The winner of the 2023 Chutney Soca Monarch (CSM) competition will receive $500,000 of the total $1 million in prizes.
Since 2017, the top prize was $300,000. Director at Southex Event Management George Singh, who is promoter of the competition, said he hoped to restore the prize structure to the way it was before the pandemic.
The second prize is $100,000 and $75,000 for third place. The seven other finalists will receive $35,000.
Singh said he expects contestants from across the world, including the US, Canada, Suriname, Guyana, the UK, Holland and Trinidad and Tobago. He was speaking at the launch of the CSM at TSTT corporate box at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, on December 14.
"The 2023 edition of the annual CSM will be the biggest production that we have ever undertaken over the 27-year history of the event – since 1996. Our stage will feature the biggest exposition of Indo-Caribbean culture. Chutney Soca Monarch, or CSM, remains the most important Indo-Caribbean event in the world, highlighting our Caribbean culture in a very unique manner," Singh said.
He said CSM will be hosted by Toronto native Rumshop Chronicles, with the support of "Big Rich" Zaheer Khan. The back-up band for all artistes will be RG the Band, headed by Rishi Gayadeen.
Singh said he expects 80 to 100 applicants for the preliminary stage, to be whittled down to 20 for the semi-finals. During the pandemic, the preliminaries netted around 50 entrants, Singh recalled.
The semi-finals take place at Screamers in Debe on January 14, 2023 and the finals on February 4, 2023 at Skinner Park, San Fernando.
Singh said the National Carnival Commission (NCC) has partnered with CSM as its presenting sponsor, and though there were many other sponsors, he was happy to be working with the NCC.
He said the lesson learnt from the covid19 pandemic was that online presentation grew the audience numbers.
"The bigger audience is the one that views the show on their mobile devices and computer screens. During the 2021 and 2022 shows, we attracted views of over ten million and running. This is something we will continue to do even when the show goes back to a live environment."
Singh said the 2023 event will feature top entertainers from the Caribbean in a special feature called Legends and Icons. Six Caribbean chutney music legends will be honoured.
Special performances will also come from:
Ravi B, Nisha B and Karma
The Legends and Icons honourees:
Seven-time CSM winner Samraj "Rikki Jai" Jaimungal
Five-time CSM winner Rooplal "Rooplal G" Girdharie
Three-time winner CSM Heeralal Rampartap
Terry "Terry G" Gajraj, Guyana
Kries Rhamkhelawan, Suriname