KRIS “KI” PERSAD learnt a lot about the music business from his father, Veerendra Persad. In fact, KI described his father as a “leader” telling Newsday, “I was taught from small you have one chance at life and it is up to you if you want to be a part of the system or be a leader.”
Adopting the leadership role set for him by his father, KI has gone on to accomplish big things being a three-time Chutney Soca Monarch. He has recently added another accomplishment to his list, being the owner/director of Lime 101.7FM. He has given TT one of its more recent popular phrases, “I go be single forever,” and has his own band, ki&theband.
As Carnival approaches, he is adding to his growing repertoire and successes. He has released two songs for Carnival 2019 so far, with many more set to be released. Among them is one with Dwayne “DJ” Bravo and a surprise regional artiste.
“Bravo came home one evening, we sat down, we spoke, we had some fun, wrote and shared ideas. It is just to meet up and record it now.”
His two releases so far are called No Disrespect and Natasha. No Disrespect was produced by Dwayne “Dwaingerous” Antrobus, who is also Machel Montano’s keyboardist.
KI described it as being a mix of soca with zouk (a form of French West Indian music blending African rhythms, reggae, calypso, and electronic dance music).
“It is just about (a man) going into a party and walking by himself and he wanted to borrow somebody else’s date for the night,” he added.
And his chutney soca Natasha, released on November 9, tells the story of him being placed in an arranged marriage and his mother choosing the wrong woman.
The band, in its current incarnation as ki&theband, was once known as JMC Triveni and Triveni Brass in the 90s, is one of the first ever crossover bands in TT, KI said.
He promised new songs as well from the band’s other members. The band, now in its third year as ki&theband, features the reigning Chutney Soca Monarch Neval Chatelal.
As the band’s frontliners, Chatelal and KI have been friends since 1995.
“We have some more soca and another chutney in collaboration with one of the anchors for my radio station. His name is Veekash Sahadeo. He works drive time from 3 pm to 6 pm from Monday to Friday also from 10 am to 2 pm on a Saturday.
“He is a super-talented singer and Chutney Soca finalist multiple times. The song is entitled Chantel,” KI said.
KI co-produced, co-wrote and sang on the Chantel track as well. For the first time, he produced his own song (Natasha) at the family’s Kingdom Song studio in Toronto, Canada.
These are just some of the plans he and ki&theband have in train as Carnival 2019 ambles along. He and his father also have even greater plans for 101.7FM.
Recalling how the radio station came about, KI said, “Ever since I joined the band, I have been telling him ‘In the future, you’ve taught me so much and I learnt so much from being around a crossover band, being exposed to all the cultures of TT, that one day I would love to be able to have an influence as to what is being played on a frequency that is very important in TT...’”
That was a dream for many years. Then KI and his father began talking about it more seriously last year.
“We were talking about come Ash Wednesday, many stations (it’s wonderful what they do, they preserve culture as well), stop the soca come Ash Wednesday. They stop the chutney soca come Ash Wednesday and more so, trickle it in coming from September until they do their switch for Carnival.
“All of that is brilliant. Their format works for them and has been successful for them.
“I, however, at this point in time, felt I was at a place where I have paid a lot of dues thus far and I was in a position to say, you know what, I think this is what should be played for people who would enjoy my format of radio.”
Then they found out that Hans Hanoomansingh’s Heritage Radio 101.7 FM was on automation at the time.
“It was 95 per cent automated. He had a small bit of live programming and we said it would not hurt to ask what is going on and what are his plans. And what could happen with the frequency. We don’t know how it works. What happens with TATT (Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago), what is the procedure to get it. Can we purchase it. Can you not?”
The father-son duo then began “asking questions and doing research.” They then contacted Hanoomansingh and requested a meeting which they got the day after the initial contact.
“Went over to his place, sat down and presented our idea to him. Upon presenting he said, ‘I’ll give you guys a call back. Let me think about it’.”
There were also “a handful of people” bidding to see if Hanoomansingh would release the station for use by someone else. This began in March last year, KI said, “there were some hurdles and it took us a bit more than half a year. And there was some great interest from other parties. And they had nice offers as well and it just took us some time to close our offer and make it the one that he went with.
“And that took a bit more than half a year and on October 18 last year we received an e-mail from Mr Hanoomansingh and we met with him the following Friday.”
It took them from then, until their first broadcast on January 30 this year at 3 pm, to get the station up and running.
So Lime 101.7FM was born. For KI and his father Lime represents “Live In the Moment Everyday.”
“The station was supposed to depict and reflect who we are as a people and that being said, come Ash Wednesday I am not going to switch to anything else. We are playing everything for all over the world.”
He added that the station plays “everything from top 40 to dancehall, soca, Latin, old, chutney and popular Indian music people love to listen to. We are an urban mix station.”
In its ten months’ existence, KI said the station has been “doing great.”
He said it has been able to attract “many corporate clients” as well as new clients.
It “tested the waters,” he said, by having its first event called The White Oak Ultimate Lime and by only advertising on air and through its Facebook page. The August 26 event drew a crowd of close to 10,000 people, he said, at the Eco Park, St Helena.
He intends for this to be one of the frequency’s annual events and to have a number of events such as road shows and competitions.
But as KI adds to the list of things he’s done, like his father who was instrumental in starting chutney soca in TT, he wants to be a leader and pioneer for his son, Krys Ayan Persad.