Producer Kenny Phillips sings calypso in south tent

Kenny Phillips.
Kenny Phillips.

FOR over 40 years, Kenny Phillips has been producing and arranging music for calypsonians and soca artistes at his KMP Music lab, San Fernando.

Several years ago, Phillips went one step further, opening his own Wack Radio 90.1 FM station, where he wears the hat as CEO, providing a platform to play 100 per cent local music.

Wack is the acronym for "we are culture krazy", a take on a comment that he was “wacko” made by a member of the Publishers and Broadcasters Association when he applied for a radio licence to operate a station which plays only local music.

For Carnival 2020, Phillips is adding another dimension to his already exhaustive career.

While this guitarist has been entertaining wide audiences, on February 1 when Kaiso Showkase opens its tent at Palms Club, Phillips will make his debut as a calypsonian.

It is not a career move he ever envisioned, but when composer/calypsonian Kurt Allen presented him with a composition he had written especially for Phillips, he could not refuse.

Now that he has been bitten by the calypso bug, there is no stopping Phillips whose intention is to go as far as he can in the competitive arena.

He has set his sights on Calypso Fiesta, the semi-finals of the Calypso Monarch competition, and hopes he can make it to the finals.

The song, Wack Dem Kenny, takes aim at “vultures circling culture trying to force it into extinction.”

The commentary shows no mercy on urban radio stations “who don’t play calypso at all” neither does it spare the politicians, who Phillips accuses of misleading the country, people who who are using religion as a hate platform, and other social issues such as mass employment and crime.

While it has never been a dream of his to sing in a calypso tent, Phillips said he has something to say and saw this as an opportunity to use the calypso platform to make his statements.

Phillips has been a part of the conversation discussing the lack of movement and forward thinking to take calypso to another level.

Allen is part of a consortium of composers and producers assembled by Phillips to write songs for artistes such as Stacey Sobers, Duanne O’Connor, Renaldo London, Helon Francis. Phillips said when he finally heard the song, “I said wow, this song is for me. Nobody else could do it.”

Along with his sons, Kyle and Kasey of Precision Productions and Badjohn Republic, all the music and finishing touches were done to produce a calypso that is already gaining exposure.

Allen also gifted him with a second social commentary called Next Song, a take on the two songs reintroduced by the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation to bring back some quality to the competition.


"Producer Kenny Phillips sings calypso in south tent"

More in this section