Destra Thrives As the Queen of Her Bacchanal Hive Despite All
Dynamic and colorful are some of the adjectives used to describe her style. Her pseudonym, Queen of Bachannal, captures but one side of her multi-dimensional personality. She is a boss lady fully focused on perfecting her craft and promoting her brand, she is a dedicated songstress and Whitney Houston fan, she explores her sexy side through her outfits and her alter ego-Lucy, she is a mother and soon to be wife. The list is exhausting but she wears each hat with style and grace that only the Queen of Bacchanal can.
Destra Garcia is what Trinbagonians like to call a true ‘callalloo.’ Her cultural heritage can be traced to Venezuela, St. Vincent, Barbados and Grenada. Her musical roots run deep with her father, Lloyd Garcia, being an accomplished guitarist and her grandfather, Frankie Garcia, being a celebrated island jazz musician. The Queen of Bachannal grew up in the community of Desperlie Crescent, Laventille in eastern Port of Spain * and has since travelled the world over bringing awareness of soca music, her unique brand and performance style.
‘In 1999 Roy Cape All-Stars took notice of her single titled Ah Have A Man Already with Third Bass and invited her to join the Roy Cape All-Stars band as one of the lead vocalists. She pursued a solo career briefly, but eventually joined the band Atlantik in late 2002. At Atlantik she forged a successful songwriting partnership with Kernal Roberts (until 2005 inclusive), churning out hits such as “Whe Yuh Want”, “Negative Vibes” and “Bonnie & Clyde”. In 2003 Destra released her first album Red, White, Black which included her hit duet “It’s Carnival” with fellow Soca artist Machel Montano.’
We caught up with the busy songstress on her recent trip to Atlanta. Before she mesmerized the sold out audience at her concert, we had to ask….how do you it all?
How do you continue to thrive as a powerful woman in a male dominated industry?
- I pretend that I am man. Honestly, it is hard and the infrastructure is set up when females tend to get less respect. When new male artistes burst onto the scene they get more recognition and attention than female artistes. To succeed as a female artiste, Destra believes in staying focused and no-nonsense when it comes to the work but even that has its short-comings. Many times, a focused approach comes with labels like b**tch and diva. What can we do? Destra blames Eve for eating that apple.
How do you balance life as a mother and the Queen of Bacchanal?
- It is not easy. Destra has heard stories from many of her industry peers who talk about some of the things they yearned for in their youth. She does not want the same for her daughter. As hard as it may be she commits to being as present as possible as a mother. Before leaving for Atlanta she got Xaiya ready for school. She credits her support system of primarily her mother and sister for maintaining a sense of normalcy when she is travelling or on tour. She also carves out time for regular calls or video chats. In her own words, it is not ideal and balance is not really that attainable but for an artistes who loves her fans as much as she loves her family, she finds a way to make it work. When I am home I am mummy 100%.
Why do you think soca music has not received global recognition yet?
- Destra thinks the lack of a unique identity is one of the factors plaguing soca’s global recognition. She thinks some people may not be able to identify what soca really is. As a benchmark, she mentions musical genres like reggae, jazz and reggaeton who all have similar beats and patterns that ties them together. Soca, however, has many niches within the niche such as groovy soca, Island Pop, Chutney Soca to name but a few. It is hard to classify the music and market it successfully. Destra thinks one step in the right direction is for the artistes to find a palatable version and then forge a united front take it to the larger global community.
What is next for the Queen of Bacchanal?
- More touring. Destra has a very strategic approach to releasing her music now. She understands that having a presence in
- Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival is necessary for brand building because it is the soca mecca of the world. However, because of it, Carnival season also tends to be saturated with new music. Destra has chosen the approach of being selective about her Carnival releases while keeping a long term vision of building her catalog and releasing new music throughout the year. She is also looking forward to more musical collaborations with various soca artistes that she feels she can fuse musical styles with and create a sound she is looking for.
How have you been recovering from your recent injury?
- In August 2017, Destra hurt her ankle in a freak accident that caused her to fall off the stage. She has since been working towards recovery and taking the process in stride. Some days are better than others, but, Destra is committed to delivering her best to her fans whenever she can and is willing to go through some minor discomfort to do so. We can testify, ‘de woman set the stage on FIRE in Atlanta’. Stay tuned for some performance clips.
Video Taping: Dirk Christiani | Video Editing: Bronson Blair of Prothro Production
SOUND OFF: What’s your favorite song from the Queen of Bachannal?
MISSION: To elevate the brand of Caribbean culture in the fields of MUSIC, BUSINESS and the ARTS by celebrating the work of cultural ambassadors while advocating for upcoming Caribbean talent1.