Issues of money do not bother Shivan “Shiv R” Ragoonath or Stephon “Slammer Cutter” Mark. Instead, the two-time Chutney Soca Monarch (CSM) finalists are instead focused on delivering their best performance possible at this Saturday’s finals. The duo will perform against nine other finalists at the show, with only one of the reigning monarchs (Omardath Maraj) defending. The other 2017 CSM monarch Ravi “Ravi B” Bissambhar is not defending the title.
At Newsday’s Chacon Street office, Slammer Cutter said, “Personally, Chutney Soca Monarch is one of the world’s greatest shows on one of the world’s largest stages. And, Shivan and I feel honoured to be a part of it.”
The ups and downs which initially affected the show and cast doubt on its happening, coupled with changes to the competition’s prize structure have not changed the duo’s mind in any way.
“Yes, the prize money was reduced, however, that is of no concern to us because we are focused on pleasing our fans and giving people a show. In addition to that, the prize money from fourth to tenth is $35,000 and as up-and-coming artistes you understand that, from a business perspective that you have a minimum of $35,000 to work with.” He said it was a matter of showcasing their talent and getting that out to the world, which is what Chutney Soca Monarch does for artistes like them.
For the duo, these competitions are necessary as well as Government’s financial input in it, since, “they are on an international level and help to boost the artistes and tourist industry.”
“The Government needs to inject funds into our culture because when artistes go out there as brand ambassadors for the country that will help drive business back into the country and that would be beneficial to the Government,” Slammer Cutter said.
They said this is the biggest show they have both competed in. The show is “always on time, pays on time and treats the artistes with respect,” they said.
Although some of the popular songs in the competition have also gained widespread public interest, Slammer and Shivan R said they tend to stay away from politics and, instead, sing songs to make their fans happy.
Slammer Cutter applauded Ravi B’s decision not to defend his crown since it give gave way for younger artistes. “Him stepping aside actually shows his focus and goal in music, at this point, in his life is not only about competition but furthering the culture.”
Slammer Cutter and Shivan R will perform in sixth position tomorrow at Skinner Park, San Fernando. The duo will be performing She Husband Money.
Maraj will defend his crown with Me or My Motor Car remixed with soca artiste Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez. Meanwhile, Ravi B is scheduled to open the show with his sister Nisha B and Karma’s front line singer Gregory Ayuen.
All eyes are expected to be on Nishard Mayrhoo and Neval Chatelal who topped the semi-final round with their hit song Masala while newcomer Vijai Ramkissoon finished a close second with his song Suno More.
Both Kenneth Supersad and Nermal “Massive” Gosein were also big crowd pleasers with their songs Raj and Rowlee Mudda Count, respectively. Nine-time winner Rikki Jai will perform in third position.
The 11 finalists in order of appearance are:-
1. Kenneth Supersad
2. Veejai Ramkissoon
3. Rikki Jai
4. Veekash Sahadeo and Ravi Babooram
6. Shivan R and Slammer Cutter
7. Master Saleem
8. Adesh Samaroo
9. Omardath Maraj
10. Nishard M and Neval Chatelal
11. Massive Gosein