When Brass 2 the World takes the stage at North Coast Jazz which runs from May 26-28 at the Blanchisseuse Recreation Ground, two of its frontline vocalists Kyle “KC” Cowie and Amrika Mutroo would have had the guiding hands of Ronnie McIntosh and Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons behind them.
In a phone interview, McIntosh said he always wanted to do something with SuperBlue and got an opportunity to do that with the band.
He is familiar with Brass 2 the World's members who are led by musician Burt Marcellin and also knows a lot of the musicians as they came from other bands.
The band was looking for guest artistes and he suggested himself and SuperBlue as a duo as “Ronnie and Super were basically at war during the early Soca Monarch days,” he said.
McIntosh felt it would be a nice presentation to show that he and SuperBlue were fine. They approached the band and a contract was signed which said the band could sell Ronnie and SuperBlue as part of its act.
“It took off slowly but I think in this Carnival people got a chance to see what was really happening,” McIntosh said added.
That contract was signed at the end of 2021 with the anticipation of Carnival 2022. However, there was no official Carnival 2022 and instead a hybrid event called a Taste of Carnival was held.
The band was unable to present its new product then because there weren’t a lot of gigs at that time.
Initially, Mutroo was not with the band and there was another lead female vocalist.
One night, when he visited the band room, he was introduced to Mutroo by Marcellin.
“She was just holding on for the other vocalist. Burt Marcellin asked me what I think about her and I told him, ‘She is perfect. She have the whole presentation and also has a strong Instagram following on her own.'”
McIntosh said he encouraged Marcellin to keep her. For him, KC is young, has the right presentation and dresses well.
Guiding the young vocalist is part of McIntosh’s plans to revive the strong frontlines that once existed in bands like Blue Ventures and Chandelier.
Both him and SuperBlue sit and speak with the young artistes giving them history and pointers, he added.
“One of the things we are working on right now is sourcing new music for them for Carnival 2024.” McIntosh said.
Discussions were taking place with songwriters like Mical Teja and Jason “Shaft” Bishop, he said.
“There are a lot of bands out there but they do not have the frontline that the bands used to have back in the day. Back in the day there was a frontline, there were two males and a female.
“Those frontliners were able to stand on their own. Taking into consideration, back in the day, a frontliner could have been a good performer without a song because, back in the day, we were singing other people’s songs.
“But now to be a recognised frontliner, it does not matter how good you are, you still need your own song.”
He said just as there was Destra Garcia, Dexter "Blaxx" Stewart and Sanell Dempster he intended to do the same thing with Mutroo and KC.
Live bands create more energy in a fete or event, he said.
“The people in the crowd feed off of the band’s energy,” McIntosh said.
It has always been KC’s dream to be a performer and getting to do so beside two legends is simply an added benefit.
He was contacted by the band after one of its members saw him performing at a show during last year’s Taste of Carnival.
He has been singing since 2012 and entered competitions like Junior Soca Monarch, Young Kings and Calypso Monarch.
He described working with SuperBlue and McIntosh as “unbelievable.”
These were performers he grew up looking at on TV, he added.
“It brings joy to me. This is what I love, music and entertaining. I love being on stage. This is my career. It motivates me and builds me.
“It is like on-the-job training because I am learning from them.”
KC said McIntosh is very serious about his craft and stressed the value of going home every night and doing his homework.
This is the 32-year-old’s first time performing with a band.
Unlike KC, it is not Mutroo’s first time with a band.
She has won the National Women's Action Committee's (NWAC) National Calypso Queen competition in 2016. Though she is just 35, she has been performing for the past 26 years, entering junior calypso competitions.
For her, being a member of Brass 2 the World has been amazing, she said.
“I met some of these musicians in different aspects, phases and environments. Now meeting them as a part of the band, it now feels like a family….
“Then on the stage the energy is so amazing,” she said.
She too said McIntosh and SuperBlue were both legends who were interactive with herself, KC and Heaven “Snakey” Charles.
“They are always giving us advice. They are always calling, messaging to critique; to tell us how we can do better, give us kudos. As we come off the stage, they always come to us and commend us.”
Mutroo said McIntosh was in the process of speaking to a number of writers to get music for KC and herself for Carnival 2024.
She started with the band after filling for someone at last year’s Independence Day celebrations.
While she worked with another band before and had no intention of being part of a band again, Brass 2 the World’s positive energy led her to becoming a member.
Mutroo said the band is really making waves and she intends to stay with it for as long as she can.