AARON "Voice" St Louis has teamed up with Grenadian duo Lil Natty and Thunda (also called Wuss Ways) once again to officially enter the 2023 Road March race with My Stage Now.
It is the first time he has entered the competition.
While it was a "new experience" for him to create a song to cross the stage, he said it was an enjoyable one.
It was written by the three featured artistes and produced by Xpert Productions (Jason James) of Carriacou and NMG Music (Nikholai Greene) of Trinidad and Tobago. It was released on January 30.
Voice told Newsday the song was actually written in 2021, "but we wanted to wait until Carnival was back to release it."
It is the second time these artistes collaborated, with the first time being for 2019 with their hit song Pandemonium.
Once again, his soothing tenor voice is complemented by the powerful, energetic voices of Lil Natty and Thunda as they sing about having absolutely no behaviour for Carnival.
"We go tear down everything, fencin' anything, whole road wreck when we out dey
Barriers anything, pavement everything, whole road shell when we out dey
Yuh doh see we crazy? Destruction when we perform!"
The Grenadian duo then joins him in warning,
Hold on, if they think we done, they eh see nothing yet!
James told Newsday he met Voice backstage after a show in Grenada years ago. He (James) approached him and introduced myself.
"He liked my vibe because he heard a couple of my productions before, then time went by and we decided, let's get something done."
They then worked on and release Woman – a groovy soca tune – in 2021.
James has produced other local soca tunes such as Gyal Owner by the late Dexter "Blaxx" Stewart, Dive by Fay Ann Lyons-Alvarez and One Minute Xtra by Bunji Garlin (Dust Raiser Riddim).
But some time later, "He sent me a voice note of something and then I started composing the music for it, did a lot of back and forth with it.
"He was saving it for the right time to put out."
The "something" was what is now My Stage Now.
On the track, the artistes prepare for the stampede of crossing the stage, singing:
Security, just clear the way, the band ready. Mash up the damn stage now! Stamp it, shake it, crush it, shell it, wreck it!"
Voice speaks of the beauty of soca music and the energy it fuels him with.
"Once the soca inside ah meh brain, Lord, it's like that thing does drive me insane, Lord, I want to play mas again and again, whether rain, whether hail..."
James said Lil Natty and Thunda were brought on the track after Voice "heard the vibe of the beat and thought it would have suited them best.
"He sent me back the vocals and I was like, 'Yeah! The energy (was) there and the mix is nice and it was flowing well."
Voice said it was not originally meant to be a Road March contender, but when the Grenadian duo joined, "We felt that energy (and) we decided to gear the song more toward crossing the stage as opposed to just being a road song."
They worked on several versions of the song as they tried to get it just right.
Greene, the second producer, was brought on board during the mixing stage of the track. Having already worked with James on the Anti-Stush Riddim in 2019, they, too, had good chemistry.
"He did some different arrangements and had certain parts he put in and shifted around the production a bit," James recalled.
Greene has also produced other songs for Voice including Long Live Soca and Out and Bad and "pretty much records all of Voice's songs," whether he produces them or not, he told Newsday.
"I'm his main (sound) engineer, I should say."
Initially, he just recorded it and was not involved in the production.
"But as Voice decided to release the song this year, he wanted a couple things added to the production."
He only added the final touches last month, he said.
"I went by Voice about 1 am a day to sit down with him for about four hours arranging and putting things together."
Asked how he feels about the song, he said: "I find it was (great) from day one."
He said he even wished it was released earlier.
Voice told Newsday working on this type of song was his "first time doing a song that (he) can call (his) Road March contribution.
"Doing this track with Natty and Thunda was fun, their energy is so infectious. I hope people enjoy crossing the stage to this song as much as we enjoyed creating it for them."
Some people on social media have called the track "Pandemonium part II." Asked if this was the vibe he was going for and how he feels about that comparison, Voice said while it's understandable since it's the same artistes, "I never try to recreate anything I’ve done before. We just wanted a high-energy song to take masqueraders to another level of enjoyment."
Asked how he feels about the final production, James said he loves it and is really happy it's finally out.
"Because when you have something sitting down so long, you just want to get it out so the people can get that vibe and that energy because you know it's a good production."
The song is available on YouTube and other music streaming platforms.