Abiyah performs at the 2021 Calypso semifinals
Abiyah performs at the 2021 Calypso semifinals

Nicole "Abiyah" Christian-Alfred is no stranger to the stage having participated in many singing competitions. She made her entry into the Calypso competition in 2020 but did not proceed beyond the quarter finals.

Abiyah, her stage-name, means "Yahweh is my Father."

"It took me about a year to get this name. I was at university studying our history as a people and was trying to find out what we have been doing with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade so that's when I stumbled upon the Hebrew origin of us who came to the West," she said.

With a song entitled "Anou Palay", written by her husband Hilroy O. Alfred, she has made it to the finals of the Dominica Calypso competition for the first time. "It's nerve racking but rewarding and a hard time for all of us but it's a bright shining star just making it to the finals and has lifted me up and I am thankful for this experience. So let's see how it works out," she said.

She said her husband has so far been complementary, working together and respecting each other in the process.

"We respect each other's craft. Together we are a strong team. He gives me liberty to give it the melody and make adjustments and it's working well so far," she said.

Last year Abiyah came close to the finish line but she fell through and she was forced to go back to the drawing board. This, she said, helped her as she listened and took the advice of her fans.

Her song "Anou Palay" (meaning "Let us talk") speaks about societal issues and everyday life, with people playing the "blame game" on political issues.

"So the first verse talks about the music, how the music needs improvement. The second verse speaks about the lack of fathers and considers how we treat our fathers. The third verse speaks about the economic situation…yes we need a population increase but how do we do it. The fourth verse speaks about the uplifting of the farmers, let us come together," she said.

She added: "Now we have the decriminalization of marijuana how we can use it to our benefit health-wise. it's not all about the smoking, fuel, clean fuel, clothing textile all can come through with the proper use of marijuana; the Sisserou it's so beautiful and we can use it all to our advantage so this is also all part of the process."

She said Calypso allows artistes to bring out various messages and it is a very important part of our culture.

Her message to people who venture into this art form is: "Know who you are; be sure and focused and know what you want to represent; be grounded in what you believe, the name that you choose; be educated in the music". Abiyah, 32, has been married for five years and has no children. She is an early childhood educator.