REIGNING Soca Monarch Aaron “Voice” St Louis will not be defending his crown on March 1 (Fantastic Friday).
He issued a statement via social media platforms explaining his reason.
“The truth is that in 2016, after winning my first title, my team and I decided to challenge ourselves to win three consecutive titles. It took a lot of planning, preparation, sleepless nights and sacrifices, but in the end with the grace of God we achieved our objective.”
He said he loves competing and “bringing the best out of myself, my team and my fellow competitors” but that they have “new goals now and competing is not one of them.”
Voice said “a huge part” of him wants to take part in both the Soca and Calypso Monarch competition but, “I don’t make decisions in a silo.
“I always involve my team and my family in all major decisions, and we’re in agreement that it’s time to pursue different challenges which will hopefully open more doors for our younger soca artistes. My biggest goal now is to do my part to have soca become a globally-recognised genre.”
Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez, chairman of Caribbean Prestige Foundation, said she respected Voice’s stance. She said Voice was in contact with the organisation.
“In terms of him making the best decision that he sees fit for his career, not so long ago both Bunji and myself were in that exact position where we had to decide which direction we want to take our careers.”
She said they know the fans would have looked forward to seeing Voice on Fantastic Friday, but “for us it is still marvellous that people like him can say that Fantastic Friday has contributed to their growth and their success.”
Lyons-Alvarez said the organisation appreciates the contribution he has put forward in helping Soca Monarch to maintain the life it has.
She thanked him for his service and said she looked forward to seeing him on another stage, somewhere in the world, making TT proud.
Asked if he would make a guest appearance at the show, Lyons-Alvarez said she has not spoken to his management about that and could not say.
Registration for the International Soca Monarch ended on Friday, and semi-finalists are expected to be announced today.