The last time I saw Shurwayne Winchester and YOU his new band, was at the John Legend concert in Port of Spain Trinidad. And as a patron I was privileged to hear the exclamation of some of those present. There was a adulation for his time on stage, so much so that even after John Legend had finished his performance, I heard some fans talking about the performance of Winchester and this 10 month old YOU group of professionals. So I quickly put on my Trinibeat hat when Shurwayne granted us access to have a chat with him. Of course I had to start with the obvious.
So many artiste, so many entertainers, but it was Winchester and YOU who share the stage with John legend.
(Smiling) It was an honour, it says that this 10 month old company has to be doing something right, it really was an honour, and I really appreciated the opportunity.
But how did this all begin? Sherwin Winchester singing calypso? Where and when did it start?
(Pensive looking) I failed my common entrance, my parents were unemployed, I know what poverty is like. I started to sing to help with things home, and I enrolled in Elizabeth College, the school fees had to be paid. I entered every competition I knew, I didn’t even know what the prize was, I just knew that bills had to be paid.
And so you went from there?
Yes, but I did have dissapointments along the way. I auditioned for spectacular forum and was not selected. It was very hard because I put my last drop of money into doing that demo tape. But that’s when I got a break, Andy Joseph selected me to sing back up with Traffik and that was when things really took off.
Speaking of taking off, you also performed at the 5th Summit of the Americas, a platform of world leaders, diverse cultures.
We did three shows, the opening night, at the village, the dinner, and one on the cruise ship. It was very well received. (Laughing) But you know these delegates would not get up and wave. On the cruise ship was a little different, it was a little more relaxed and easy going, the cruise company approached us to cruise with the ship and do some shows, but our schedule cannot allow this.
2009, what kind of year? You have left Traffik; it’s like a new beginning is it not?
A bumper year. And it isn’t over yet. Traffik I love my country, I love my people. and I had to go in separate directions. We did not always see things the same way but I am very grateful for the avenue to grow and the opportunities made available to me, for what I have accomplished with Traffik.
YOU your new band?
(With a look of accomplishment) “Yes One Unit” and we are like family here. Everybody is equal, full respect and in our new building and company SW Limited, we can practise as long as we want. We don’t have to worry about limitations, recording times, it feels liberating.
Your music; has it been influenced by your social and religious upbringing?
(Smiling and leaning forward) My Grandmother and mother took me to church as a child. I know what morals are. I believe in respect for the Almighty. I respect women. I entertain. That is how I sell my music to the masses; that is my form of sensuality. But there is a limit to what I will sing, there is a limit to what I would do. I am proud of having standards.
You seem relatively fit?
(Laughing) You have to be in this business. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I am in the Gym. I came in to Trinidad last night, and I was in the gym this morning. It’s necessary.
What inspires you?
I just love to entertain. I love my country, I love my people. This is the most beautiful place to be in, in spite of the crime. I just want to see my people happy and smiling and having a good time. That is my biggest inspiration.
We have lost properly the biggest entertainer in the history of music, Michael Jackson. Has he had any effect on you?
(Remorseful:) That man has changed the world and broken down barriers. He has taught us how to sing, how to dance, and how to cross barriers. Just look at the way most of us perform today. You may just see a bit of his dancing style in most acts today.
You have stated that you love this country, how green are you? (see tips on keeping T&T Green from greentnt.org)
(Laughing) The environment is everybody’s concern. I certainly play my part. I grew up in Tobago, so you know I need to be around the trees and rivers.
As a matter of fact when I need to get my focus I will take a drive into one of those scenic areas, roll down my glass and take it all in it renew my strength . Would come out and walk for hours if wasn’t for the crime situation.
You have an I Pod?
Who or what song you listen to the most?
(Leaning back on his chair) Not My music, but I love the Carpenters, Karen Carpenter Abba, and of course recently a lot of Michael Jackson.
What in store for 2010?
By the grace of God we will be having a great year. We have been working hard and we will be representing one and all.
We leaving that for you all to hear when it’s out. So keep your ears peeled.
Pirates, a word or two?
(Serious faced) We don’t make money from C/D sales. “Dem” pirates have no mercy. We only survive on performances.
If you were not in this business, what do you think you would have been doing?
(Excited) Advertising. I still think I could do it but I have no time. I can just see a product and think of how best to market it.
Any Last words?
I love my country, I love my people. Thanks to all my family, all my friends and all my fans, thanks for all support. Most of all, thanks to God who has given me the talents and the strengths to do this.
To find out more about Shurwayne Winchester, log on to his website at shurwaynewinchester.com
Shurwayne Winchester: Source - Shurwayne Winchester Facebook
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