Articles by Angela Pidduck
Ever wondered what happened to Natasha Wilson, the young soca starlet of the mid-eighties. Now 27 years old, she has been married to an American, Jude Jean, since 1999. The Jeans live in Brooklyn, New York, and are parents of a beautiful, bouncing six month old baby boy named Jayden Orion Jean.
In the run up to the two last National Elections, the song which she made famous, "Sweet T&T", written by Errol Ince, was chosen by the People's National Movement to promote their campaigns. And although Natasha was right here in Trinidad for the final part of the 2002 campaign, no one knew and so she was never given the opportunity to sing it on the PNM platforms.
It was George Martin, who persuaded her to enter the 1984 Junior Calypso Monarch competition, which was won by another young soca star, Machel Montano. "But I went back at age nine in 1985" says Natasha "and won with "Reincarnation Wish." Machel placed third, Sonia Francis was second."
Here, Natasha's father interjected "calypsonians are messengers. Her predictions in Reincarnation Wish that soon "an East Indian will become our new President and Panday and them go be forming the government" have come to pass." President Noor Hassanali was inaugurated on March 19, 1987, and Mr Panday and the United National Congress formed the government in 1995 and again in the year 2000.
Following her success in 1985, The Mighty Sparrow took the youngster under his wing and wrote "One Day" for her. She continued to sing in Sparrow's Young Brigade, and soon went to Madison Square Gardens and toured all over the world. "I was about ten and so had a tutor with me from Trinidad. Performing did not interfere with my school work so I was able to come back and sit the O level exams at Bishop's Centenary College and did get five passes."
"With Sparrow's group, I went to Italy, England and other Caribbean countries. Singing Sandra was also with us, Machel and Xtatik met us at certain places. I went to International Star Search in Los Angeles in 1986, didn't win but represented all the Caribbean countries and really, really had fun. They wanted to hear something from the Caribbean so I sang "One Day." The girl from Sweden with the R&B song won. Calypso was kind of strange to them but they just wanted something from the Caribbean."
In 1991, 1992 and 1994, Natasha won the Sunshine Awards in New York for Best Female Vocalist. She continued back and forth between Trinidad still singing with Sparrow and then went to Kaiso House. Five years ago, she made the permanent move to New York and started to sing with artistes, like Freddy Mc Gregor, Sanchez and Glen Washington. "I was the only female artiste singing soca with a whole set of Jamaican artistes. I am getting ready to perform with Mc Gregor again - "Dont cramp meh style" has been written by a Trinidadian, Jason Benn."
She speaks of the period that "I stopped singing for a little while to get my life under control. I never really stopped singing completely, just in Trinidad, I did a lot of R&B songs and was back and forth into the studio. The soca break took six years, that's why I haven't performed at Carnival although I have been back, looking at the scenes, how the art form has changed a lot so that when I come back, I know what I have to do."
Natasha left Trinidad last Monday but promises that she will be back for Christmas into Carnival, and hopes to perform with Kaiso House: "that's my tent, I love Kaiso House."
"One Day" and "Sweet T & T" are her two most memorable songs. She is proud that the PNM chose the latter and has asked me to send her congratulations to "my new Prime Minister and I thank you for playing my Sweet T&T, and hope you will continue to play it."