Two weeks ago when the T&T Guardian interviewed young singing sensation Erphaan Alves, then a semifinalist in the Digicel International Power and Play Whe Groovy Soca Monarch competitions, his focus was to present a good enough performance at the semifinals to get him into the finals. Well, at the Arima Velodrome last Sunday, Alves convinced the judges that he was “finalist material” when he gave his all in both categories with his compositions In Your Eyes and Terrible, landing him on the official finalist list in both categories, announced on Tuesday by Caribbean Prestige Foundation for the Performing Arts. When contacted, the 20-year-old pelau lover was in a celebratory mood, as he was lapping up every moment of his accomplishment after having only made it to the semifinals in the past five years. “I am elated, it’s just a great feeling. After all these years the hard work is finally paying off,” he said. The songwriter confessed, however, since the unveiling of the good news he has been “taxing” his brain about his presentation for the finals.
Quizzed on what he thought gave him the edge this time around, Alves disclosed the change in time allotted to performers from eight minutes to five, really worked for him, as in the past he would never perform long enough to complete the eight minutes. “It was just pace from start to finish. With the new time I got to plan out my performance. It was just enough time to keep the crowd hype and to get all that I planned in.” He also noted that his focus at the Velodrome was not on “mashing up the place”, but rather presenting the song to the crowd and the judges and getting them familiar with it and Erphaan Alves the artiste as well, which he believes he succeeded in doing. “I expected to come off in both categories and that is what I worked towards at the semifinals. The song I sang in the power category (Terrible) was released late so there wasn’t enough time for airplay for people to get accustomed to it, which is why I placed more emphasis on performing that song on Sunday,” he added.
Constructive criticism is not something Alves turns up his nose at. The Chaguanas native articulated, following his performance at the semifinals, that he received some pointers from people who constructively critiqued him. He said they gave advice he will definitely use come Fantastic Friday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
“I expect to pull off a spectacular presentation and a great performance on that night, so I am really focusing on my songs and performance,” he reiterated.
Even as this youngster goes up against experienced heavyweights like Machel Montano, Iwer George and Kees Dieffenthaller, he wishes them best of luck at the finals and lends advice to newcomers, like him, to the competition. “For some the journey would have only just begun. It took me five disappointments to get here, so it must happen for you at some time. “The competition is a stepping-stone for our music careers…it’s a great platform to begin any soca artiste’s career because it’s globally known and well respected,” he advised.
“I am looking forward to the show and the continued support from my fans out there.”