On the road to Bahamas - MMTS
The scouting for Music, Models and Talents to be Showcased (MMTS) started in December last year when Pia Glover Rolle a previous Bahamian International model now turned events Marketer visited Dominica. Off course it was during the election fever and the press had 'more important 'things to do.
Nonetheless some 9 delegates from Dominica passed the test of time from the 34 who auditioned; for five singers , three models and a song writer all we to now raise over 13,000.00 to be exposed to a conference type 6 day event which would have them exposed to some of the top agents in the music and fashion industry.
The agents consisted of Grammy award winner, reputed labels as Epic and a number of producers and casting crew involve in TV commercial.
Carla Armour Thomas who was the Regional director given the task to polish the talents by the utilization of local resources and spare head the necessary fund raising to make this once in a lifetime dream possible.
You are speaking here of well over 100,000.00 to be raised by 8 youths and an established song writer who also doubled up as a parents since his daughter was chosen as one of the singers, had to do so literally over a 6 month period through various fund raising activities and mainly through sponsorship.
Apart from the presence of the Minister of tourism and some technical support from LIME by way of tents and some paraphernalia nothing by way of finance for the group seem to be forth coming.
The regional director sent in the towel seemingly unable to cope or otherwise and so all and sundry was left to fend for themselves. Surely the three to five hundred dollars made at anchorage and fort young could not so much as put a dent in the $13,000 required per delegate! A number of sponsors after much begging and pleading as is required in Dominica assisted some of the delegates and these will be subsequently highlighted in part two of this article.
In the end five made it but not before the instrumental leadership of C- PAF Director Irvin Durand who assumed the role of Regional Director. He really galvanized the dishearten artists and renewed interest by seeking and getting in some cases assistance for those who were falling short re plane tickets, conference and hotel fees.
Technical trainers came on board Nathalie Marshall, Ophelia, Simeon Joseph, Michele Henderson, Cedric Phillip and a number of others came on board assisting with voice training, hair styling, stage tips etc all in an effort to groom the Dominican delegates.
On the plane en route to Bahamas were Janae Jackson and her father Ian Jackson; Carsim Birmingham and mother Joan Birmingham; Elaina ' Lyric' Joseph ; petite model and commercial spokesperson Shivaughn; and Hanif Gregoire of C-Paf who doubled as lyric's manager. In the Bahamas they were to join well over 200 other delegates from the region representing over 20 countries and islands at the exquisite New Melia Beach Resort.
At the opening parade of the islands it was very clear that Bahamians know very little of the rest of the OECS particularly Dominica. In fact the Dominican team refused to take the stage at the announcement of Republic of Dominica as our delegates were constantly referred to throughout even in our personal interactions. Even a couple of the scouting agents whose place of birth is actually Bahamas was confused and asked were Dominica is located , thinking Dominica Republic and Dominica were synonymous!
Well that did not daunt the delegates spirits even when our WCK composition of "767' was still not played despite prior instructions given to the DJ having the team to parade on some unfamiliar Soca by the TNT DJ.
Pia Glover Rolle MMTS visionary leader and CEO, then gave a synopsis of the effort, inspiration and determination which saw this massive undertaking through. Four ministers of government were present including that of the charismatic Prime Minister Perry Christie and not only identified but supported her efforts whose lengthy address did not bore as it was punctuated with jovial anecdotes and even a dance by the PM to the end!
The Prime Minister of Bahamas revealed that this over 400,000 strong countries with about 700 islands most of which are uninhabited has produced world renowned talent and provided empirical data to reveal that in his own country like Jamaica, Trinidad and St Lucia music and its ancillaries account for 5-7% of GDP. Phenomenal!
The point being made here is that we must find a way to assist our local artists and musicians by investing in our creative industries and minds of our region. PM Christie went on to state that Sydney Poitier one of the greatest black actors of all time stated off as an illiterate cleaning windows when someone who believed in his vision assisted him to read and write ; he then became an author , actor, and celebrity all because someone invested in him. Furthermore the statistic highlighted the fact that Shaun Paul and Shaggy combined brought in more income to Jamaica than their number one agricultural industry Bananas.
After such revelations were made cocktail were had and the delegates mingled knowing that the next day they would all be competing with each other to possible land music contracts, recording deals, get hooked up with modeling agencies and who knows. In the next issue….we will see!