Caleb Hinds, 13, of Marabella looks to calypsonian Weston Rawlins (Cro Cro) for inspiration, and hopes to become a Calypso Monarch winner like him.
“I like his attitude towards the stage, his diction and stage performance, how he moves around. I like his song Respect the King,” Caleb said.
Caleb, a Form Three student at St Benedict’s College, La Romaine has tasted victory in the National Action Cultural Committee Emancipation Calypso Competition 2017, last month, taking first place in the 17 and Under category with his song, We Were Not Slaves. But this was not his first time in the limelight.
In 2012 he entered the National Junior Calypso Competition; the San Fernando Junior Monarch in 2015; the Barrackpore Junior Monarch in 2016 and 2017; and the Gasparillo Junior Calypso Competition and St Benedict’s Junior Calypso Competition in 2016.
At age six, Caleb often watched his older brother, Joshua singing and became interested in calypso. “He started singing a year before me and I was inspired by how he was singing and I just wanted to get into it.” From then he began composing his own songs with the help of his father Deryck Hinds.
Caleb sees himself pursuing a future in calypso, but he would also like a career as a neurosurgeon - a doctor who sings calypso.
“I would like to become a neurosurgeon and join Young Kings when I get older,” and he keeps his eyes set on his goals. He sees himself at Oxford University in the future pursuing his medical degree. “I want to get a scholarship in medicine.”
He ensures that performing in competitions does not distract him from his studies. “If I have a calypso competition I would spend like one to two days rehearsing and the rest of time is for academics,” especially during examination time.
He looks to his father as a mentor and coach. Describing the writing process, his father said, “He writes, I write and I help him with the performance.” Caleb gives the songs a teenage point of view. His mother, Ferica, and his aunt help him with diction. He said, “My father helps me with preparations, my mother and my aunt help me pronounce the words… and my brother gives me encouragement and my family all work together to help me.”
So what is his favourite part about singing calypso?
“My favourite part is performing, letting everyone know what I’m about. Every song I sing has a good message, like stop the crime.” And although there are challenging aspects too, he takes it in stride. “The hardest part is memorising the songs but I get it done. I just keep pumping it and pumping it.”
Caleb noted that many teenagers are not interested in calypso, but suggested that if the themes for the songs were more interesting many more teenagers may be involved in it. He encourages younger calypsonians to stay focused in their journey, saying “Pay more attention to what is going on in the community, stay away from bad things and have your plan or aim. Just go for it.”