Thursday, August 30, 2007

WE Spotlight - Zoelah – Ready to Fly Away

By Karen L. Richardson



Everybody crawls before they can walk, but one soca baby is taking leaps ahead of the competition. Zoelah Boyde is the sassy voice behind Go Down Low, an instant ladies anthem shooting straight up the charts in Toronto.

Her steady climb to success was accelerated by winning the Best New Song competition at the official St. Vincent carnival launch held back in May. “At the new song competition, the crowd went crazy before she even went on stage,” said manager Alex ‘Kubiyashi’ Barnwell. Zoelah successfully crushed the opposition and she has not looked back since.
“I feel it’s a blessing,” said Zoelah retracing her steps in the music industry. The 22-year-old hails from Campden Park, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a suburb of the capital that is also home to former Soca Monarch and OECS Soca Monarch Bomani. She was just 17 when she began touring as a frontline vocalist with Signal. After contributing her crystal vocals to the mix for nearly two years, Zoelah set out on her own to release In and Out for Vincy Mas 2003.
Next she would move to Tortola where she continued to sing. Zoelah returned home with a bang in 2006. Kicking Dust earned her a place in the Soca Monarch Finals. Dressed in white, and dancing up storm, no one could deny this was a talent to watch.

Boyde’s second carnival release, Fly Away, perks the ears immediately due to a chorus melody borrowed from Kelly Clarkson’s Since You’ve Been Gone. The tune was given a new burst of energy thanks to a rhythmic road mix by Hot 97’s DJ Scratch Master. “I listened to the track by Alex when it was being produced and was immediately hit with the great potential I knew it would have,” said Scratch Master, “the instructions caught me. I found them to be unique. One day while home I was saying to Alex ‘this song needs a road element’. The vibe hit me and I did it in three hours. The rest is history.” Over the 2007 carnival season, the revved up version became more popular than the original.

Zoelah enjoyed maximum exposure at Vincy Mas, performing at highly sought after carnival tickets like Glow and H20 Soca. She entertained huge crowds as a warm-up act for Bunji Garlin, Machel Montano HD and Destra Garcia. Her voice was heard nationwide over the airwaves singing Together Now and Bandanas in collaboration with Skinny Fabulous.

Finally, she would get her true moment in the spotlight with her return to the Soca Monarch stage. “Zoelah gave me goose bumps!” said Steven Veira, a judge for the Carnival Development Corporation. That night’s rendition of Fly Away earned the diva a third place finish.

“I want to keep soca music cultural. When I hear a riddim, I start thinking about lyrics and melodies and real Caribbean party vibes,” said Zoelah. That was her writing process for Go Down Low. Add top soca arranger/producer, Kubiyashi of Non-Fiction Recordings to the callaloo and you’ve got yourself a hit. The rest of the recipe fell into place thanks to guitarist Zan George, whose rock inspired accents give the song its gritty edge.

“That girl has talent and I believe in her. She needs a push in the right direction and I really think she can do big things. She's very humble and unassuming,” said Vanesta Murphy, a journalist with St. Vincent’s Searchlight newspaper.

That push is coming from some major Canadian DJs whose fans can’t get enough of Zoelah. “If you see girls holding onto the railing in front of them on the boat yesterday and going down. Oh Lawd!” said Jester of Xcaliber International, co-host of the World Wide Wake Up Show on 89.5 FM. Fellow host DJ Chief says, “She almost sounds like a young Destra!” Go Down Low has steadied at the number one position on their Top 6 @ 6 chart for three weeks, ahead of international acts such as Akon, Kanye West, Daville and Mavado, Freeway and Jay-Z, and Ne-Yo and Mary J. Blige.

“The song is everywhere. It’s in Canada. It’s in England. So after [carnival] I hope to be very busy travelling outside of St. Vincent,” said Zoelah. At home, her successful season earned her major endorsement deals with Digicel and Courts, but the work abroad is just beginning. She makes her first Canadian appearance at KOS J’Ouvert in August.

For more information on Zoelah visit www.myspace.com/zoelah

1 comment:

(Nurse) Karen said...

Miss Zoelah Boyde. I remember seeing her performing "Kicking Dust" in a white outfit at the SVG Soca Monarch Finals in 2006. She was unknown then, but I knew she just needed the write song and the right team. Seems like she found both of those in 2007. Respect to Kubiyashi and Non-Fiction Recordings...

Oh yeah...and Zan George ( is dem guitars wha mek Go Down Low so wikked)