Soca queen Fay-Ann full of life
It's no wonder “jump” is frequently heard in Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez's lyrics.
The soca queen is energetic, to put it mildly. She won the International Soca Monarch competition just six days before giving birth to her daughter Syri in 2009; her husband Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez, came second. She's a member of her husband's Asylum band and when she isn't performing, she's a homebody.
Despite the demands of her music career, she tries to be a full-time mom and makes sure her family has a homemade meal every night — even when she's performing.
The Trinidadian couple will perform at the Bermuda Salute Concert later this month.
They were last here two years ago for Soca Verses Reggae. The Royal Gazette recently caught up with Ms Lyons-Alvarez.
Q: Your parents, Austin Lyons (Superblue), and Lynette Steele (Lady Gypsy), are also soca artists. What was it like growing up in a musical family? Did you feel pressure to do the same?
A: My dad did not want me in music as he knew the stress that came with it; my mom had her own hang-ups about the industry. Either way, I always had my own mind and knew if I got into music it would be on my terms and how I felt was best for me.
Did you sing and perform as a child?
I did a few school concerts and performances, but I was more into sports.
What sort of hurdles have you had to overcome in your life?
One of the hurdles is having to deal with people who approach me with the notion that I am difficult, and then expect to not run into issues. Rumours and negative talk have been spread by persons that have never met me.
Additionally, strong women in this industry are not always welcomed — by both males and females.
What was it like to win the International Soca Monarch in 2009?
It was a great feeling from a history-making stand point, because I was the first female to win in the power category. Topping it off with the birth of my daughter six days later was just fantastic. She is six now.
You did that pregnant? That sounds tough.
Actually, I had a great pregnancy. I had none of the normally expected pregnancy woes.
How did you meet your husband?
My dad introduced us at the 1999 Brass Fest in New York, and we married in 2006.
Is it easier being married to another artist or more difficult?
Easier, there's less explaining to do.
What sort of challenges are there maintaining a relationship while working in the music industry?
The challenge is trying to keep the line between professional and personal visible.
Most persons tend to not know where one ends and the other begins.
Which songs are you most proud of?
Catch me, Display, Raze and Get on.
What do you listen to at home or in the car?
I mostly listen to my iPod. My playlists can only be described as eclectic.
Who has inspired you the most?
There are too many to list. TLC is one — selling 15 million records and filing for bankruptcy is a testament to management and label issues not being cleared up, plus artists not being in control of their business from a financial standpoint.
Do you have any new albums coming out?
Yes, my EP, Raze, just dropped and the album is due. I am doing a non-soca album with Boi Wonda from Canada, as well as some producers from Europe.
• The Bermuda Salute Concert is on August 29 at Tiger Bay in St George's. Gates open at 7pm. Tickets, $85 and $135, are available from www.ptix.bm, People's Pharmacy, Jamaican Grill and Fish & Tings. Rusty G, Gully Bop, Mavado, King-Jyrus, Coshaun, and Imari will also perform.