Kevin Lyttle Reveals Secrets To Thriving in the Soca Business
Kevin Lyttle continues to pioneer for soca music and the Caribbean with his music and business ventures.
He has a piercing voice, a signature style and a business minded approach to his craft. Those are just a few of the contributing factors to Kevin Lyttle’s decades of success in the music business. Back in 2001, the artiste from St. Vincent & the Grenadines recorded a song that is now recognized as the number one dance hall song of the 21st century. Throughout that time, he has dedicated himself to honing his craft, learning the business side of the music industry, setting up a strong supportive team and making wise business investments as he continues to build a strong brand for himself.
He boasts many awards and accolades including being the number song in the UK with his 2003 remix of Turn Me On with Spragga Benz. The song spent seven weeks on the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. It eventually became a worldwide hit in 2004, reaching number 4 in the United States, number 3 in Australia and placing within Top 5 in many European countries* (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Lyttle). These successes opened the doors for global recognition of Caribbean music and specifically soca music.
We caught up with Kevin Lyttle at the Atlanta Caribbean Jerk Festival and got some insights and secrets to his success in the industry. Check it out!
Video by Walter Drayton of Walter Drayton Photography
What does it mean for you to be the ambassador for St Vincent & the Grenadines?
- For Kevin it is a big deal. Not many people from his island get the honor so he does not take the privilege lightly and is committed to making meaningful contributions with it. He uses his success from his music to further the brand of his country and by extension the Caribbean.
How did you build on the momentum from ‘Turn Me On’ to continue to build your brand internationally?
- For Kevin, the process required a lot of sweat and tears. Over the years, he took the time to learn the music business and surround himself with people who understood it better than him. He recognized that he did not have the volume of hits that some other international artists may have had so he focused on maximizing the revenue streams that came from his success. He focused on the business side of music and made strategic moves and business investments to achieve the goal.
How did you develop the skills?
- Kevin kept pushing himself outside his comfort zone. He surrounded himself with people who knew the business better than him, he read books and learnt the business. His wife (also his manager) also played an instrumental role in educating him about the music business as well.
How did you put the right team in place to support your brand-building?
- It was a process of lots of trial and error for Kevin. He kept moving the pieces until he had people in place who would stay for the long haul. Amongst a slew of people who oversold their skills, he developed discernment on who was there to make a quick dollar and who were there to actually work.
What do you do to help younger artists to master their craft?
- Kevin uses his record label to create opportunities for younger artists. He also uses his partnerships to put on concerts and create opportunities. Kevin partnered with Caribbean village to put on shows. Kevin also has a charity focused on heart disease, established in his mother’s name as an additional effort to give back to the community.
What do we need to do differently to take soca global?
- Kevin believes we have already reached the goal of pushing soca global using his song s an example. The success of any person from the Caribbean is the success of every person from the Caribbean in his opinion. He believes our new focus should be on KEEPING it global. He believes there is a large opportunity because Caribbean music is the most consumed business in the world and soca specifically generates $1 billion a year. Kevin believes if artistes educate themselves and that if the Caribbean, in general, takes the entertainment industry more seriously and focus on the different revenue streams available that our success is guaranteed.
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.