Sunday, 27 May 2012 02:30
By D Francis
Antigua St john's - With the recent sounds, sights, and action making it evident that Carnival 2012 is indeed in the air, Caribarena.com caught up with two of TKO’s formerly (Tonik band) members at Beautiful People’s Mas camp and had a lovely chat.
Lead Vocalist Laurena Davis and Band Leader Dalton Dyer said the group is ready to take the band to the next level not only nationally but internationally as well.
"Music and entertainment, it’s just like a business… over the years you’ve got to regroup, refresh, refocus and we have rebranded to the catchy name - TKO (Tonik Knock Out) to bring a higher level of entertainment and party vibes to the public.”
Davis, like most great singers, started in the church at a young age. “I’ve always loved singing, I know some of my neighbours use to ‘cus’ cause I am always singing loud," she recalled.
"Even growing up in Ottos Comprehensive School, my passion has always been singing," she said. I traveled a lot with gospel groups as well.
She also did a number of performances at various hotels which, according to Dyer, is every singer’s/musician’s university.
“This experience in the hotel industry was really great for me. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, actually some visitors who heard me sing many years ago was back in Antigua the other day and remembered every detail of my performance down to what I was wearing, it was truly an amazing experience singing in the hotel industry, seeing the impact you have made on people.”
She added, "Once you have a great voice and good talent it would be recognized and you will reach places people. I’ve sang with lots of bands before moving on to be part of TKO’s team and I am loving it.”
Laurena joined TKO in 2009 and has since been growing in leaps and bounds.
She had the priviledge to work along with well-known artistes such as “Jah Cure, Antigua's Reggae ambassador, Causion, and many others
In 2010, she entered the LIME Party Monarch Groovy and Up-tempo Competition for carnival, where she was placed 3rd with her Groovy hit 'BABY' written by Craig Christopher and Produced by Dalton Dyer along with her up-tempo 'READY NOW' written by Laurena herself.
last year she qualified once again for the Finals in both categories, ranking in the top five with the hit (Sweet Bwoy) written once again by Mr. Craig Christopher and Produced by Mr. Dalton Dyer.
Calvin Southwell of the Mas troupe ‘Beautiful People is Marketing Manager for TKO and according to Dyer and Laurena, he is an awesome Leader. Dr Dwayne ‘Baba’ Thwaites is TKO’s Managing Director.
Laurena said ‘Marketing is very important for whatever product you are going to put out there. My experience with Calvin has been tremendous, an eye-opener… when his mind is set on something, that is what he’ll do and you bet it always comes out great….fabulous … he is very involved with the band.”
Dyer said of Calvin’ oh Calvin is great, he is very creative, when you have your own sound, your own identity, you just have to market that, put it in the faces of people out there, you can’t over market and I think Calvin is great where this concerned, we are a great team.
Laurena was also exciting about TKO’s/Beautiful People pre-carnival entertainment called ‘Xanadu’– the party of the muses, which gets rolling every Friday night at Beautiful People’s mas camp.
There’ll be no entrance fee...
Southwell said he is very happy to be associated with TKO for Carnival 2012.
‘I think it’s a great synergy, TKO has great music and I have great concepts and creativity and designs….so the two coming together will provide a great entertainment package for members of the public looking for a real great party band to have fun with.”
Dalton who plays the roles of Producer, writer and studio engineer said local artistes need to promote their own product a lot more
‘It doesn’t always have to be about money, you can do a gig here at a corner…a gig there…get on the radio, in the newspaper and do your thing, don’t wait on someone to do it for you”
‘We have a lot great bands and performers here, we have to support each other, we do all our productions at our own studio. Competition is good as long as it’s clean, that’s what really motivates me- good clean competition, taking it to the next level. We would like the public to support our music and don’t support piracy of any kind.”
Laurena said her reaching to these great heights in her musical career did not come easy. It takes years of hard work, lots of practice, sleepless nights and focus. The support of the fans has also been a driving factor for me. When I am performing I just to see the hands moving, or your lips moving to my song, that you are enjoying what I am doing and that’s propels and satisfies me”
TKO ‘s 2012 album has nine tracks seven of which are done by Laurena and two remixes. ‘Heavy bam-bam’ and ‘Roll it ‘are fiercely parading the airwaves and she has them as her competition tunes. Why let the cat out of the bag with regards to her choices?
Laurena said ‘I have nothing to hide management and I are confident that these are the ‘winning tunes’, I think they’ll do very well, I can imagine it now seeing everybody rolling it at the ARG come soca night”
She concludes “It’s my pleasure to team up with “Beautiful People’ I think it’s a great combination, we need to keep supporting all artistes.. all who make carnival special, we have the product, we have the people, we have the material, let’s all keep reaching for the stars and make Antigua and Barbuda proud.”