Triniboi Joocie reps Trinidad and Tobago on Voice UK

Triniboi Joocie will give his semifinal performance at the Voice UK on October 22.
Triniboi Joocie will give his semifinal performance at the Voice UK on October 22.

Turn your devices to ITV and tune in to this year’s edition of Voice UK and, at some point, the sound coming from it will be familiar.

It's soca from Rodell “Triniboi Joocie” Sorzano.

The 33-year-old, UK-based Trinidadian is a semifinalist in the 11th season of the long-running show the Voice UK, which began in 2012. He will deliver his semifinal performance on Saturday.

This year’s judges are, Anne Marie, Sir Tom Jones and Olly Murs.

Triniboi Joocie's journey to being the first soca artiste on the show began 12 months ago.

However, he is not the first to perform in such international shows. In 2018, Olatunji Yearwood competed in the UK’s X Factor. Other Trinidadian, non-soca artistes have also competed in these types of shows. Earlier this year, 16-year-old Camryn Champion secured a spot on American Idol.

Triniboi Joocie said, “The competition decided to contact me. The talent scout for the show reached out twice, actually. The first occasion they contacted me, I declined. I said, ‘No. These shows don’t really represent artistes that I regard as artistes. I think it is quite manufactured.’

The coaches of this year's Voice UK are, Anne Marie, Sir TomJones and Olly Murs.
In the next phase, Triniboi Joocie will compete against his two other teammates with only one from Team Anne Marie making it through to the final round.

“Then they contacted me again and assured me that they were interested in me as an artiste and what I bring to their platform. Basically. I guess, they were changing their whole scope on the show and how it is represented.”

There were multiple auditions before he reached the live stage with the blind auditions.

“It was just a very nerve-racking, exciting experience. But I was reassured I could be as true to who I am and they appreciated that.”

He first appeared on episode five, which aired on October 1.

At the audition, he was asked to sing four songs.

“I came in, sang, and they were like, ‘Yes! Yes! Triniboi, we love this.’”

After multiple meetings and more auditions, he progressed to blind auditions. At the October 1 blind audition, he sang his 2020 song Bottle Over Head, which saw British singer/songwriter and judge Anne Marie turning around quickly.

“I was the first act on the second day of auditions. At 6 am in the morning, I gave them authentic soca,” he said.

He then progressed to the callbacks, at which he did a Trinidadian-style version of Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s I Don’t Care.

It is important for Triniboi Joocie to be anauthentic soca artiste on this platform because, for him, he feels the soca that has made it to the charts previously has either been diluted or had different elements added to it.

Being on shows like these is also opening people’s minds more to soca and its many possibilities, he said. It was making people more receptive to the indigenous genre being played throughout the year, as opposed to only at Carnival time.

Trinidadian, UK-based artiste Rodell "Triniboi Joocie" Sorzano wants to show the world that soca is more than fun and can be played throughout the year. Photo courtesy Kirth Noel

During the callbacks, Triniboi Joocie was sent a song two days in advance and then had to make it his own.

“And I asked them, 'How far can I take the song?' and they said, 'Listen, 'juice' it. Make it Joocie. Give us Triniboi.' And I said, ‘Yuh sure? Because I will take it out of that box and approach it like a Soca Monarch performance, basically.’

“And they said, ‘Yes. Do you.’”

He said that was when he was able to stand out from the other competitors.

He thinks because soca is such a new genre, to some, it might be difficult to describe.

“What Anne-Marie said is, 'Triniboi is fun.' They are associating my performance as fun. It is happy.

"But really I want them to understand there is craft. There are depths to this. There are layers.”

He believes moving to the UK in 1998 allowed him to immerse himself more in TT’s culture because he was away from it. He grew up in Laventille before moving to the UK. He is also a science teacher.

That is why he is a Notting Hill Carnival ambassador. He has been advocating for soca in Europe for over a decade, an earlier press release about his entry to the show said. He was also the UK’s Soca Monarch in 2012 and 2013.

Triniboi Joocie performing at the Voice UK during the blind auditions on October 1. Photos courtesy Creative Media PR

In June, Triniboi Joocie performed the late Lord Kitchener’s Pan in A Minor, backed by a 100-piece pan ensemble, at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration at Buckingham Palace.

No matter the outcome of Voice UK, Triniboi Joocie intends to give it his best for soca, TT and the region. Using a cake analogy, he said this was simply one of the many "flavours" he was adding to his career, as the bowl was still mixing.

Another press release said his decision to take part in the show was an intentional move to advance his career as well as showcase the culture of TT and the Caribbean.

Triniboi Joocie also thinks once people take the music seriously, it will be recognised.

“Often enough, we are afraid to be as authentic as we should be. To make it palatable, we water it down.”

Afrobeats is now mainstream music because its artistes stuck to the roots of their music and were unified, he said.

He said if soca is constantly changed it would not have an identity or a recognised factor that would make people say, “That is soca.”

He called on soca artistes to be more confident in what they do.

The message that Triniboi Joocie wants the world to take away from his appearing in Voice UK is that soca is not only about fun, it is the song of a people and place that are underrepresented in the mainstream industry, and it, too, needs its day in the sun.


"Triniboi Joocie reps Trinidad and Tobago on Voice UK"

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