When Shivan R (Shivan Ragoonath) made it to this year’s chutney soca monarch finals, it was part of the attainment of a dream for him. But as Carnival gets closer he hopes to take things further and cement himself as one of the TT’s top entertainers.
This year, Shivan R and Slammer Cutter (Stephon Mark) made it to the finals of Chutney Soca Monarch with Ah Doh Mine She. When he visited Newsday he said, “Last year making it the first step, actually signing up for Chutney Soca Monarch and reaching the finals...that alone was a great achievement for myself and Slammer.”
The pair have collaborated another song for 2018 called She Husband Money. The song was released on November 16. Although the gigs are tough with TT’s current economic situation, Ragoonath said the songs done by both him and Slammer Cutter are solely for their love of music.
“The recession is not going to stop us from the love of our music. We work together, we talk together, we sit and figure out how we’re going to budget ourselves and at the end of the day, we’re still trying to work our way and deal with promoters and deal with them in a way we can actually get back something,” he said.
This year’s song takes a different perspective. “Basically it is telling you she has her husband, is married to him and when she husband leaves to go to work. She uses his money to spend it on me,” he said with a laugh.
Both Slammer Cutter and Shivan R began working on the song from as early as May. The song was produced by Maha productions. While Shivan R works on a traditional East Indian song called Reshma for 2018, the artistes overall aim is to reach further than he did.
He said, “Our whole aim for 2018 is that we go higher than where we were. We want to keep the quality going. For this song, She Husband Money, we are getting a lot more positive response from supporters, family, and friends."
Whether the song tops competition or not is not what it is about for Shivan R. “We are not sure to make it back. We don’t think that way. Our music is based on love and to please the people who support us.” Shivan R also toured this year for the first time, performing at two shows during Caribana, Toronto, Canada. This is where Shivan R believes the future of the industry is going. He also believes that instead of having yearly competitions songs showed be done that would have longevity and penetrate the international market.
Ultimately for Shivan R, “My career is not only about singing chutney soca but my career is also about singing traditional chutney. I am just trying to push myself to be a part of all different types of music.”