THE One Link riddim is connecting artistes with their fans during the pandemic, in an effort to bring hope and spread positivity through soca.
It was a collaborative effort from producers Bjorn “The KVG” Graham, Mevon “XplicitMevon” Soodeen and Chryston “C Floyd Music” Floyd.
Graham was the co-producer of the 2020 Road March and International Power Soca Monarch-winning song Stage Gone Bad by Kees Dieffenthaller and Neil “Iwer” George.
The upbeat, feel-good riddim features tracks by Mical “Teja” Williams, Akeem “Preedy” Chance, Aisha Noel, 2020 International Groovy Soca Monarch Jesse “College Boy Jesse” Stewart and Teddon “Teddy Rhymez” Mark.
The project – which includes the tracks, music videos, a lyric video and a visualiser – was officially released on November 6. It can be found on streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and Tidal.
It was distributed by Monk Music.
Graham told Newsday the riddim's inception happened back in April and it was kick-started by Aisha.
“She sent me her song but it sounded very different then and I saw the potential in it. So we made some changes to allow it to achieve its full potential.
“And at that point in time, Carnival 2021 was (scheduled to be) happening. We actually planned to release her track for the summer, but as things progressed, we decided we would release it for Carnival. But yeah, this was all before the cancellation (of Carnival 2021).”
Aisha's song One Dance has a Major Lazer vibe to it as it encompasses some features of EDM (electronic dance music), and she sings about dancing and having a good time at a party.
But the producers later noted other artistes they felt would do well on the beat and decided it would become a riddim. The second artiste was Preedy.
“He took it one time and we sort of navigated it. He sent some ideas too and we told him what he should keep and what we should throw away,” Graham said.
During the lockdown period, many artistes held virtual concerts – especially on Instagram – which allows fans to be featured in the live video upon request. Preedy’s track Wine Pon Live is exactly about that.
He sings, “Yuh IG (Instagram) blazin’ up, gyal you have man wakin’ up. Gyal yuh DMs (direct messages) too lit when yuh start bubblin’."
He made it clear the music video was filmed when gatherings of 25 were allowed as it features a house party scene. It was filmed at Millennial Park, Trincity.
When it comes to College Boy Jesse, Graham said, “It fit him perfectly. It was an instant ‘aha’ moment, it’s like a light bulb just lit and we said, ‘Wow, he is the person. He is the quintessential artiste to carry that song.’”
With his usual theme of happiness and positivity, College Boy Jesse’s track is titled Party More Worry Less.
It includes lines like, “Why should I worry ‘bout the haters dem? What they think and say? Why should I worry ‘bout the things in life that I just cya change?”
It tells listeners to try taking it easy, focus on themselves and try preventing negativity from ruining their mood. The music video was shot at different locations in Tobago.
Soodeen then reached out to Teja and Bjorn suggested featuring a “Trinibad” (TT dancehall) artiste on the track.
Teja’s track No Money Making features Malachi "GSkell" Lezama and speaks about the trend of gunmen who boast about what they do, and those who are jealous of the progress of those around them.
“They say we livin' in a gunman world, so big up every boy and girl who doh run down no badness, never put yuh mother inna sadness/They say we come from a happy, happy place but I doh see happiness because we struggling every day and we still cya find we way.”
The next track, Teddy Rhymez’ All of You, empowers women and urges them to leave mentally and emotionally abusive relationships as they deserve better.
He sings, “I know you’ve been through enough, I know deep down it hurts. You tried a little too much cause you don’t know your worth… Would you really give up on a love you deserve? A man that want all of you.” His music video was filmed in New York, US.
Graham said while there may be no Carnival 2021, the pandemic provided an opportunity for content creators to become even more creative, and this project is evidence of that. He said the feedback has been great thus far.
“A lot of people tuned out of soca because of what they expect from soca because of the precedent it has, (people say) you need to be in a club (or) at a party, (or) at an event to hear and enjoy it – which is not true. This is why we have to now campaign to show you that’s not the case. We are pushing ahead amidst not having a festival.”
Other artistes have continued to release music despite Carnival being declared cancelled by the Prime Minister. This includes releases from Aaron “Voice” St Louis, Patrice Roberts, Aaron Duncan, Olatunji Yearwood, Denise Belfon, among others.
Graham said, “We understood there was no Carnival, but there was this sort of blanket of depression (owing to covid19) that now rests on the country. And we wanted to use creativity to express some measure of adjustment to new circumstances and new things in an optimistic way. That’s what we do as creatives, we use art to accomplish just that.”
“This project was a demonstration of exactly how creatives and artistes can evolve and adjust and still be able to have fun and make the best of what we have and until things get better. It shows a measure of solidarity and patriotism and passion and dedication.”
He also hinted at another upcoming collaboration with Iwer George which will be released before the year ends.