Having supportive parents can go a long way in shaping a child’s future. Jeromy Rodriguez can testify to this.
At age 16, the soca artiste who also championed the Anti-Bullying Association after one of his sisters became a victim, is well on his way to achieving his heart’s desire of becoming a performer and music producer, just like his father, Junior “Ibo” Joseph.
Jeromy has performed as an individual and with the the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation’s (TUCO) Junior Roving Caravan, and has shared the spotlight with leading soca stars such as Machel Montano and Neil “Iwer” George. He was also featured on a remake of Montano’s I love My Country.
Ibo, well known music producer from Embacadere, San Fernando, has been providing the opportunities to ensure his talented son carves his niche in the entertainment business. He is ably supported by Jeromy’s mom, Ivonne Rodriguez-Joseph, a composer. She has also been the backbone of Jeromy’s anti-bullying campaign initiated some five years ago. Earnings from his soca success were used to fund the campaign to stop bullying in schools.
After being off the competitive grid for a couple of years as he concentrated on his academic studies, the 2013 and 2014 Junior Soca Monarch has bounced back with a groovy soca number called, Mr Mischief.
It has been receiving a fair amount of airplay on main stream radio stations and the response is encouraging, he said.
Jeromy is hoping this offering will take him to the finals of the junior and International Soca Monarch competitions, although the staging of these two shows hang in the balance due to cutbacks in financial support from Government.
It’s the only two competitions the form five student of Cowen Hamilton Secondary School, Princes Town has set his sights on for 2018. His focus is on writing his CXC examinations in June. His schedule includes attending school, extra lessons on evenings, performing, being an anti-bullying advocate and motivational speaker, spokesman for a recycling company and participating in TUCO workshops.
Jeromy has selected a combination of eight subjects in the modern studies category, which includes Spanish, music and Electronic Documentation Preparation Management (EDPM). He explained his choice of academics combined with skills subjects (music and EDPM). Although he is not preparing for failure, being a realist Jeromy wants to ensure that wherever his path leads him, he would succeed.
“I want to have something to fall back on if I fall short in one area,” he said.
Mr Mischief, produced by Advokit Productions, was mixed (vocals and additional back-up) at Dancin Dread Studios owned by his father. Jeromy wrote the lyrics along with Dale Ryan who is credited with conceptualising the idea after observing the reaction of audiences to Jeromy’s performances.
“Every where I go and people see me perform and the comment is always, ‘yeah that is Mr Mischief’ because I always mashing up the place,” the always smiling singer said. “When Dale came up with the idea I thought it was good and we went along with it and Mr Mischief was born.”
Post-Carnival and after his CXC exams, Jeromy wants to continue his anti-bullying campaign which has yielded positive results.
“I will continue touring different schools and spreading the message to end bullying. I am working on creating a number of projects but nothing is finalised yet.
“Come September, I am hoping to continue into sixth form to do CAPE. I want to continue pursuing studies in visual and performing arts because this is my future direction.”
Jeromy,who plays the piano, guitar and pan, is also pursuing private music studies and is at grade three level.
“I love the music and the entertainment business. I love drama and anything along those lines as well. Dad helps me with my music. I look up to him in that aspect and try to learn from him. Both my parents are actively involved in supporting my dream,” he said.
“They have been really influential in my life, especially in my music career. When nobody believed in me the were the ones who believed in me. They say that I had that potential from small and kept pushing me to where I am today.”
Ibo expressing pride in his son’s accomplishment said Jeromy is fortunate to have the freedom to have a facility to record.
“There are a lot of youths out there who are really interested in music but they face the challenge of having to pay for production and for writer and so on. His mom writes and I produce, he has the talent, so he is in a very fortunate position.”
Pondering that there are also many talented youths but they lack the ambition, Ibo said not so with his son. “Not him. You tell him jump and he ready to jump. He is not laid back. He likes it, he knows what he wants to do. He knows about the sacrifice and he will make it.”
He said he envisages Jeromy being one of the top artistes not only in TT but internationally.
“Because music is not like long time. Because of the internet, this global village we live in, it is so easy to connect and communicate you never know how far your song could reach.”