With Carnival approaching, people are getting pumped and ready to partake in every and all events to come. Imran “GI” Beharry is and has been ready to offer that drive and excitement for those getting into the Carnival groove. Beharry kicked off the season by performing at Soka in Moka last Sunday after his international tour.
He told Sunday Newsday, “I just came back after seven weeks of touring where I finished off my last leg of 2022 touring. I came home on December 31 and it was just in time for Soka in Moka.”
Beharry said the crowd and reaction to him performing was a great one and he plans to take everything they had to offer – “the energy, vibe and the way the people embraced me and I will run with it for the rest of the season.”
For 2022, Beharry was on 91 flights sharing TT’s culture to people in places such as Suriname, Guyana, and Miami. He also won the Chutney Soca Monarch that year and the two years before that. But his musical career started long before that with encouragement from his mother Ann-Marie Beharry.
“I was in-between singing and cricket and I chose singing. I started off in Mastana Bahar at the age of eight and my mum is really the one who pushed me into this.”
Because singing and cricket didn’t go hand-in-hand, Beharry said he would spend half his time in music class and the other half with the Barrackpore Secondary School’s cricket team as captain. He said he still loves cricket and will play at any given opportunity.
Beharry is confident with the choice he made and said singing professionally for around 20 years helped alleviate challenges he would have come across while establishing himself as a solo artiste.
“I sang with two very popular bands in TT. At one point in time I was the frontline singer of Karma, and I spent about four years with them before joining Dil-e-Nadan who I spent seven years with. So I have a wealth of experience being around the bands. And after those 11 years, I decided to branch out on my own and be a product of my own and not a product of a product.”
Beharry said after making this decision, he rebranded himself from General Imran to GI around eight years ago to mark his solo journey. He said even though he carries the name GI, he sees it as representing his team of ten.
“I always say GI is a brand and I am just the vessel that takes the brand. All of us consists of GI including the Newsday, radio stations, various media houses and everybody that plays a role because they are doing something for the brand.”
Beharry said even the international crowds contribute to this as they all bring a different experience for him.
“People show love differently in every part of the world and everywhere I go, I have great experiences, promoters and fans. People naturally are open-handed, warm and welcoming. The way they react to the music and I mean, you must find a Trini in the crowd or a Guyanese.”
Beharry said now that the chutney soca genre is growing, he plans to expand into different territories especially into those that other artistes haven’t yet ventured. He said only when he has confirmation, then more information will be posted.
“We have support from every different island now and in different countries as people are gravitating towards the music.”
Despite being a three-time winner of the Chutney Soca Monarch (2020-2022), Beharry said he isn’t sure if he will be defending his title this time around. He said that is usually a team decision, but whatever decision is made, he will go with it.
“If I decide to defend my title in 2023, obviously we’d strive for the best and I mean, four in row that sounds good, right?”
But he said he does appreciate what the competition does for artistes as it helps them showcase their talent and gain traction. Beharry also urged new and upcoming artistes to familiarise themselves with the new technology and the everyday changes that come with the field.
“Educate yourself so you can have a clearer picture and understand what you’re doing even more so when someone sends you something like a mix or master you would know immediately how to react and what frequencies to use. During the down time with covid19, I educated myself, not in a certificate level, but I keep striving for betterment and that is something that the upcoming ones should be doing.”
With Beharry on the move constantly, he said he tries to keep himself active by jogging and regularly gets health check-ups as his throat and vocal chords are at risk.
Beharry recently released a new song with Bunji Garlin called Raining Rum which he said has his and his manager’s phone ringing constantly. In keeping with his motive to bring the Carnival spirit to everyone, Beharry also performed at several locations while celebrating his 36th birthday on Sunday.