Patrice Roberts immediately comes to mind when I think of female soca artists and her achievements in music began from an early age. In 1995, she won the Sangre Grande Junior Calypso Monarch competition in Trinidad. In 2001, she became the National Soca Monarch, the National Library Calypso Monarch and the National Junior Calypso Monarch. Patrice’s hit collaboration with Bunji Garlin ‘The Islands’ in 2005 almost appeared to mark her transition to soca. She joined the Xtatik Family and won the 2006 Road March for the song ‘Band of the Year’ with Machel Montano. Since then, she has worked consistently and has evolved into an independent successful soca artists with hits such as ‘Old and Grey’, ‘A Little Wine’, ‘Big Girl Now’, ‘Like it Hot’, ‘Sweet Fuh Days’ and ‘Judgement Stage’. The video for her most recent song ‘Carry On’ is somewhat of a departure from the typical soca videos which raised eyebrows and curiosity. I had the opportunity to have a conversation with her. This is Patrice Roberts.
Was the transition from calypso to soca difficult for you? It was. Calypso speaks more on politics and what’s going on around you. It is kinda laid back. Where as soca music is more energetic, upbeat. You have to learn how to command the crowd. It was difficult for me because I was a really shy person. It took me a while and people like Machel and other big veterans showed me what to do. I’ve learnt. I’ve learnt from travelling, from seeing them perform and have made everything my own.
Are you a heels or trainer kinda lady? Heels
I’ve seen you perform many times in many countries. On stage, you like to kick off your heels… That’s not deliberate. My shoes literally hurt, and I like to be comfortable. I like to perform; I like to be in my performance and the heels kinda keep me back.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you on stage? My boobs falling out on stage. It was devastating for me because I am a mother. I never want people to see me in that way. Everyone knows what a breast is but for your private part to fall out whilst performing? How did you deal with it? Umm just say to myself it’s ok. I mean when I see bad comments on… I mean it wasn’t bad because I don’t have bad breasts, but I just stayed off social media for a while.
Name one thing your fans would know about you from watching you on stage or following you on social media? Besides kicking off the shoe, I like to jump in the crowd. They know me for a lot of energy. For me, it is all or nothing.
What is the main difference between Patrice Roberts on stage and Patrice Roberts at home on a Sunday evening? Apart from being a mother? The difference is that on a Sunday evening, Patrice loves to cook, loves to decorate, loves to do things at home. I am a home person; I don’t really like to go out. Patrice on stage is more sexy, takes risks kind of person.
Your new single ‘Carry on’ from the Pop’s Guitar Riddim, what inspired it? The concept behind the music video? ‘Carry On’ for me, I don’t really come up with the ideas. It’s all Problem Child, big up ‘Problem’. He’s a great writer, not only a great writer but a great artist. He came up with the concept. I think I just wanted people to see a different side of me. ‘Big Girl Now’ is me coming out of motherhood, standing on my own two feet after leaving Machel and ‘Carry On’ is just, I fancy a different side of me, the sexy side. A lot of people see me as laid back, shy. You know, so to see me in a different light. I get a lot of comments from men. I wanted everyone to see a different side and Carry On is that. To come out of the box. To stray away from the traditional, performing in a video and having a costume. I wanted people to see soca music in an international way.
What has the response been like for the song? The response has been really good.
The video has 91,000 views currently and is growing, how do you think the gate keepers of soca in Trinidad feel about this type of video? They took it really well. I think sometimes you have to set the bar a little higher, a little different. If we stay in a box, then we will not move forward, so I always like to come out of the box a little.
If you could change one thing about the soca industry, what would it be and why? The fact that most females are not together as we should be. If we come together, I think all soca music will go even further. Everyone is so much apart.
As a female artist, do you feel men are intimidated by you and don’t come up to you? I think so. Because they never really come. Has it always been that way? I think it has always been that way because, if you look at me, I’m not really an approachable person. It doesn’t mean that I am stuck up. I am just that person that has been through many things in this lifetime. I am 34 years and I have been through hell and back, so I think I have up this wall. But behind this wall is just somebody who is fun and happy and sad sometimes, But I think that is the reason why men do not approach me.
What advice would you give to your 13 year old self? If I had anything to tell my 13 year old self… Why did you take so long to have confidence in yourself? Can’t you see that you are beautiful, and people love you? Love yourself. The negative things that people say about you or said about you does not determine the way you go and who you are. Love yourself, be confident and keep pushing.
Is there a body of work on the way for 2020? I have a lot of things up my sleeve. I have already released two songs and as you can see, I am very laid back for a reason. After Ubersocacruise, it all starts.
This lady has earned her battle stripes in an industry which can be challenging for female artists. She has gone through the fire and has emerged stronger, more confident, more determined than ever to do her work, her way. On stage, she gives 100%. She is a woman of music, of soca. And Patrice Roberts has more surprises up her sleeve.