“The quote is, ‘Nothing is constant but change’. That’s what I’m learning more and more with life every day,” says Patrice Millien, the creative and technical mind behind creative agency A Millien Concepts. Described as a “hub of talent sprinkled with creativity, passion, and a love for design, strategy, and production”, most of the company’s work centres on the process of creating and producing content for a variety of media platforms.
“Music is something that is very inherent in me because of the background of my family; my father, brother, sister. It’s something in our blood,” she shares. “That’s why a lot of the productions that we do centre around music or are based in a foundation of music; it’s something I have a natural affinity to.”
A Millien Concepts is also the production house behind the all too popular UNCOVERED series – originally a web series that focused on little-known musical talent performing acoustic covers of modern groovy soca hits.
Not only did the series spawn mini superstars in some of the singers featured, it also gave innumerable creatives, such as musicians, photographers, graphic designers, fashion designers, makeup artists, producers, videographers, editors, creative writers, decorators, and lighting specialists the opportunity to put their skillset to work on a production that was being widely viewed and critically praised by the TT public. It is such exposure of young artists that Patrice says was always fundamental to UNCOVERED’s culture.
The web series had a meteoric landing – clicks were aplenty and through contemporary word-of-mouth social media sharing, the series would soon be on everyone’s lips.
There’s no denying that even at its inception four years ago, UNCOVERED was a masterful piece of contemporary local culture – beautifully shot with fresh prodigious up-and-comers both on and off camera, with the hook of stripped down soca classics, some even sweeter than the original recordings.
Since Patrice created the series, the UNCOVERED brand has expanded its scope. A Millien Concepts has produced Christmas specials and a live Christmas concert, a soca “riddim”, an UNCOVERED TV show, and live TV specials under the brand’s ever-expanding umbrella. All the while, the ever-popular web series continued production and had its Season 4 premiere in August of this year, featuring even more young musicians delivering their renditions of soca songs.
But Patrice explains that the series was primarily started as a passion project – one that had not been done before on the scale A Millien Concepts had imagined. And while focusing on soca covers has brought in the views, she reveals that there are financial constraints that are wrapped up in producing online content with copyrighted material.
“One of the lessons I’ve learned is what gives you a lot of views isn’t necessarily financially viable,” she says of the embedded copyright fees attached to music covers that are produced for online consumption. With the shifting economy and sponsorship cutbacks, she says there have been winds of change brewing for UNCOVERED.
This past October, A Millien Concepts hosted a four-part live concert series at Kaiso Blues Café – a new step in the evolution of the foundation of work she has laid over the past four years. She now hopes that the UNCOVERED brand’s strength can translate to live talent showcases, and says this will be the direction A Millien Concepts takes UNCOVERED in 2018, alongside Kaiso Blues Café, a space synonymous with featuring young artists and giving them platforms to reach audiences.
“The goal has been to diversify what A Millien Concepts is known for,” she says of her company’s continuous expansion. “I think everyone knows us from UNCOVERED but the ultimate goal was to shift from that one project to be known for doing a series of productions.”
One such alternative production by A Millien Concepts is the series Bringing to the Stage. “It’s more a live component of talent showcase,” she explains, “and gives opportunity to amateur talents who want to get that experience of performing on a stage with a mic to an audience.”
While UNCOVERED’s popularity was firstly rooted in its dynamic and sultry soca covers, Patrice thinks the public is hungry for a change. “[The series] has given us a foot in and given people a chance to see what our quality of production and standards of work are like,” she explains, adding that while a fresh concept in 2014, acoustic covers to soca songs have now become somewhat the norm.
Although her plan is to shift A Millien Concept’s attention to live acts and helping other creatives conceptualise and bring their own projects to fruition, she does see a future for the UNCOVERED web series, but with a tinge of change.
“If we do get the financial backing to continue producing the web series, it will be something completely different. We would focus on creating more original content and music,” she comments on shedding the formula of soca song covers. Some may consider this a sad departure, but Patrice is looking forward with bright eyes.
“It started off as a web series, now it’s a movement; it’s a brand that people know and follow because of what it represents. At the core of it, that’s what I want it to always be known for: talent showcasing. In whatever form it may take now,” she says of the brand’s carrying power after years of solid production value and bringing new artists into the welcoming arms of fans.
She admits she’s had a lot of ups and downs and mixed feelings about the series: a “tumultuous” road at times, travelling with work that started as a creative and fun passion project that in turn forced her to figure out how to extend its production into a business venture.
“I can say my proudest moment is where I’m at now to be able to say UNCOVERED has done this for us. Because we have a following and attention is being paid to our young, talented population, we can now venture into doing other projects.
“As hard as this year was, it’s happened for a reason and now we can capitalise on the company doing more productions.”
You can check out the work of UNCOVERED and A Millien Concepts on Facebook and YouTube.