Chutney Soca Monarch enjoys 4M views in 30 Days
TSTT Corporate Communications
One festival that has seen a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic is the International Chutney Soca Monarch powered by local communications solution provider bmobile and other corporate entities. By way of streaming, digital and social media channels, the organisers of the annual competition have seen phenomenal growth in their viewership, global interest and even the range of contestants and competitors.
Gerard Cooper, General Manager Shared Services at TSTT, noted his pride in the Chutney Soca Monarch's continued growth as a viable and technology-driven brand. "Holding our culture up for the world to see gives us immense joy and allows us to show the world just how diverse we are in our talent. There is room for all areas of our Carnival to grow with the right inputs of corporate partnership and the right elements of technology and social media too," he added. Similar to last year, this year’s titleholders will also enjoy one year of free mobile service from bmobile.
"We are working hard to maintain and build on what we did in 2021 when there were no physical events allowed," George Singh, CEO of Southex Promotions, noted. "For the semi-finals this year, 32 separate videos were recorded and posted to Facebook, YouTube and social media sites like Instagram and Tik Tok. Judges were in-person to adjudicate and made up 60% of the vote, with voting making up 30% and viewership accounting for the final 10%," he highlighted. According to Singh, the 2022 Edition has enjoyed up to 4M views across all of its social media channels for videos promoting the event and ones with entrants' videos. Even with repeat views by the same persons overlapping, this is an incredible number for what was once considered a non-Carnival event. Singh noted he has had to battle over the years, and still does, to prove that Chutney Soca has a place in Carnival. "We would never have known this interest existed across T&T and indeed across the world had it not been for the pandemic," he added.
According to Singh, there are some robust indicators of growth for the genre and the competition. The highest number of views for the brand on Tik Tok in the Caribbean came from Jamaica, which accounted for 24% of total views, with T&T coming in with 22%. Overall, for the semi-finals, the most extensive viewership came from T&T with 50.7%, USA (19%), Canada (9.3%) and Guyana (5.9%), according to the official Southex release, which enjoyed 600K views alone from more than 50 countries. Another fascinating aspect of the brand's forays into digital platforms was how viewers enjoyed the show. According to Singh, over 70% of viewership was enjoyed on smartphone and tablet screens - over traditional television or even computer screens. Southex noted that over 11,000 votes were counted for this year's semi-final using the Text-To-Vote technology provided by an indigenous telecommunications provider, bmobile.
In 2022, five women will compete for the Chutney Soca Queen crown currently held by first titleholder and defender, Nisha Ramsook. The Queen of Chutney Soca Monarch (CSM) title was introduced in 2021 as one of several new changes to the 27-year old competition. And this year, the reigning champion Imran 'GI' Beharry will also return to defend his crown as Chutney Soca Monarch King. Like many Carnival based events, adaptation was crucial for survival - but Southex Promotions, the event organisers may be enjoying one of the best outcomes from the forced transition to digital platforms.
Ramsook is looking forward to defending her crown in a heated competition year that sees both the King and Queen return to the stage after the virtual semi-final competition. “My experience as the first CSM Queen was truly an amazing feeling. I would like to wish everyone the best of luck in the competition but also remind my fellow competitors that there is life after competition too! And the important things in life are what I am truly grateful for - my friends and family but also my supporters and fans too,” she noted. Ramsook will return with ‘Lion on Stage’, a track she wrote, that was produced by Maha Productions. She also looks forward to returning to live performances. “Most of my performances in 2021 were cancelled due to COVID-19, but I have been very grateful for the title and this opportunity to showcase Chutney Soca in a different light,” Ramsook added.
Imran ‘GI’ Beharry, who will defend his title in 2022, is keen to continue flying the T&T flag through music. "I am grateful to have this platform again as the competition celebrates its 27th year this year. I plan to give it my very best and I hope to make it three in a row - a three-peat - and make history," he noted. GI spent six months on tour in the US due to his win in 2021, stating, "I flew the red, white and black flag across the US, building my fan base but also winning new fans to Chutney Soca music," he added. "I want to thank Southex for continuing this competition despite the challenges, and I heartily thank sponsors like bmobile who have helped ensure that we hold this competition once again. I also thank the fans and the media - the TV stations and radio houses that contribute to building up Chutney Soca here in T&T and across the world as well," he added.
The Grand Final will feature an exceptional opening performance by the 'World's Greatest Chutney Soca Artiste' Ravi B and his full band Karma featuring Nisha B and Abbyshi. Limited tickets are available for the Grand Final at SAPA in San Fernando on Saturday 26th February 2022. Patrons must observe all public health protocols and must show proof of vaccination. There will be an all-inclusive weekend giveaway for one lucky viewer by Tropikist Beach Hotel and Resort, lots of hampers, and a special door prize from Dansteel Limited.
The 14 Finalists who will go up against GI Beharry (GIB) are as follows:
Ranjeev Ramdeen - (New York) RLR
Raquel John - RSJ
Master Saleem - RUM
Neeshan' Hitman' Prabhu - NPH
Ramrajie Prabhu - RPQ
Veejai Ramkissoon - VSR
Ricky Khando RRK
Navin' D Prince' Prabhu - PNP
Nel Ramdass - NEL
Daddy Chinee - DCJ
Shazzie Ramsumir - SHZ
Nisha Ramsook - NIS
Kenneth Salick - KEN
Captain Kendal - CAP
Text To Vote Details:
bmobile customers can text their favourite ARTISTE CODE to 64726 from any bmobile number in Trinidad and Tobago. Each text costs $2.
International voting and customers of other providers in T&T can text their favourite ARTISTE CODE to 1-868-798-2661. The cost of the text will be determined by their service provider.