Chucky Gordon : Does reigning Monarch know the weight of his crown?
OUR AMBASSADOR5™ SERIES SHOWCASES 5 QUESTIONS/FACTS WITH A CULTURAL AMBASSADOR WHO IS ACTIVELY PROMOTING CARIBBEAN CULTURE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
By Marissa Williams
Listen to full interview below
His quiet determination can easily pass you by if you are not paying attention. His down to earth nature refutes the fact that he currently holds one of the most prestigious titles in the calypso landscape of Trinidad & Tobago. He is the reigning Calypso Monarch for the second consecutive year. Observing him among his fellow calypsonians during rehearsals at Roy Cape’s Band Room, he seemed more comfortable in the passenger’s seat observing and learning from conversation rather than driving. But make no mistake, Chucky Gordon is no wall flower.
Chucky is young and energetic, he is hungry for success and he is serious about his craft.
When I first met Chucky a few years ago, he was at the cusp of his recent achievements and eager to make sure the world heard his voice and knew his talent. Fast forward a few years and I saw a young man comfortable with his skills, aware of his responsibility to his family and cultural history and a man on a focused mission to continuously improve his performance and elevate his craft.
About what winning the Calypso Monarch means for his career
- For Chucky, the Calypso Monarch title is a ‘fantastic achievement’ as it is one of the most prestigious calypso competitions and represents to him the very essence of being a calypsonian. He sees this win as much more than just a title, but an affirmation that he is authentically representing his culture, his family and his home-town of Laventille. He was very versed in the origins of the Monarch title, with roots dating back into the 1940s. The Calypso Monarch competition represents to him the heart of where calypso comes from-a resistance to the established order. It is a title rich in history and heritage. He recounts fondly his family tradition of watching the Monarch competition throughout the years and seeing elders such as Singing Sandra, Black Stalin & Sugar Aloes win the crown. And knowing that he has now started his walk among giants fills him with a great sense of fulfillment for self and family.
About how he got started in calypso
- His interest in music and calypso started manifesting itself at the tender age of eight (8). He participated in school competitions and in competitions sponsored by the political party-NJAC. As he got older, and developed his skills more he graduated from junior calypso to senior calypso.
Regardless of the outcomes of the competitions, he continued to participate in all categories and remained consistent. But, calypso was just one expression of his creative talent. He also actively participated in pan, theater and credits Best Village for teaching him about stage performance.
- He also credits his father for having a heavy influence on his career. His father was actively involved in all aspects of the culture including pan & parang. As was his Uncle, a renowned calypsonian known by the sobriquet Penguin (Road March & Calypso Monarch title holder). He credits these two people as playing very critical roles in the development of his personality and ensuring that calypso music was part of his value system.
About differentiating the brand of Chucky
- Chucky has found his niche. He believes that his ability to sing both soca and kaiso distinguishes him from other artistes because it illustrates his range and versatility. He can sing on socio-political topics through traditional calypso and just as easily switch to party music with his soca. He has even heard reference to his talent being compared to the legendary Mighty Sparrow in respect to that ability to fluidly switch between genres.
About how we take kaiso & soca global
- Chucky believes that the scope and opportunity exist but that there is a need for more universal songs and topics in the music. He admits that it’s a real challenge to balance the music in terms of satisfying the appetites of local and international audiences simultaneously. Trinbagonian audiences want to hear about certain themes within a local context but this does not necessarily translate to an international audience. But he is determined to bridge that gap. He cites some of his songs such as Sing from the Heart and I Believe as his steps to take the music in that direction. And he has decided to take responsibility to do more universal songs not only those solely entrenched in issues of Trinidad & Tobago.
About how he plans to continuously improve his craft
Chucky believes that strong performance ability is the gateway to the audience’s heart and is the greatest component of an artiste’s career.
- To him performance value is a key way to generate interest from fans which eventually leads to more gigs and more income. He plans to focus on improving his performance ability and really understanding the triggers to audience engagement. That, combined with his focus on more universally themed songs, is his focus for growth.
Listen here for our detailed Ambassador5 interview with Chucky Gordon:
Video Credits: Bronson Blair & Remy Rembunction