When you have a following and your fans love you? I get curious. BUT when your peers tell me ‘Nah you have to interview Terrah Dan, he’s one to watch’? I’m intrigued even further. From my initial research, I learn in 2015, Terrah Dan came second in UK Road march and second Leeds Soca Monarch. He is well known in Barbados. His songs are played frequently and consistently on the national radio stations out there.
I’m at Riddim Up Studios in Dalston (East London) and Terrah Dan (Javid Williams) is listening to a new track with Shwayne. So I start the business of getting to know Terrah Dan who I absolutely know nothing about; this young man with a mischievous grin that he is trying really hard to hide.
Soooo… Tell mean about yourself….I hail from the island of Barbados. I was born there and came over here when I was about 10 years old. I’ve always been into music, studied in primary, secondary school and in college. I always knew that music was my calling. Music comes easy to me. My mum pushed me to do something with it. I started making bits in college. Then drifted to focus more on the writing side of things. Then Grime music came about so I got involved with that. I then moved from Grime to Rap. Then, I went to to study musical instruments such as drums, keyboards and guitar.
How did you land into soca? That’s the thing, I didn’t start doing soca. I only started doing soca in 2013. At the time I was living in Barbados and was doing Bajan bashment. We have a producer who was doing a crossover riddim which was not exactly bashment, not exactly soca but smack bang in the middle. I listened to it. Two of my friends did songs on the riddim and I thought ‘why not?’ Did the song. People seemed to like it. Then the calvacades came around which is the lead up to the carnival in Barbados and I got to perform at the one in St. Andrews (my home town) as a wild card. Got a lot of recognition after that performance and began to focus on this. I returned to the UK in 2013, worked with Socachild and here we are.
Why the name Terrah Dan? [Laughter]. It was a name that was given to me. In Barbados, they like to slap a nickname on you for anything. Anything. You too big. ‘Alright fatman’. If you know me, I’m just trouble. So people were like you’re a terror, you’re a terror. The ‘Dan’ came about cause we say ‘Dan’ in Barbados to anyone. So the dan just happen to slap on there at some point in time. I was like ‘ok’. So Terrah Dan it was.
How would you describe your sound? I don’t limit myself to any genre. I can do any style of music. I write rnb, I rap, I sing (although I try not to). But at the moment, soca is my preferred style of music. Inside of the soca formula I can do anything. But I’m a Bajan so Bajan soca is my home. That’s where I started from so that’s my particular one. But I love doing groovy, I love doing power so I don’t limit myself. I am one of very few Bajan active male artists in the UK apart from Ruff Winer.
When I asked about interviewing UK soca artists, I was told ‘you have got to interview Terrah Dan.’ Everyone is talking about your mad, crazy work ethic. What is your drive? Well this studio where we are at right now has a lot of history. A lot of artists have past through. And to see these guys working, I tell myself ‘I can reach that level.’ That’s how I look at things. And my DJ Mr Wotless also pushes me. He says you need to get on this, you need to do this. So I am at various places and doing everything to get better and promote.
What is Terrah Dan like on stage? If you see me on a normal day and then see me leading up to a performance it is a complete character switch. Usually I’m quieter and reserved unless I’m comfortable around you. Then you see my silly side. When it comes to shows, I always first go to my corner, say my prayers, give thanks. Then it’s like let’s go, high energy, nothing fazes me.
If you had your wish list who would you want to collaborate with? In the Uk soca community, I think the next collaboration in the works will probably be Scrappy or Ms Desire. Internationally, I got a strange kind of collaboration I want to do. It is with Mary J Blige. Just because I like her voice. She has a beautiful voice.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date? What are you most proud of? I think my second place in Road March and Leeds as they were days apart and that was my first year entering any form of competition as I just threw myself in there and hoped for the best and I got two second places and I thought ‘hmm not bad. Let’s keep going.’
What do you think of the UK soca community /industry? I think it is a growing industry and like any industry you have to give it time. Every artist has their following who support them. In Barbados, all my music is on the radio right now on every major station. But in the UK, you push it to this or that DJ, he might or might not play it.
What is your new video for? That is for my 2016 track for Barbados. ‘Bounce back’ for Cropover. It’s a riddim that ‘Bounty Killer’ is on and another Bajan artist called Xcel. This song is also entered in for UK Road March and for UK Soca Monarch it will be ‘Free’.
What are your plans for future? Well next year we are going to try to expand on a good relationship with have with a foreday morning band Equilibrium in Barbados. We want to make it from Foreday morning to a mas band.
Who is the we? We is Team 246 my brand consisting of myself, Mr Wotless and a Dj in Barbados called Mack 10.
So where can we find you at Notting Hill Carnival? It’s more than likely I will be performing with RDR. But I have other concerts lined up I will be playing at Fusion Carnival Friday and Oh Gosh.
What does carnival mean to you? Togetherness. Cause that’s the only time I get to see all these people that I don’t see throughout the year. When it comes to Notting Hill, I just run into everyone. I always look forward to Notting Hill cause I know at some point I will see this person, at some point I will see that person.
Is there anything you would like to tell my audience? Yeah, get your favourite DJs to play my songs…
Here’s the thing. You know in Rocky III when Apollo Creed points out to Rocky that the other boxers have ‘The eye of the tiger’? Terrah Dan has it. The eye of the tiger. Beneath the mischievous grin is that glint in his eye that speaks of ambition, and a drive to succeed. His peers were right. He is one to look out for.
For more information on Terrah Dan, please visit Terrah Dan on Facebook and Terrahofficial on instagram. Many thanks to Brian Quaver for some of the images included in this article.