Mr. Killa Withdraws From International Soca Monarch 2020

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Mr Killa has bowed out of the International Power Soca Monarch competition, leaving the way clear for a new champion to emerge, the Trinidad & Tobago Newsday reports.

The Grenadian soca artiste, Hollice Mapp, became the first non-national to win the Power Soca crown in 2019 with his massive hit, Run Wid It.

He hoped to defend his title this year with Soca Storm. However, he said his decision to withdraw was because he had not received the courtesies deserving of a defending monarch from the new management of Caribbean Prestige Foundation (CPF), organisers of the International Soca Monarch (ISM) competitions – Power Soca and Groovy Soca.

CPF appointed entertainment management specialist Simon Baptiste as the creative director of ISM after Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez stepped down as chairman of the organisation last month.

Baptiste told Sunday Newsday he was shocked to learn Mr Killa had pulled out of the finals, mere days after he agreed to meet with him.

He is a phenomenal showman, his absence will hurt but it will not take away from the competition, Baptiste said.

He said he spoke with Mr Killa’s manager Brad Hemmings, last Tuesday, and agreed to meet with him today. The meeting was postponed to Wednesday, the day the finalists are to draw for their performance positions for finals on February 21.

Mr Killa, in a statement on social media, said he would not compete in the finals because he had not received the “courtesies” deserving of a defending monarch from the new ISM management.

“I have not received any of the courtesies or protocol one would expect to be extended to the current titleholder. My presence on the island has been well-known as a result of a press conference organised by my management.

“Furthermore, my team and I have been deprived of the details and tools necessary for me to properly prepare for my performance. As it is commonly known, I give nothing less than 100% for each and every performance and my team and I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that it will not be possible to do so in this year’s competition.”

CPF director Geoffrey Wharton-Lake said if Mr Killa is not desirous of defending his crown that is his prerogative but was sorry he would not do so.

In response to Mr Killa’s complaint about “lack of information,” Wharton-Lake said he knew nothing and that and had no information to give nonetheless.

However, Hemmings said his client requested basic information, including who is the sound production company, which he did not receive up until the time of his statement on Saturday. He said Mapp requested this information since his arrival in TT early January. At the time Lyons-Alvarez was still chairman of ISM but stepped down citing a lack of preparedness by CPF.

Mr Killa said he could identify with Lyons-Alvarez’s reason for breaking ties with CPF quoting a statement she made about not having “the tools or anything to do the event” to produce a show fans would deserve. “My team and I have had a similar experience and we have chosen not to compromise my performance or the expectations of the fans,” he added.

Asked how much time Mr Killa needed to prepare since he was scheduled to meet with Baptiste, Hemmings said he could not say.

“All questions they asked were answered. The logistical questions were answered. I could not say who the sound company was, I don’t know, I know Nigel Brizan is the sound engineer for the night,” Baptiste said.

Baptiste, Hemmings and Wharton-Lake said they did not hear a social media voice note which claimed Mr Killa withdrew from the competition because his song, Soca Storm, was not getting sufficient airplay and he did not have many bookings.

Hemmings said the voice note was concerning to him.

Baptiste claimed Mr Killa and his team were upset that he was not included in the semifinals which took place at Arima Velodrome, last Sunday. Defending monarchs do not perform in the early round of the competition.

Baptiste said part of the conversation he had with Hemmings last Tuesday and believed there are “other things going on” that contributed to Mr Killa’s decision.

“Personally him pulling out made me sad and depressed.”

Baptiste said the information regarding the stage and sound for the finals were still being addressed since the venue, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, is due to host two other events days before.

“I would like to think that he would change his mind. He is a fierce competitor who has excellent showmanship,” Baptiste said, adding he remains positive and dedicated to do the job he was hired for.

Mr Killa said winning the competition as a non-national was not only a personal achievement but was good for soca.

“This was impactful … for the genre as it heralded that soca music had finally been embraced as an international product that had expanded beyond the shores of its birthplace.”

Wishing ISM, the new management and competitors well, Mr Killa said he will return his “focus to continuing to record, release and perform quality soca music to the best of my ability.”

Mr Killa first made news this season when during a press conference on January 13, he took aim at former health minister Dr Fuad Khan for comments he made linking men’s violent behaviour toward women to soca music.

Mr Killa said in past years, soca had not existed, yet men had killed women.

He said people in this society were now subject to many stresses, apart from any influence from soca.

“Soca helps you to relax. Soca is medicine.”

This story has been updated, the original story is published below.

Mr Killa has bowed out of the International Power Soca Monarch competition, leaving the way clear for a new champion.

The Grenadian soca artiste, Hollice Mapp, became the first non-national to win the Power Soca crown in 2019 with his massive hit, Run Wid It. He hoped to defend his title this year with Soca Storm.

However, he said his decision to withdraw was because he had not received the “courtesies” deserving of a defending monarch from the new management of Caribbean Prestige Foundation, organisers of the competition. CPF appointed entertainment management specialist Simon Baptiste as the creative director of the competition, after Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez stepped down as chairman of the organisation last month.

“Since arriving in Trinidad and Tobago over a month ago, I have not received any of the courtesies or protocol one would expect to be extended to the current title holder. My presence on the island has been well-known as a result of a press conference organised by my management,” Mr Killa said in a statement posted on social media.

“Furthermore, my team and I have been deprived of the details and tools necessary for me to properly prepare for my performance. As it is commonly known, I give nothing less than 100% for each and every performance and my team and I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that it will not be possible to do so in this year’s competition.”

Mr Killa said he could identify with Lyons-Alvarez’s reason for breaking ties with CPF quoting a statement she made about not having “the tools or anything to do the event” to produce a show fans would deserve.”My team and I have had a similar experience and we have chosen not to compromise my performance or the expectations of the fans,” said Mr Killa.

“I will always cherish my historic 2019 competition which resulted in me becoming the first non Trinibagonian to win the International Power Soca Monarch title. This was impactful not just for me personally but for the genre as it heralded that soca music had finally been embraced as an international product that had expanded beyond the shores of its birthplace of Trinidad and Tobago. “I sincerely wish the best for the ISM, its new chairman and the remaining competitors, but I have no choice than to refrain from this competition and instead return my focus to continuing to record, release and perform quality soca music to the best of my ability.”

During a press conference on January 13, Mr Killa took aim at former health minister Dr Fuad Khan for comments he made linking men’s violent behaviour toward women to soca music.
Mapp rejected Khan’s reasoning, saying, Did he smoke?

“You never hear a soca saying to beat someone or kill anybody. I don’t know how he made a connection.”

Mapp said in past years, soca had not existed, yet men had killed women.

He said people in this society were now subject to many stresses, apart from any influence from soca.

“Soca helps you to relax. Soca is medicine.”