On first glance you might mistake him for an unassuming millennial who would rather chill and listen to some light music as opposed to commanding a venue filled with thousands of people while breaking down a band and counting down in beats the amount of time remaining before he sends his audience in a frenzy.
Meet Kerim Crown Calixte, a proud member of the new blood and sound of Soca and Calypso in Saint Lucia. Crown whose stage name can be found on his legal birth certificate began taking music seriously while in secondary school. He admitted to always having a keen interest in the arts, specifically singing, but had difficulties mustering up the confidence to do so. However, his mother, who recognized his gift, enrolled him into the Saint Lucia School of Music program where he did a few semesters of vocal training under the tutelage of Mrs. Lucien.
It was there that he would be exposed to a bit more than just vocal exercises and technics; Mrs. Lucien would encourage Crown to test himself and build his confidence by taking part in the Secondary School’s Calypso competition. “Mrs. Lucien encouraged me to take part in the competition not just for the exposure but to also build up my self-confidence”, Crown remembered. Crown decided instead to join his school’s choir and soon he found his way to his community’s church choir where he sang Psalms for a while.
“During my time with my Secondary School choir, we took part in the Secondary School’s Choir Festival and placed first,” Crown said of the accomplishment that still puts a smile on his face to this day. The victory was a proud moment for him and his school mates from the Vieux Fort comprehensive and was just the experience he needed to overcome his inhibitions of performing in front of a massive audience.
It didn’t take long before he took up the challenge and entered the Inter-Secondary School Junior Calypso Competition. New to the scene, Crown, with full support from his peers (as it was a first for the school as well) gave quite a performance and secured third place overall. Proud with his first time accomplishment, he would again compete at the Junior level (where he placed third for a second time) before graduating into the big league.
The once bashful student was on his way to becoming the entertainer he always envisaged. “I joined with the South Calypso Tent and with help from my father, Face Calixte who wrote for me in my first year I made it to the semi-finals in the National Calypso competition.” (all you millennials look up the legend that is Face Calixte by the way) Although on his first attempt, Crown didn’t qualify for the finals, he was invited to perform during the finals, and was dubbed an upcoming star in the Calypso arena.
The young performer ever since gaining the invaluable experience that performing on a Calypso stage offers has gone on to release a plethora of Soca, Patriotic and Christmas singles. His ambitions and sights are now set on becoming the island’s next Soca Monarch. He has a passion for the Groovy Afro Soca genre and admits that’s his main focus this year.
Crown is the first to admit he is far from the finished product as he continues to learn about the music industry every day. Crediting Mr. So Famous for giving him his first recording, “Pirate”, he has since gone on to recording with other production houses producing singles such as “Fete on Mi Mind”, “Don’t Spoil My Day”, “Stop Running Down the Girls”, “Worst Behaviour” and “H2o” to name a few. He also collaborated with longtime friend Stephan on the Independence 40 track “That so Lucian” produced and recorded at Islands’ audio Lab. The single didn’t award them the top spot but was well received by the general public which Crown admits was equally fulfilling.
With this year’s Carnival season already upon us, Crown has not eased off the gas pedal and continues to push the big truck down the road. He has already released two singles (Who Run the Road featuring Cooyah and Making Noise) both enjoying extensive airplay. He confirmed that he has another single on the way entitled “Woman Run the Town” and has promised the ladies “are going to love it”.
Still getting his feet wet in the Soca arena, Crown is confident and focused. I recon it will be just a matter of time before Crown is wearing the Crown of the Soca Kingdom, here and abroad.