Kadeem Graham – the singing councillor aiming for Dimanche Gras 2025

Champs Fleurs/Mt Lambert/ Petit Bourg councillor Kadeem Graham. -
Champs Fleurs/Mt Lambert/ Petit Bourg councillor Kadeem Graham. -

He was hoping to be a first-timer at Skinner Park’s Calypso Fiesta this year, but that did not happen.

But while some might be disappointed, Champs Fleurs/Mt Lambert/ Petit Bourg councillor Kadeem Graham, 33, is using the experience as a learning one and has already started preparing for Carnival 2025. He lives at Mt D'or Road, Champ Fleurs.

Graham entered several regional calypso monarchs for Carnival 2024. He placed third in Couva Calypso Monarch, withdrew from the Sangre Grande Calypso Monarch and placed eighth and seventh in the Arouca and San Fernando Calypso Monarchs respectively.

While the People’s National Movement (PNM) councillor writes his own songs, he, sometimes, uses a professional songwriter as well, as was the case with his 2024 song T&T Role Model written by Raymond Primus.

The song sent a serious message to people aspiring to be role models.

“The song pertains to me, but also speaks to anyone in any community in Trinidad and Tobago or the region. Every person cannot have a degree, and there are people who are better off at trades, people better off athletically. What one person might excel at, another person might falter.

"(But) there is always someone in a community who can be an exemplar to the young ones,” he said in a phone interview.

Graham said using a question-and-answer format, his song encouraged people like these to continue helping youths to develop.

One of its key messages was, “Patience is not your enemy.”

As a child, he always loved calypso, entering school calypso competitions and those at San Juan Police Youth Club. Often he’d be among the first to grab for the mic when invited by guest performers like SuperBlue. He also played pan with Arima Golden Symphony, although he has not been as active in recent years.

His passion followed him to Queen’s Royal College (QRC), where he also entered competitions and won.

Although being a councillor and a network and security administrator at the Eastern Credit Union means he has a busy schedule but he constantly works at his music.

In 2021, he entered the virtual National Action Cultural Committee’s (NACC) Young Kings Challenge edition and got as far as the finals.

This year, he decided to be more serious about it, and was a first-time performer at Kaiso Showkase.

“I like performing, but I took it seriously because I want to deliver a message,” he said.

Kadeem Graham performs at the Marabella Community Calypso Competition in 2020. -

His performances in the tent led him to perform at prisons including Carrera, Maximum Security and the Remand.

“It was a surreal moment being in there, and the message was well received by the audience,” he said.

While managing all these roles might be demanding, Graham hopes these experiences will lead him to the calypso big yards of Calypso Fiesta and Dimanche Gras come next year.

“Balancing all the roles is a lot, but everything has to be done with a balance.

"During the day, once I am at work, I organise my daily duties – when it is time for council I have to organise my duties where that is concerned.

“Being in the tent is a lot of late nights. In terms of the crowd, the crowd was awesome. Just being in the tent was an experience for me. It is the journey and experience I am taking out of this.”

This is only the beginning for the singing councillor. He began working on his material for 2025 since Ash Wednesday (February 14).

Graham said his presence and that of other younger people like him suggests the idea that “calypso is dying” is unfounded. This year showed there are still many people interested in it – and he encourages anyone who thinks they have the potential to become a calypsonian to continue pushing.


"Kadeem Graham – the singing councillor aiming for Dimanche Gras 2025"

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