When I initially thought about getting to know more about UK soca artists, a few immediately sprung to mind. Triniboi Joocie (Rodell Sorzanzo) was one of the first. He has consistently been in the UK soca community performing and I know that he had success reaching the semi-finals of soca monarch in Trinidad in 2014. I have seen him perform and I know the he is part of Ebony Steel Band. I really like his song ‘Go down’. He has performed in Hyde Park in London, Paleo Festival in Switzerland, Rotterdam Carnival, Labour day in New York, in Trinidad and various other places. He has won awards. I’d almost consider him the ambassador of UK soca. I meet up with Triniboi at the home of UK carnival, the Tabernacle and we get to talking about him, soca and carnival.
How do did you get into soca? Triniboi: Seems like such a long time. Actually it started from the steel pan you know.. I was the youngest person to win the panorama with New Tones in Trinidad age he age of 8,9. I was in quite a lot of newspapers at the time and I was seen by the owner of Ebony steelband in the UK and he wanted me to come over the play in his band. With regards to performing, my first experience was performing with Wayne Rodriguez (the guy who wrote footsteps) in Trinidad. Whilst playing ‘Who let the dogs out’ on pan, Ebony steel band asked me to sing it in Cannes in South of France. I’m a trained dancer in jazz, contemporary and tap so concentrated on that for a while. I got a scholarship to study at DeMonfort University in Leicester. I went to the same college as Olatunji who inspired me to write and get into soca. I heard Olatunji’s songs on a pirate radio station of the time and thought ‘I want to hear my songs on the radio as well’. I was unable to go back to Trinidad for carnival for three years and had a big tabanca. Also in Leicester I couldn’t hear much soca at all. That gave me the conviction to get into soca seriously. And here we are…
Did you always want to stay in the soca genre or did you want to sing other types of music? Triniboi: I was always, I’ve always been ‘No soca,soca,’ because it is not one of the genres really recognised in this country and I wanted to help pioneer soca in the because if no one stands up for it, there will never be representation.
I heard a ‘was’ there…. ‘ Triniboi Yeah [laughter], It’s only now I’ve changed a bit as my journey now is different. Now I want to incorporate the other genres around me to make soca relevant to the London population so that they can relate to it.
So you have the same goal but coming at it from a different angle? Triniboi.. Basically yes.
How would you describe your soca sound? Triniboi: I think my soca is reflective of the UK. I write my own songs. I don’t think I write like a normal conventional soca artist. Some would see it as chanting like in grime, some would see it as authentic soca as in Trinidad. everyone sees it differently.
What has been your greatest achievement? Triniboi: I have three, can I give you three? One was to work with Kernal Roberts, the producer who has done a lot of Machel Montano’s hits such as Advantage, Ministry of Road. He worked on Palance. The second was taking part in a competition called Open Mic UK in which over 75 000 people applied and I got to the semi-finals. And I was unable to do the finals as I was in Trinidad. And the third was being in the semi-finals for soca monarch in Trinidad in 2014.
Are there any artists you really want to collaborate with? Triniboi: I’d love to work with South African Musicians Black Motion and Busta Rymes.
What do you think of the UK soca music industry? Triniboi: I must say honestly speaking, so far, the releases that I am hearing from other artists, the quality has gotten better; the production, the concepts, the way they are marketing themselves. The UK soca community can be a bit more supportive, endorsing their own artists a bit more.
What does carnival mean to you? Triniboi: What does it mean to me? It means mas, pan, soca, j’ourvert, freedom, expression, culture.
What is Notting Hill Carnival’s biggest selling point? Well what I think is very unique here and perhaps we don’t give it much credit is that there are so many worlds at Notting Hill. So like, you might go round the corner and there is a street party. That’s very unique. So it means that if such and such doesn’t appeal to you, you can find something else. And I think it has to be that way because this is a multicultural city.
What are you working on now? Well as we speak,I have a grime collaboration with a grime artists called Scrufizzer. I am also working with a team called ‘Just Now’ who are very well known on the festival circuit and who did Bunji Garlin’s’ Truck on the road’. I am also doing a collaboration with Bay-C from T.O.K. My new release is called ‘Doh run from it’, ‘Las Wuk,’ ‘Dutty Mas’, ‘Set up yourself’ and ‘Oi’.
What is your next step? Triniboi: I was having this conversation the other day. Well again is to fuse the genres. So collaborating with dancehall, rnb singers, afro beats.
Right now, Triniboi Joocie is at a very different stage in his musical career. In his writing and delivery, he considers soca in the context of this multicultural society. From all of his experiences in the soca world, the great and not so hot, he has learnt persistence. He says ‘I’m too deep in it to quit now.’ Triniboi has a tattoo which states ‘Motivation and dedication’. As well as representing his father who has passed, this is personal ethos. Motivation and dedication to pursuing his art. Can’t wait to see and hear what’s next…
For more information on Triniboi Joocie, please visit Triniboi Joocie on Facebook, instagram, twitter and You Tube. All images were used with the consent of the artist. Some images were taken by Trinisinlondon.