Monday 26 October, 2020

Producers tap into children's music market with kid-friendly soca

If you ever felt uncomfortable with your child singing some soca lyrics, there is now a new project aimed at putting you at ease.

With Soca Kidz, Carnival Party: Vol 1, producers Kasey Phillips of Precision Productions and Kit Israel of Advokit Productions have reworked popular soca songs with children-friendly lyrics. 

These rewritten songs include hits by Machel Montano, Kes the Band, Farmer Nappy, Destra, Olatunji, Voice and Preedy.

“It’s 12 songs accompanied with a medley music video. It was an easy project because they are songs that Kit and I own. The songs were mixed and mastered already, we just cleaned it up and remixed it with the kids,” Phillips explained.

“The inspiration was the kids,” he said when asked what spurred this concept. “They don’t have music for them. Kit is a father and I have friends with kids. I always see them on YouTube watching videos, foreign songs with strange lyrics like “What Does the Fox Say’. Kit and I were playing X Box and discussing ideas and we wondered why it wasn’t done before.”

Israel has worked on songs such as the Kan Kan Riddim which spawned songs such as Olatujuni’s Groovy Soca Monarch winning song ‘Ola’, Benji’s ‘Phenomenal’, Flipo’s ‘Her Love’ and Sekon Sta’s ‘The Best’, Machel Montano’s ‘Human’, Aaron Duncan’s ‘Can you Feel It’, and the Road Trip and Intercol Riddims

Phillips, who is now based in Los Angeles, has produced multiple hits such as Voice’s ‘Cheers to Life’, which won the artiste the Soca Monarch title in 2016, ‘Machel Montano’s ‘Ministry of Road’, which won the Road March in 2013, ‘Mr Fete’, ‘Fog’ and ‘Bottle of Rum’ and the Antilles Riddim which gave us Kerwin DuBois’ ‘Bacchanalist’, Erphaan Alves ‘In Your Eyes’ and Nadia Batson’s ‘Shiver’.

He said when it comes to soca content, children end up singing content with adult lyrics and there are many people who, because of their religion or personal beliefs, are not comfortable with children singing those lyrics. The Soca Kidz compilation sees words such as wine and bumper replaced with more neutral lyrics.

In the opening song of the medley, for example, the words “jam down” in Voice’s ‘Cheers to Life’ are replaced with “jump up”.

“There are plenty opportunities that opens up with just clean lyrics. It is giving children local content as well. We got a video of a little girl who was watching the video and she said she wants to be in the next one.  Kidz Bop is unreachable to them so now they are seeing their peer and when you influence kids like that that is astronomical.”

The video, directed by filmmaker Steven Taylor, is a brightly coloured, happy affair similar to popular YouTube series Kidz Bop. In it, the children show off dances made popular by Fortnite and play musical chairs.

With the COVID-19 restrictions around the globe, the kids’ music industry is seeing an uptick in streaming as parents search for appropriate content for their children.

According to a USA Today article on March 31, said thanks to the lockdown, the music industry has seen double-digit streaming increases in kid-friendly music with streams jumping 12 percent week over week. Children's audio streams were up five percent, while video streams soared 22 percent.

Phillips said though they‘ve been working on this project for over a change, the timing is just right.

“Now the timing is even better but it wasn’t a determining factor. It’s just that I literally saw my friends’ children watch YouTube over and over and over and they don’t move. I said I need some of these streams. These videos have hundreds and millions of views.”

Phillips said if our mandate is to take this culture around the globe we should be exploring all possibilites for the music.

“You never know, the next soca superstar to be signed could be a kid,” he said.

With mainly positive feedback on the project, Phillips said the potential to expand in this new space is extensive.

“The children’s market is a different beast, once the reception is great we could give the kids original content and it could be year round, it’s not dependent on seasons. We could do reggae, pop, the possibilities are endless…we could do meet and greets, we could do anything.”

 

Credits for Soca Kidz, Carnival Party video

Executive Producers Precision Productions: AdvoKit Productions, R & S Productions

Director/Producer: Steven M. Taylor

Producer/Coordinator: Rheem C. Taylor

Director of Photography: Dominic Koo

Cinematographer: Ronin Operator Rankin Production

1st Assistant Director: Xoë Stanley

Dance Director: Curt Alexander

Dance Director's Assistant:  Melika Gillard

Art Director: Andre Cherrie

Visual Effects: Editor Jameel Bellerand

Production Designer:  Steven M. Taylor

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