) the 50th anniversary.”
“It’s good to celebrate the 50th anniversary but what happens after we celebrate? What hindered us to actually reach where we want to reach so I went deep into a lot of issues and I don’t just want to sing because 50 years came.”
Superstar was quick to add that introspection is imperative during this year’s celebrations because one must think about what happens after the celebrations are done.
Referencing the lewd evolution of Carnival, the female singer felt that there are activities happening in the tri-island state that are delaying the country’s growth.
“There were things that Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique (were) lacking, things that (are) hindering us, not only because of the country itself, but we have the attitude towards people and the generation and a lot of things that are failing for our young people…how Carnival used to be before, it’s not.”
“So these are some things that are hindering the people, hindering the growth of the country so once we (work out) those particular things, I think Carnival and the country as a whole would be able to develop better.”
“These are the issues that I brought out very boldly (in the song). I brought it out and I hope that the things that are hindering us, you know, try to push it away and move forward.”
The calypsonian envisions a Grenada that is filled with advancement and development as the country proceeds into the next fifty years.
“Because beyond fifty, you want to see more progress, you want to see unity. We want to see we preserve our history, we want to see healthcare taken much better. We want to see (sound) fiscal policy – these are things that I think we need to work on. I think I give them (the audience) the facts and I hope they listened,” she told THE NEW TODAY.
Superstar believes that the crowd did take in her songs during the semi-final round of the competition at La Sagesse in St David and the finals at Sauteurs.
“I realised (when) I went on stage, and I performed, people listened attentively to what I’m saying and I think the crowd’s response was fair. I mean they wanted to see something more jolly, but I brought a difference in giving the true facts …,” she said.
“…I brought this difference,” she quipped.
Although the competition has ended, Superstar noted that calypso lovers have displayed their admiration and respect for her performance last Saturday night.
“I got a lot of love from the people afterwards. And I mean, I sang in the rain, but I got a lot of love from the people, and I really appreciate that. And up to this day (am) still getting the love and the support from them,” she said.
With August Spicemas festival to begin in the upcoming months, the prominent calypsonian from Carriacou is confident about her ability to make a mark in the upcoming Dimanche Gras competition.
“Oh, no doubt, no doubt, I will be there,” said Superstar.