Soca artiste Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez has been officially removed as both chairman and creative director of Trinidad and Tobago’s International Soca Monarch. In a surprise move on Monday, it was announced that Simon Baptiste will now serve as creative director.
The Raze singer initially announced last week that she was stepping down as chairman, indicating that she had not been given the green light to move forward with any plans for the 2020 competition.
While she said she had plans in place since August of last year, she couldn’t make any official moves since she didn’t own the franchise. And, with the semi-finals mere weeks away, the former Road March champ said she had no real time to prepare and properly organise logistics.
“This year I was not given a timely go-ahead to start.”— Fay-Ann Lyons
In a lengthy Instagram post, she said: “This year I was not given a timely go-ahead to start, and as such my heart cannot be put into a rushed product. I believe in giving the public a Soca Monarch they deserve and with limited time it becomes harder to accomplish. I don’t own the event, so I do wait on the say-so of others.”
Although she stepped down as chairman, she thought she still retained the role as creative director until Monday’s announcement of Baptiste’s appointment.
When she called the Geoffrey Wharton-Lake, co-owner of ISM, she said she was told that the team offered Baptiste the position and decided to work with him going forward. She was also told that she would be receiving official correspondence confirming her termination.
Simon Baptiste is the CEO and founder of Question Mark Entertainment and is well known on Trinidad’s entertainment scene as manager of Kes The Band and Nadia Batson. Question Mark also manages and host events including Kes The Band’s annual carnival concert, Tuesday on the Rocks and Decibel Entertainment Festival, a four-day event that exposes teens and young adults to career opportunities in the creative arts and entertainment.
Lyons-Alvarez assumed both roles for ISM in 2019, earning high praise for a well-executed show that returned Power Soca to the forefront of the competition. From 2016 to 2018 the two sub-genres were merged into one category, resulting in one winner. Lyons-Alvarez restored the two categories for the 2019 competition, advocating that the two categories were distinct and needed their individual judging criteria. Grenada’s Mr Killa won for Power Soca while Trinidad and Tobago’s Swappi won the Groovy category.
The ISM semi-finals are carded for February 2 while the finals will be held on February 21.