About the Spotlight Artistes of Cohort 4
If you asked Arielle Alexa where she would be 10 years ago, becoming a singer/songwriter probably would have been the first thing she would want to say. Arielle knew she had the talent from an early age but was always too timid to pursue singing seriously. However, when Arielle set foot into her first audition, it was love at first song and she never looked back.
In 2019, Arielle toured India twice with DJ Bravo and his team to perform their successful singles “Love You Baby” & “2 easy” which, combined, have over 2 million views on YouTube. Arielle is setting her sights on the global stage and has been feverishly working in the studio crafting her sound and image as she embarks on the next phase of her career.
BLAIR is a singer, songwriter and young upcoming artiste from Cascade, Trinidad. The 25-year-old’s passion for music, specifically Soca music, has been developing from an early age. BLAIR started performing at the age of 7 and has been growing and building his craft ever since. During his young life, BLAIR has had the opportunity to live in various cultural environments such as Trinidad, the UK and the US, developing a diverse and all-round musical appreciation.
BLAIR Joined the A Team Band in 2015 as a frontline singer for 2 years, performing at some of the biggest events for carnival and sharing the stage with some of the biggest artistes in the industry before returning to the US to complete his degree. In 2018, BLAIR won his first professional competition and became the “Trinidad & Tobago Next Superstar” with his song “Do Yuh Thing in De Mas”.
BLAIR’s most recent contribution came in 2020 with his single titled “Bad Enuh”. Produced by Mical Teja and Written by Darryl Gervais & Mical Teja, this track provides a sweet and spicy groovy contribution to the art form.
Carlton Louison is a versatile artist with uncompromising beliefs. He grew up loving gospel greats like Fred Hammond and Kirk Franklin and, in 2006, produced his debut Gospel Album " Praise Him Up" which is currently available on Apple’s iTunes. His group opened for Donnie McClurkin and represented Trinidad and Tobago at the prestigious Barbados Gospel Fest in 2008.
His love for country, and the indigenous art forms of his homeland, drew him to Calypso. Over the past 10 years, his music career saw exponential growth, moving from Corporate Calypso Monarch at TSTT to Young Kings finalist to National Monarch semifinalist in 2018. Carlton was also a guest artist at Carifesta, a Caribbean arts festival. His vocals have been compared to the likes of David Rudder a Calypso Icon.
Ishana, born Sarah Ishana Seukeran is a 23-year-old indie-pop singer-songwriter from Carenage, Trinidad. After getting a taste for the music industry as a rhythm guitarist for local band The Flick, Ishana launched a solo project showcasing her original music which blends confessional songwriting with pop melodies all informed by her love for a wide variety of musical styles including R&B/Soul, Jazz, Reggae, Pop/Rock and many more. In April 2020, Ishana released her self-produced debut EP ‘Dear Anxiety’ which showcases this eclectic musical style through five unique tracks.
Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ishana has yet to take these original songs to the stage but she continues to share music in other ways, collaborating with other local artists and producers to create virtual performances of covers, remixes and new original songs during the lockdown.
Shurnelle Spencer grew up in the twin Island of Trinidad and Tobago. She developed a love for different forms of the Arts in her early childhood. Music, painting and poetry became the truest form of expression for her. Throughout Shurnelle’s academic journey, she took every opportunity to develop her God-given talents. However, she discovered her "voice" when her father passed away in 2010. Music became a refuge for her through that difficult time.
Within the past seven years, Shurnelle has developed her musical gift and has a passion for reaching others through song. She has spent time within the gospel arena doing background vocals for local artistes like Nisa Nora, Marc Isaacs as well as international artiste Vashawn Mitchell. In 2018 she was blessed with the opportunity to sing and be featured with the University of the Southern Caribbean Orchestra and Maurice Griffin. In 2019 she had her first big independent concert called "Limitless" which was a huge success. She also had the opportunity to open for Hilsong London in 2019 Glow festival in Tobago.
During the past few years, her ministry has taken her to St Lucia, St Marteen, Punta Canna and England to name a few. She serves as a Worship leader and Gospel / inspirational artist. Her songs include: "Amazing", "Running Ova”, her Christmas cover of "Mary Did You Know". Her latest Release “Earth Has no Sorrow“ was produced by Roger Ryan of AfterTouch. Other Collaborations include: “Claim it” Flavia Beswick ft Shurnelle Spencer and “Kind of Love” Skevos ft Shurnelle. “War Path” Brandon Best and Shurnelle.
Verlene Charles, artistically known as Yelena, has been singing ever since the age of seven years old and is a professionally trained Vocalist (Advanced Level) at CBIPA (Chris Balbosa Institute of the Performing Arts) formerly known as CVA (Chris Vocal Academy). She is the second girl in a family of seven, hailing all the way from south Trinidad, in the village of Vessigny, La Brea. Her unique style and fusion of sounds make her stand out as a versatile singer. In a heavily populated male genre, Yelena fits right in with the touch of her vocal sound of contemporary gospel and R&B on a dancehall rhythm fused with pop, afro tones and percussions. Her passion is to send a gospel message through music in a way no one else can.
About MusicTT’s Spotlight Programme
The reality is that not all artistes are ready for the global stage in terms of quality and/or export-readiness. Some may already be at a world-class standard but are in need of business acumen, legal guidance and the right networks. Spotlight therefore was created to identify and recruit these artistes on an annual basis where they will benefit from music business capacity development and upskilling with the intent to export.
MusicTT’s Spotlight: An Artist Portfolio Development Programme (APDP) provides 9 months of business development, skills training and music export activities. Spotlight Artistes will be provided with the following services:
- Artiste branding & styling
- Interview techniques and media engagement
- Spotlight Photoshoot
- Vocal/Instrument and Stage performance training
- Social Media Management and Mentoring
- Business of Music workshop
- Workshops and consultations with intellectual property expert
- Songwriting and inclusion on Spotlight EP production for sync distribution
THE OPEN CALL HAS ENDED. SUBMISSIONS ARE NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED!
Stage 1: Expression of Interest
- An act can be a singer and or instrumentalist, performing original music.
- All Acts must indicate their interest to compete for entry into the Spotlight Programme by agreeing to the Spotlight Terms & Conditions and by completing the submission process via the google form link here available on the MusicTT website NO LATER THAN 11:59PM on Monday 30th November, 2020.
- All submissions will be screened by a panel independent of MusicTT staff. Failure to meet the criteria or non-submission of requested information will result in automatic disqualification. Selected Acts must compete in the Showcase for entry into Spotlight.
Expression of Interest Checklist
Artistes must be prepared to submit/upload ALL of the following information via the Google link:
- Agree to Spotlight’s Terms & Conditions
- Artiste Contact information
- If applicable: Manager’s contact information
- Identify Type of Act & genre(s) of music
- Provide Social Media Handles: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
- Singers must submit via a link(s) a minimum of 3 productions/releases (E.g. YouTube or Vimeo links)
- Singers Only: An endorsement letter for your Act must be signed by a Producer you have worked with. (NOTE: If you are a Producer and have produced your own work, you cannot endorse yourself. Please find another Producer willing to attest to your capabilities and professionalism) Must include Producer’s contact info. Submit this in 1 PDF File and Title the PDF File: First Name Last Name-Producer Endorsement-Spotlight Submission. Example: Jane Singh-Producer Endorsement-Spotlight Submission.
- Instrumentalists only must submit via a link(s) a minimum of 3 productions/performances (E.g. YouTube or Vimeo links)
- As an instrumentalist, If you are submitting based on performances at concerts, festivals, fetes etc.… you must provide an endorsement letter in the same producer format cited below from the Event Promoter or the person responsible for hiring acts for that particular event. An endorsement letter for your Act must be signed by a Producer you have worked with. (NOTE: If you are a Producer and have produced your own work, you cannot endorse yourself. Please find another Producer willing to attest to your capabilities and professionalism) Must include Producer’s contact info. Submit this in 1 PDF File and Title the PDF File: First Name Last Name-Producer Endorsement-Spotlight Submission. Example: Jane Singh-Producer Endorsement-Spotlight Submission.
- Upload Image of Passport Bio Data Page or Trinidad and Tobago national ID Card
- A profile (professional) photo of yourself (no ‘selfies’) and an artist bio NOT exceeding 150 words.
- An endorsement letter for your Act to the Spotlight Programme signed by a Producer you have worked with. Must include Producer’s contact info.
- A video introducing yourself, explaining why you want to be in the Spotlight programme; then singing/performing one verse and chorus (only) of an original song. Video must not exceed 120 seconds in total.
Stage 2: Selection
- The panel independent of MusicTT staff will screen all suitable artistes (those who have submitted ALL the requested information) and recommend 15 Acts to compete in the Spotlight Entry Showcase which will take place at a date to be determined. Please click the link here to view the rubric that will be used to assess the submissions of all Acts.
- Acts that have qualified for the Spotlight Entry Showcase will be notified by MusicTT to ensure agreements to the rules and regulations of the Spotlight Entry Showcase are signed by all performing acts. Any act not agreeing to the rules and regulations for performing at the Spotlight Entry Showcase will be disqualified, and the act that followed them in the scoring system will be offered their place.
- For participants who have not qualified at this stage, please note: we do not believe that your lack of qualification for the Spotlight Entry Showcase in any way indicates that you lack the talent or skill to become an international act. In the interim, we encourage you to register as a performer on the Live Music District here.
Stage 3– Showcasing to the Music Executive Panel
- The Top 15 Acts selected from the pool of all submissions by the pre-screening panel independent of MusicTT staff must all agree to the rules and regulations of this Showcase in order to perform on a date to be finalized in early December.
- All Acts must prepare one song for this showcase. While original music is preferred, cover songs are also allowed across any genre of music.
- Each song must be a maximum of 5 minutes. Acts that attempt to perform songs that are longer than 5 minutes will result in the immediate disqualification of the Act.
- Due to Covid-19 measures. The showcase will be streamed digitally. Therefore, all Acts must agree to attend on the date of filming put in place by MusicTT for this Showcase. Acts will be permitted to perform their song live only once. The recording of this performance will be sent to the music executive panel to judge.
- The Music Executive Panel will judge this Music Showcase. Information regarding the judges will be released at least a week before the show.
- This Panel will be responsible for choosing the Acts that are deemed suitable for the Spotlight Programme. These Acts will be considered to be closest to “export-readiness” and the judges will indicate what skills and training will be necessary for these Acts to reach the global stage. The judges’ decisions are final.
- While MusicTT aims for a Spotlight portfolio of 6 Acts, the judges may deem the Acts seen as in need of further development before they reach a stage of export potential. As such, the Spotlight portfolio may end up being much smaller.