by Cheyenne Raine
Originating in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1970’s, Soca music was created by Trinidadian artist Garfield Blackman, also known as “Lord Shorts or Ras Shorty I”.
Blackman created the genre and incorporated elements of Calypso, the Indo-Caribbean musical genre Chutney, and traditional African beats to represent the diversity of Trinidadian culture.
Starting in the Early 2000’s, the sound of Soca music began to change and artists started to incorporate new beats, creating a new wave of Soca artists including Bunji Garlin, Kevin Lyttle, and Rupee who have seen some success on mainstream radio.
In recent years, the 2018 and 2019 Carnival seasons were amazing years for Soca music that has allowed the younger generation of artists to get their songs at the top of the Soca charts whilst gaining new fans in the process.
Here is a look at the Top 5 emerging Soca artists that will bring the genre to a whole new level.
Born in Germany, Nessa Preppy moved to Trinidad at an early age where she was exposed to Trinidadian music and culture. She started her career as a model working for local designers and then moved into acting in local productions. Her Soca music career began in 2012 with her first song “Turn Up The Sound”.
Ever since her initial debut, Preppy has released vibrant music for the annual Trinidad Carnival season. To this day, the singer has collaborated with numerous Soca artists over the years including Orlando Octave, Kerwin Du Bois, Machel Montano and many more.
In 2018, Preppy had a breakout moment with her hit song “Tingo” which was written by herself alongside Soca Banton, Full Blown Entertainment and produced by London Future. “Tingo” was such a success that it allowed Preppy to begin traveling internationally to perform at shows in cities including Toronto, New York, and Miami.
The 2019 Soca season has been the most successful year for Preppy, as her massive hit “Issa Snack” which was written by herself and Soca Banton, and produced by Travis World has reached over 3 million views on YouTube, also receiving attention from radio stations such as Hot 97 in New York.
“Issa Snack” has opened several doors for Nessa Preppy and even received the remix treatment by Jamaican-American artist HoodCelebrityy and veteran Soca sensation Machel Montano.
Nailah Blackman is a Trinidadian Soca singer and songwriter who also happens to be the granddaughter of the late Ras Shorty I, the creator of the genre.
Since Soca music runs in her family, Blackman grew up around the musical influences of Soca and Calypso music. From a young age, she was vocally trained and learned to play many instruments including the guitar and piano.
In 2017, Blackman broke out into the Soca scene with her hit single “Workout” with popular Soca group Kes the Band. “Workout” was written by Blackman, Xone, Mical Williams, Anson Soverall, Preedy, Kes, and produced by Anson Pro. The song has amassed over 15 million views on YouTube since its initial release.
After the success of “Workout”, 2018 was Blackman’s breakout year as she began to receive international recognition. She was nominated for the “BET International – Viewer’s Choice Best New Artist” Award and was included in an intimate showcase at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
In 2018, the singer had a successful Carnival season with the release and success of her songs “Sokah”, “O Lawd Oye”, and “Baddish” featuring rising Dancehall artist Shenseea.
Currently, Blackman is booked and busy touring and performing her new hit songs “Games” and indisputed fan favourite “Iron Love” which show off the singers intricate vocals.
Erphaan Alves is a Trinidadian artist who began his musical career as a Calypso singer and a successful Soca songwriter before crossing over into the genre.
Alves began his career at an early age competing and winning competitions including Junior Calypso and Junior Soca Monarch competitions. He has also written many Soca songs for some of the biggest artists such as Kes the Band and Machel Montano.
In 2012, Alves’ career began to take off with his song “In Your Eyes” which was featured on the very popular Antilles Riddim, produced by Precisions Productions, and Terrible featuring the Soca King Machel Montano.
In the same year, he won “Best New Male Soca Artist” at the International Soca Monarch Competition. Following this major win, Alves’ next biggest hit was “Come From” on the Jam Band Riddim produced by Precision Productions for the 2015 Trinidad Carnival season. This was his most successful hit up to this point in his career and it received over one million views on YouTube.
In 2018, Alves released his hit song “Overdue” which was produced by Lunatix Productions and has received over 12 million views on YouTube. “Overdue” allowed the singer to break out of the small Soca scene in Trinidad, and gain international attention performing in cities such as Toronto and New York.
Alves is currently working on his #NoSeasons project which is meant to encourage all Soca artists to release new music year-round and not just in the Carnival season. This new project gave us hits including “Lock On” and the sensual “No Habla”.
Sekon Sta isn’t your typical singer-songwriter. Beginning his career before his teens, he is also the son of the late Calypsonian performer Merchant. Immersed in Calypso and Soca culture since birth, Sta was a successful Soca songwriter before attempting to dabble in the genre himself. He has written songs for artists including Alison Hinds and Nadia Batson.
In 2015, Sta arrived on the scene with his song “The Best” on the popular Kan Kan Riddim which was produced by AdvoKit Productions. The song was such a success that it allowed Sta to make it to the Semi Finals of the International Soca Monarch Competition.
Sta saw his breakout year in 2017 with his hit, groovy Soca song “Kings and Queens” which was produced by Mega Mick. “Kings and Queens” placed Sta in the finals for the International Soca Monarch Competition later that year.
Following his success in the previous year, Sta released his single “Ayo Yo” on the popular Folklore Riddim produced by AdvoKit Productions in 2018, which reached over one million views on YouTube.
Currently, Sekon Sta is expanding his career by collaborating with other Soca artists including Soca veteran Patrice Roberts, Nailah Blackman and Erphaan Alves.
Voice started his musical career as a Steel Pan player before transitioning into singing. He broke onto the Soca scene in 2016 with his breakout hit “Cheers to Life” which was produced by Precision Productions.
His first single was such a hit that he won the International Soca Monarch title that year, breaking the record of the youngest winner at just 24-years-old.
He followed his hit single with other successful releases such as “Get Away” and “Outside”, but for the 2017 Carnival season, Voice saw his next hit with “Far From Finished” which earned him his second International Soca Monarch title.
Voice continues to make a name for himself in the Soca world by differentiating himself from other artists with his groovy hits and conscious lyrics. The singer remained on the same path in 2018 with the release of his hit song “Year For Life” on the popular Upendo Riddim which was produced by Nine Mind and Lenkey Records.
He also had a successful collaboration with Soca singer Marge Blackman for their hit “Full of Vibe” which has amassed over 6 million views on YouTube.
For the 2019 Carnival season, Voice was busy with three very successful hit songs. He first saw success with his song “Speechless” with fellow Soca artists such as Teddyson John, Kerwin Du Bois, and Lyrikal.
The singer followed this up with another successful groovy song “Alive and Well” on the popular Osaka Riddim by Precision Productions. If that wasn’t enough, Voice then shocked the Soca world when he released a power soca song “Pandemonium” with Grenadian Soca artist Wuss Ways and Trinidadian producer Travis World which never fails at getting the crowd hype on the road.