Soca music for kids sung by kids.
That’s what hit-makers Kitwana Israel of Advokit productions and Kassey Phillips of Precision productions are promising with the first volume of their joint project: Soca Kidz.
The two super soca producers have joined forces to create a 12-track compilation album called Soca Kidz Carnival Party, Volume 1, that features children singing covers of some of the genre’s biggest hits, including Kes’ (Kees Dieffenthaller) “Hello”, Voice’s (Aaron St Louis) “Cheers to Life” and “Alive & Well”, and Machel Montano’s “Road Trip”, among others.
The format is similar to the popular Razor & Tie Kidz Bop compilation albums that started in 2001 that features children singing “kid-friendly” covers of Billboard Hot 100 hits. Over the past two decades, the Kidz Bop albums have gone gold (over 500,000 copies sold) eight times and have consistently charted in the top 10 on American pop album charts.
Filmmaker Steven M Taylor has directed a colourful medley music video of the songs, featuring the children of the Rosemand’s Academy of Performing Arts. The music video is available for streaming on YouTube and the album is available on all music platforms.
Israel said the idea for the project was born out of his difficulty in finding local content for his own children. He took the concern to Phillips and together they came up with the Soca Kidz concept.
“The kids inspired the entire project. Watching so many different kids’ shows with our own children, we found that there was no local content appropriate for them to dive into, and as soca producers ourselves, we just decided why not try this,” Israel said.
Phillips said they were lucky enough to find a talented group of child singers for the project, and remarked on the impressive level of professionalism they displayed throughout the process.
“Fortunately, we found some really talented kids from Rosemand’s Academy that made the process super-easy and fun. They were professionals at what they did and executed the recordings like bosses,” he said.
Reboarding the soca train
Both men believe the timing of the Soca Kidz project is ideal, given all the recent talk about soca’s lost generation and the divergence by young talents and fans towards dancehall music.
Phillips said he sees it as their duty to give back to a genre that has already given them so much in their relatively young careers by supporting future vocal and production talents.
Ironically, they are both soca kids themselves. Philips is the son of legendary calypso/soca producer Kenny Phillips while Israel is the son of soca producer Keith Israel.
“It has been a very organic process thus far; many underlying factors would naturally have played a part. We always felt a duty to give back. It is part of our responsibility to inspire and support future generations of musicians and producers as we were by our elders,” Phillip said.
“We need to make our music fun for all generations, not just for the feters and partygoers. We have something special that no one can take away from us, and whether we listen to dancehall or pop or rock and roll, this will always be ‘we ting’,” Israel added.
Phillips meanwhile believes the possibilities are broad for future Soca Kidz projects as not only can kid-friendly soca covers become annual releases but the project can also open a gateway to more original content.
“We want to keep this going every year and begin expanding into other areas and genres. For example, eventually giving Soca Kidz their own original songs written specifically for them or perhaps even imagine doing a nursery rhyme project in Soca Kidz fashion,” he concluded.
Can you imagine?