By winning both the Party and Groovy Soca Monarch Competitions in 2009, Tian Winter enters the 2010 Carnival season with great expectations resting upon his shoulders. However, in speaking to him you would never know, he says, “I see this as making beautiful and fun music, and I want to be able to make a career for myself outside of just singing at hotels and bars. The competitions come second to all of that and I place my own heavy expectations on myself in the studio. “
On the heels of his first set of releases for Carnival 2010, Tian hasn’t quite finished all his recording yet due to time constraints, as well as some financial setbacks stemming from his participation in the International Soca Monarch Competition in Trinidad at the top of the year. Sent to Trinidad to represent Antigua in the competition, Tian and his management ended up funding the entire operation after the promised Government funding never came through. Disappointed at how the whole situation played out, the reigning Soca King has been doing his best to put it all behind him.
Tian discloses that for sometime this year his voice was a bit tired. “I have a lighter voice than other singers who sing Soca.” he says, “It doesn’t take the constant beating as well as others and maybe I still need work in terms of how I use my voice, but all in time”. He admits that the first vocals for his recent released song ‘One More Time’ were initially recorded at a busy period. They were scrapped and redone at a later date when he went to record other songs; at that time he was sleeping and resting more. Not to worry though ladies, your favorite crooner, hasn’t lost his mojo.
The other songs released for this year’s Carnival, ‘Its Your Wine’, ‘Turn it Around’ and ‘Sugar Sweet’, are already radio favorites. Winter is very excited about the feedback, but has no idea which song he will be doing in the Groovy Soca Monarch as he confesses to loving them all. In addition to working with writers and producers locally such as, Craig Christopher, Dalton Dyer, Hayden “Tone-a-Voice” Brown and Jus Bus, Tian continues to spread his wings across the islands working with producers out of Grenada, Barbados and Trinidad.
When asked about the apprehension some persons have expressed with him utilizing overseas producers, he responds, “I’ve heard it recently by persons I’ve worked with and respected here, but I will continue to do it because I believe the music is becoming very Caribbean. You find Faye-Ann Lyons doing the majority of her recordings in St. Lucia and Patrice Roberts doing quite a bit in Barbados. Machel Montano works with persons from all over the Caribbean including Craig Christopher and Burgah right here in Antigua. “
Just a few weeks ago, Claudette ‘CP’ Peters announced that she would be returning to the Soca Monarch competition. Asked about his thoughts on the subject, Tian confidently replies, “I will be defending my crown against all who show up to claim it”. With the existence of so many talented Antiguan Soca artists, he is conscious that the competition isn’t limited to just one person. However he does concede that he welcomes her return and would never underestimate her as she is the undefeated queen.
With rumors and accusations about the state of his professional relationship with Nu Edition swirling around, Tian decides to set the record straight, “People talk without knowing what’s really going on and yes there were times that my future with them was a big question and there were issues that we had to work out as four mature men…issues that my career outside of the band caused, and also many communication problems, especially on my part. But we live and learn and move on so NO – it’s not that I believe I am too big for the band because they remain a big part of where I’ve come from. There may come a time when we go our separate ways because of different paths, but it’s just for us to ensure that it’s not on bad terms.”
It seems everything changed for Tian since winning the double crowns. “You suddenly become a public figure and your life becomes something that everyone believes they can judge and criticize. I’ve seen it with other artists but experiencing it is something very different” he says. “I would be the first to tell you that I’m not perfect. If people would spend more time looking at themselves, they would realize that they aren’t perfect either.”
Wondering what he will be brining for the up-tempo competition, well he has a song titled ‘Hurricane’, which he claims is going to blow away the competition – no pun intended! His thoughts about competitions are quite interesting, “I think at this stage of my career they are important” he says. “Winning the double crown put me on the map and I am grateful for that. But I definitely respect Tizzy for doing what she’s doing by not entering and focusing on taking her name, El-A-Kru’s name and Antigua’s name beyond our island. I would love to get away from that competition side of it eventually but for now it’s something I will put my all into.” Plus as he states, “Winning is fun.”
Aiming for the highest heights, Tian aspires to conquer it all. Grateful for the support from Myst Carnival Inc, he also says thanks his biggest sponsor LIME, having recently joined the Red Hot Flames as one of their leading spokespersons here in Antigua. Winter is also the face of Cavalier Rum, promising to ensure that like the brand he will be ‘bringing vibes to the party’.
All of Winter’s experiences, the good, the bad, and the in between have helped to make him a much more rounded individual. Although he longs for that period, two years ago, when no one cared about what he did and when his mistakes weren’t so public, he understands that it is all a learning phase of the entertainment business. Tian knows that his success is only now beginning, and for living his dream, he is willing to endure it all and push forward.