Thursday, August 30, 2007

WE Spotlight - Ghetto Flex

by Karen L. Richardson

Hilton “Ghetto Flex” Dalzell has humbly offered his commanding vocals to audiences for years. The dreadlocked soca front man began singing publicly at age five. His is the rich bassy voice behind soca standards like Golo, Wine and Bend Over, and Soca Daddy. But now is the time for change. In an exclusive interview with, Ghetto Flex for WE Entertainment magazine, he announces his departure from Imij and plans for the future.

KR: When did you leave Imij and Co.?

GF: I already left de band. That happened [in April]. I left officially. I haven’t gone public with it yet. I was looking for the right time and the right medium which I think this is. Still it’s not public knowledge as such.

KR: Did you take anyone with you?

GF: No, I don’t think that would be a good thing. First and foremost, I never wanted to disturb de flow of de band. So, I left on my own. Leaving with somebody would be a very bad thing and I’m not about trying to harm de flow of it. Because the members of the band are my friends, you know what I mean?

KR: Why did you decide to leave?

GF: Well, a couple of personal reasons. Part of it was family reasons, family business. I had to go away for a while and take care of some business. You see being in a band is a lot of commitment where time is concerned. There are things that I want to start that I’m embarking on that need a little more time. So, I had to make my exit to start some other ventures.

KR: What are some of those ventures?

GF: I’m in the middle of planning the next year where the career is concerned. I am working on my album. I have more time to do that and also I’m embarking on [party] promotion a little bit. I just did my first little promotion [in May] which was really good. We go under the name Celebrity Events.
I’m known for doing collaborations with artistes here, which is something that wasn’t very popular in soca. And I am looking to stretch out to de international. I actually started working with a couple of international artists. I think soca has become very adaptable. Well music on a whole has become very adaptable. Everything is mixing, so I think it’s the perfect time to try and get it out. I’m doing some projects with international artists. I have some Canadian artists under my wing and plus some American artists.
I’m presently working with Studio 53 [recording reggae]. I’ve already started. That has always been a love for me. Being partly responsible for ragga soca, I feel responsible to be there ensuring that they move to the next step in developing our own reggae artists, which I think is a good thing. People may say that it’s not our culture, but I think reggae music is Caribbean culture. Trinidad does listen to a lot of dancehall and reggae, so it would be even better if we could listen to our own. So, I’m gonna to a couple of those too.

KR: I have heard rumours that you are starting your own band. Can you confirm that?

GF: Eventually that is what I’m heading to, but that wouldn’t be immediate because that takes some time and planning. That’s the reason I took the time. People might think that I just left the band to form muh own band. It’s not a matter of that. First, I have to develop myself as an artist again, as an individual artist and then, that would be the ending result then. That is what it will lead to.

KR: In regards to your personal performance, how would you say the 2007 season has been?

GF: It was fair. The band does a lot of the events in Trinidad. I think being in a band you don’t get time to develop personally. Remember you’re doing a lot of covers, and always on de road, which is not a bad thing financial-wise. But looking at personal growth, there wasn’t much time for that as such.

KR: Which of your musical contributions would you say best exemplifies your niche in soca?

GF: There’s no particular best song as such. I think it’s the overall personality, if I say that myself! Not wanting to be conceited or anything…de whole package. I would say I appeal to a broad audience from kids to mothers. I don’t want to say pop-oriented where soca is concerned, but I was responsible for the evolution of ragga soca.

KR: In your opinion, what is the greatest accomplishment of your career thus far?

GF: I think the main accomplishment is staying in de soca arena without having a major major hit every year. People look at de overall package, de performances, de songs. I did a lot of collaborations. I created a new kinda sound; Wine and Bend Over, Rock Your Body. These are songs that I was doing almost nine, ten years ago. And people still see interest in it, which I think is important because it shows longevity. The music lasts. I concentrate on making music that lasts. Not just a hit for this year. Daiz my main advantage. I can’t say anything until it’s done. Sorry.

1 comment:

(Nurse) Karen said...

It was awesome to see that Ghetto Flex foray into the solo world did not hurt him one bit during TT carnival 2008. I really enjoyed speaking to Hilton about his career...and we bonded over both of us having two born-Vincentians for parents!