Deshawn Danvy Augustin, has one of the sweetest voices; his honeyed, soothing sound was seemingly made for calypso. Not only is he an outstanding singer, he is also an outstanding performer. The 17-year-old sings from the heart and makes any stage hisown. When he’s off stage, his wide grin can easily be spotted. I first saw Deshawn, then a student of Anse-Ger Secondary School at the National Schools Calypso Competition. He instantly caught my eye and I knew then he was something special. He has participated in a number of other competitions, including the Schools National Solo Singing Competition, Talent Unleashed, Youth Fest Caribbean, and Calypso Monarch.In the interview below, Deshawn tells me about his love for music and more.
YO: Tell us (more) about yourself.
Deshawn: I am from the lively community of Vieux Fort better known as Shanty Town. I started singing in church as any regular person or child, I should say, but I first realized that I really had the talent when I was eight years of age.
YO:Tell us about the competitions you’ve participated in.
Deshawn: I participated in the Schools National Solo Singing Competition from grade three until grade six. During these four years I won three times and was first runner up once in grade six. During my first year at Anse-Ger Secondary School I heard about the National Solo Singing Competition. I was the youngest participant there and walked away with the win in the Secondary Category. Talent Unleashed was a competition held in Soufriere; I took the first runner up spot.
Youth fest Caribbean is a competition Istarted in primary school.I was in the teen’s category and competed five years in a row. These five years were all successful because I won consecutively.
YO: You took a break from the competition?
Deshawn:I said I would take a break and allow some other young person to do what they love and get a shot at winning,but in April 2016 my five sisters and I lost our mother and it was the hardest thing that had ever happened to me. I said I need to sing to mummy one last time and make her proud before she rests fully. I qualified for the finals and I made it my duty to make mummy proud; there I sang her favourite song ‘See You Again’ by West Life.That was the most emotional performance I ever had but again when results came out I was The 2016 YouthFest Caribbean Teens Category winner.
In 2017 I participated again; I stayed at number one, so in all I have competed in the YouthFest Caribbean Competition seven times and was successful every year.
YO: Let’s talk about the National Schools Calypso Competition!
Deshawn: I started Schools Calypso in the year 2016. The former Vice Principal of the Anse-Ger Secondary School Mr.Jean Jeriffe who was also my songwriter asked me if I wanted to try it out and of course I said yes because I love challenges. I went through auditions and again I made it to the finals. Although calypso was new to me I went out there and did my best, unfortunately,I did not win but I was indeed the first runner up. A few days later I got a call asking if I wanted to do guest appearance at the opening show of the South Calypso Tent; I said yes because I wanted the feel of the big stage and indeed it was an awesome experience. All the compliments felt good and different artistes gave me points and tips that I should know about calypso.
In 2017 I took up the challenge again along with my former V.P. and that year I sang the song ‘Not Me’;I did not win but I captured thefirst runner up spot again.
YO: You finally took on the big stage… for ‘real’ this time! Tell us about your experience.
Deshawn:A few weeks later I got a call from my former V.P. He told me that he was going to write me a second song for the National Competition. In my head I was like am I ready for this? Still, I did it and was the youngest to make it through semi-finals. When I made it through I was very excited and nervous at the same time because I was going up against the big names in calypso like Nintus, PEP, Ashanti, Walleigh, Invador and many others, but that did not stop me. I went out there and represented the young and upcoming artistes. Unfortunately I did not make it to the finals but I was very satisfied with my performance. Again in 2018 I went up and sang the songs ‘Ghettos’ and ‘Tetabah’.
The ghetto songs spoke about me being from the ghetto and making the difference; not being on the blocks, smoking and being involved in criminal activities. On the other hand ‘Tetabah’ spoke about our country being upside down. Again I made it to the semi-finals but did not make finals. I was a bit disappointed but I did not make it discourage me. A few days later the most amazing thing happened: I got a call stating that they wanted me to perform at finals .I was excited because it was something I wanted to do and I got the opportunity; my singing life has been here and there but I did not make the disappointments stop me from striving.
YO: Was singing always your first love?
Deshawn: Singing was not my first love. I loved track and field and that was what I wanted to do but back then I was too chubby to even lift my legs to run. It was something I always loved.