Music producer Krishna “Dada” Lawrence, has said that he was greeted with “class” and “treated as a diplomat” when he arrived at Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent for an event with Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin and Skinny Fabulous, the artists of the song “Famalay” which he produced.
Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonzalves ( who could not attend) telephoned Lawrence and the others the day before the event with words of encouragement and congratulations over their success with Famalay. Dada, and the others behind the hit song, would be recognized by the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for their work.
Though exhausted from his hectic schedule, Dada was willing to talk with DNO and share that experience.
He described being part of the press conference shortly after arriving, in which Skinny Fabulous, being a Vincentian, was naturally the main focus but, according to Dada, everyone received equal recognition for their contribution to the song.
St. Vincent’s Minister for Tourism (Cecil Mckie) spoke of bouyon rhythm making history in Trinidad and Tobago as a major plus not just for St. Vincent and the Grenadines but also for Dominica. Dada said he was happy to take the opportunity to promote bouyon and Dominica during interviews with various media including TV stations.
The Dominican producer says he is fairly well known in St. Vincent due to his work success over the years on the island. He said the group’s reception in St. Vincent included a motorcade, with police escorts, in which they were paraded on a float all the way to Heritage Square in Kingstown. He indicated that people turned out in numbers to support the group.
The Dominican-based producer said that after a performance of the Trinidad Roach March Song the personal award was bestowed upon him which came as a surprise . He said he thought that they would have had the event and that would be the end of it.
In describing how he felt after receiving the award, Dada referenced a statement by fellow collaborator and artist, Skinny Fabulous in which, according to him, Skinny said that with all the recognition he, Skinny gets, nothing compares to what he receives at home.
“He is right, I feel. I mean, I can get recognized by Vincie now until, and none would … mean the same as when you get recognized here in Dominica – a proper recognition like that,” he pointed out.
He described the feeling as bitter sweet.
“Because at the end of the day, it is a good look for my career and it is a good boost for my career, but in terms of satisfaction…acknowledgment…for that type of work that you don’t have to do…you know what I mean,” he explained. “…It shows me that in Dominica… we don’t value the creative industries”
Citing the significant impact that Famalay had as the biggest soca song and biggest song coming out of the Caribbean this year (including Jamaica), Lawrence makes a case for greater appreciation of the creative arts in Dominica. He commended the approach in St. Vincent where he says they went “all out” in support of the song and its success and said that from his own experience, a similar sense of appreciation was seen in Trinidad and Antigua .
“I will say this, if Dominica continues to do things like that, Dominica will lose all of its best talent to the other islands and other countries in the world,” Lawrence warned.
“Appreciation is important… to show someone you appreciate them is worth more than …any amount of money,” he stated.
Ultimately, Dada said he is happy and delighted to be one of the people involved in “Famalay” and that he will try his best to remain humble and focused and try to recreate the process.
“The challenge is now to stay grounded and keep my eyes on the prize, because de music is bigger than everybody and I am just doing my little bit,” he remarked.
Krishna “Dada” Lawrence has some encouraging words of advice for those artists who are trying to develop their craft.
“I want to encourage other young developing and upcoming artists…to stay focus have that tunnel vision…for your work, keep an open mind so you can develop…according to Machel Montano, nothing is being made in a vacuum in life, so you can learn from other people and… try to do your best for your island and try to compete at the highest level,” he advised.