“Songshine was a kind of miracle. I was lucky enough to be part of making it happen.” — Gillian Moor
MusicTT’s upcoming workshop, The Business of Calypso Workshop featuring Calypso Rose on February 17, will present a series of panels covering the Essentials in Composing Calypso, Calypso Music Production and Music Business/Finance/Marketing. MusicTT’s General Manager, Jeanelle Frontin said the workshop is a collaboration with the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (Tuco) and the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of T&T.
Frontin said the workshop was part of a contract where sponsorship awardees are asked to give back to the industry “via a workshop or a webinar, something that tells your story and can teach the lessons that you’ve learned and the journey that you’re currently on.” In addition, the workshop was expanded because Tuco is interested in looking at how to revitalise the music genre.
She said the project was a joint effort between the organisations as MusicTT is trying to “break the ‘work in silos’ mentality that tends to be prevalent in our country, where people are passionate about doing something but they don’t realise that their neighbour might be doing it too. Money is also limited and so it’s really time to join together, stretch the dollar and make things far more effective with the little that we have.”
Frontin said the IPO was invited to join in the venture because the protection of intellectual property (IP) is vital “as a massive part of capitalising on the value that can come from your music, because when it’s not protected and when it’s not exploited properly, you’ll find a lot of advantage being taken and a lot of IP not being truly maximised, so they want to show in Calypso Rose’s process how that IP would have been protected, which is quite important.”
She said working with Calypso Rose has been a joy because “she is on fire. She can handle any question, she tells you her story, and it’s going to be important for as many people as possible to hear it, because what she has done and even in her 70s is a very big deal. People tend to give up at different points in the industry, but she’s a true success story of what holding on and investing in your craft can really bring.”
Frontin said she hopes people who are curious about getting into or are into calypso music who are not sure of its context would be able to take away lessons as to how calypso or any other genre of music can penetrate global markets. She also wants people to understand the different business relationships which need to be developed by an artist in order for their craft to progress. “Calypso Rose’s management team, her label, the people that represented her PR, the amount of money that has been invested into her PR tour in France itself was significant. So it cannot happen without a team. A lot of people try to do it on their own without even legal counsel and we want people to understand that you need to build your team around you, as well as what is needed to protect yourself and become profitable and sustainable as an artist.”
Frontin said she also hopes that people will be inspired by Calypso Rose’s story. “It’s one of our true inspirational stories that I feel you don’t have very often, where someone comes along and totally blows away every expectation you ever had as to what somebody could do at a certain point in their life. Calypso Rose is that, so if anyone could leave the workshop feeling completely inspired on their path, I feel like we’d have done a good job with that as well.”
Other panellists who will be sharing their stories include Robert Amar, Carl Beaver Henderson and Rudolph Ottley, among others, as well as Tuco members.