“It’s a competition and everybody is trying to win.”
Those were the words of Kelly “Rootsman Kelly” Clyne who took second place in Dimanche Gras 2016 with his two songs “Flowers before I die” and “A request to the King.”
It was a night when most artistes directed their lyrics at the most decorated and former Monarch, Edson “Ajamu” Mitchell and Rootsman Kelly being included, dedicated his entire song to the former King.
“You win everything already, Road March, Soca, Calypso and Groovy, so now please leave a little thing now for Rootsman Kelly”.
This was a line out of the song, written by Rootsman Kelly who, in an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper on Monday, explained that the song was never meant disrespect Ajamu but simply a request to give another to artiste a chance at winning the coveted title.
“I spoke to King Man (Ajamu) early up in the year, he said that he didn’t think he was going to take part in the competition this year. Since … we (have) been in the same tent and we’ve been working for the past three or four years … I said to him that I would write a song, making it look like “I asked you to step down instead of you just stepping down like that.” I sought of changed up the lyrics a bit coming down to the finals but that is how the song really comes about,” he said.
According to the second place winner in the Dimanche Gras show, although he has not spoken at length with Ajamu after the competition, he does not believe the song will affect their relationship as long standing friends.
“We have a long standing record, we’ve been friends for forever and I hope that this friendship would be able to continue – you know I’m still willing to be a part of the tent and to be working along with him in the studio”, he said.
“…From my perspective, I don’t see the relationship being affected because we always keep in mind that this is a competition, everybody is trying to win but at the end of the day it will be really nice for us to try to be mature enough so that we could still remain friends because it’s not a song that was disrespectful or derogatory in any way. It was just a song stating that ok, resign and if you don’t resign I will be forced to take the crown away,” he added.
Rootsman’s first song in the competition, “Flowers before I die,” he said is the type of song he is known for and was prompted to write the song after a good friend of his died.
“It (the song) speaks of a trend that we have in society whereby people only say good things about you after you die. I wrote this song as a dedication to one of my good friends, a Rasta man called Nelly from Belle Vue in St. David’s who died this year.
“While he was alive he was a real sufferer but on the day he died and up to the funeral, you could have heard all the good things people were saying , the big happy hour, the big funeral and the casket and everything.
“You know while he was alive he didn’t get the recognition that he deserved so that really prompt me to write the song.
Rootsman Kelly has been in competition consistently for the last four years and has placed second in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
This achievement, he said, is a clear manifestation of his consistency as an artiste.
“You can definitely see that I am not just a one time good performer or a one time good song writer, you can see it’s a pattern. It feels good still because you know coming second to Scholar, you know Scholar is an eight time winner right now, so he will always be a person that is very difficult to defeat… coming second to him, it feels very good,” he remarked.
For the 2017 competition, Rootsman said his fans can expect two songs with biting lyrics and commentary as he strives to reach the top spot.
“I don’t want to continue singing songs like my second song this year or even last year. If I sing another song like “Flowers before I die” or probably “What good for the goose good for the gander,” I would stand a better chance of winning the monarch but that’s my style, that’s where my strength lie.
“Next year the public can look forward to biting social commentaries from Rootsman. I just have to improve on my craft, improve on my writing, improve on my delivery and I think I stand a very good chance of capturing the Calypso Monarch.
The artiste’s advice to up and coming artistes is to recognise their strengths and stick to their craft.
“Stick to your game, recognise your strengths, don’t give up because when man judging man you can expect anything, so don’t let a result dampen your spirit or anything”, he said.
“In spite of people might say that Calypso is on the decline, I don’t think so because I can see the enthusiasm of the younger members of the audience and even the programmes that we have in the schools and so on. The young people are showing greater interest in the Calypso,” he added.