Her 25 years in the local music industry has been a process of growth, learning and challenges. Today, Patrice Roberts is one of soca’s more popular voices.
She came into TT’s focus with her 2005 hit, The Islands, done with Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez. Since then, she has given TT songs that are hard to forget. But she had been singing long before that, first winning the Sangre Grande junior calypso monarch competition in 1995, then winning the national junior calypso monarch crown in 2001.
Sugar Boy, Band of De Year, the 2006 road march with Machel Montano, Sweet Fuh Days, Ah Feeling Mehself and Big Girl Now are just some of her hits that readily come to mind.
I Like It Hot and This is De Place, among her other 2019 contributions, have also gained popularity. I like it Hot, like many of the other popular soca songs for Carnival, has amassed YouTube views in the millions.
To her, the fact that people are enjoying her music means that she has achieved what she set out to accomplish.
She said all she wanted for the 2019 season was to “record and release great contributions that people would enjoy and I think I was able to achieve that. I just wanted to give the best of my talents.”
The 33-year-old, who grew up in Toco, is happy and enjoying every bit of the season.
Admittedly, the process of becoming one of today’s more popular soca artistes was not an easy one, but she is “thankful for the journey.”
In a January 2018 Newsday article, Roberts was then quoted as saying, “When I started singing calypso I was young and pretty timid, although I thought I was brave at that point in time.
“Now I am grown, I have travelled extensively, and I have experienced many things that I am able to apply to my life goals and career.”
In the article, Roberts was quite public about her journey, the triumphs and the harsh realities of being a woman in the soca industry.
“Being a woman in this business is not easy; you have to prove your worth and keep. You have to work a little bit harder and push a bit more to get to where you are – but in the end the rewards will be great,” she had said.
In e-mailed responses to questions asked by Sunday Newsday, Roberts said finding her voice as an artiste was the most challenging part of her career thus far. But having found her voice she is “in such a happy and comfortable space now generally.”
To get her through the tough times, Roberts prays and often tries to surround herself with the right people.
Last year, Sweet Fuh Days was a serious road march contender. The song came third in the race, having been played 112 times.
Asked how she felt about the road march race, Roberts said, “I am happy that I was able to contribute in 2018 and that the song, Sweet Fuh Days was appreciated. I would have loved to win but most importantly the song was embraced and appreciated.”
Knowing the difficulties of the soca industry, Roberts advises younger artistes to keep their chin up and surround themselves with the right people. “It is going to be difficult,” she said, “but it gets better with consistency and honesty.”
As her career flourishes she hopes to be someone who is taking the genre global. She wants to break into different markets and see parts of the world she’s never seen. She said as she continues to grow in soca and music, there is always work to be done, like music videos, tours and business ventures. Roberts recently signed as the brand ambassador for the local Little Caesars pizzeria franchise.
She is also working on an album titled Strength of a Woman, to be released post Carnival. The album will feature her 2019 contributions and “possibly a few surprises.”