“MY name is Sekon Sta because legitimately I am the second star after my father.
"I put the audience first and I have a deep belief in God. I feel as though God first, the legacy first, the people first and then me second. I am but a servant of all of these things.”
This is guiding principle of Nesta “Sekon Sta” Boxill: “Never get too ahead of myself.”
Like other soca stars, he emerged from calypso royalty: he is the son of Dennis Franklyn Williams, also known as the prolific songwriter Merchant.
Like his father, he is also a songwriter and has written for other artistes, among them Nadia Batson, 5Star Akil and Alison Hinds. The 29-year-old artiste, also much like his father, has his own discography including songs such as Aye Yo, Kings and Queens, My Wish and Morning Come.
Although he has been steadily building his repertoire and doing “a lot,” it was not shown much on social media, he said.
This, he said, was because of his upbringing.
“I grew up in La Horquetta, and is just wiser. Either you are the flashiest thing or you’re the man who keeps to himself and keep on moving. I grew up in a very loving community. But discretion is key and it is always wise to not show what you have, because someone will want it more than you. I took it to the extreme and I just used to show nothing at all.”
But he is now under the management of Anson Soverall, who also manages Nailah Blackman and who "made it his duty to ensure that I am shown on social media.”
Sekon Sta performed on November 24 at the wedding of the Prime Minister’s daughter Dr Sonel Rowley who married Stephan Stewart.
“Had it not been for the management I have now, nobody would have known that. I would have just gone and done it and call it a day,” he said during the interview at Newsday’s Pembroke Street, Port of Spain office.
He always felt, “My music always did the talking I did not have to get into any propaganda, any controversy.”
But as his management evolves, so too do his brand offerings. As Carnival 2019 approaches, one of the first events on the Carnival calendar is Sekon Sunday. This is going to be the “first of that franchise of events,” he said. The “ladies' gala” will be held on January 13.
“Sekon Sunday is not my first event. It is the first of that franchise of events, which is going to happen on the second Sunday of every calendar year. So no matter what just know that the second Sunday of every year there is going to be an event.
“The focus on second Sunday is on the ladies. It is a ladies’ gala. The reason why is because when you look at my brand, I am one of the young brands that generally directs their music toward the ladies...if you look at my likes on Instagram, if you look at my following, men generally do not follow me in that way it is generally women.”
It is something he has been playing with for a while, he said.
“I have been a silent partner and a silent investor in a lot of events but I feel it is the time (to have my own show), the music is strong enough, I am strong enough as a brand.”
Sekon Sta has already released three songs for Carnival 2019, with the fourth, Symphony, to be released on December 9. The song is being produced by Grammy award-winning Cayamian producer Jason Gilbert.
Boom, I Swear and My Side, with Patrice Roberts, are some of his offerings for 2019. Sekon Sta records some of his songs at The Hit Lab Studio, in Arima and has worked with producers such as Precision Productions, Jus Now Productions, AdvoKit Productions and Anson Productions to deliver his songs.
Although Sekon Sta’s mother, Ruthlyn Dickson Boxill, tried to pull him away from the industry, when she realised “she just could not help it" she took him to start working with former calypsonian now turned gospel artiste Chris "Tambu" Herbert.
Tambu, he said, honed his “talent and understanding” of calypso as a performer, and that is why he’s never had a problem as a performer nor had a problem engaging the audience.
Besides, Sekon Sta knows that he was “born in calypso.”
“I grew up in calypso. I am calypso. Therefore I am soca. I am child of the soil. I am literally in every single pocket that there is in soca.” He was not always the musician. He studied law from 2008 (though he is not a lawyer) and then began working at the Judiciary from 2012 to 2014. In 2014, when he sang The Best, he left to pursue his full-time career in music.
Having Merchant as his father allowed him to have conversations with some of calypso’s greats, Shadow among them. He also grew up around calypso tents, seeing SuperBlue, Ronnie McIntosh and Machel Montano.
“Soca is a part of me. It is a part of my blood. I did not choose this I was born for this. I can’t do anything else. I would be wasting my time. This is all I can do now.”
Asked about his father’s influence on his songwriting skills, Sekon Sta recalled, “I went to him and I said, 'Could you write me a song?' and he said, ‘When I pass away,’ because at that point in time he already had HIV/Aids.
“'When I pass away will you come to the grave with a pen and paper and ask me to write?'
"I did not understand his situation at that point in time.
“So I was pissed and I went off. And I never forgot and I just went and I wrote the song. It just came naturally to me. So I thought it was something that was very easy. I just never had a problem writing a song in my entire life,” he said.
Originally, he carried his father’s last name, but because of the stigma attached to HIV/Aids at the time, his last name was changed to “protect me from the stigma and they did not want me to get into calypso.”
As the 20th anniversary of his father’s death approaches (Merchant died in 1999) he believes the time has come to tell the story of his father’s true legacy.
While he “came up under my father’s strength a bit,” he “did not ride on his coat tails.”
Asked about the impact of his father’s death on him, Sekon Sta said, “For one I am not a player...That is why you would never hear my name out there with any set of woman.”
He was nine when his father died, and while he did not grow up with Merhcant, he visited him regularly. He does not feel deprived in any way by having lost his father. He takes a unique approach to the situation, saying, “You do not know the result of your fortune or misfortune. Had he been alive today, I may not have been doing something else. We could have fall out...so, like you do not the result of your fortune or misfortune.”
While you might not know every Sekon Sta song, he is confident that some people don’t realise they already know and love his music. “They would be like, ‘He sing that? He sing that?’ I legit never ran down the fanfare.”
But this season he is set to remind soca fans how much they're already his fans.