Ravi B

On the road again: Ravi B

Chutney soca star Ravi B can now add a “YouTube creator” award to his long list of creative accolades.

The Karma lead singer, Ravi B (Ravi Bissambhar) was recently presented with a Silver Creator Award from the Google-­owned video sharing and social media platform for hitting 100K subscribers on his channel.

YouTube awards content creators in three categories based on the popularity of their channels. Silver for 100K, Gold for 1M and Diamond for 10M subscribers. Bissambhar, a three-time Chutney Soca Monarch, currently has 118K subscribers.

The Sangre Grande-born entertainer said the achievement is only possible because of “the genuine support” he receives from fans all around the globe.

“This of course could have only been possible through the genuine support of fans around the world towards my music for which I am ever thankful. A few of our local artistes have also achieved this milestone and I am truly humbled to have once again contributed towards blazing a new trail for the chutney soca fraternity,” Bissambhar told the Express via WhatsApp on Wednesday.

The YouTube award is a testament to Bissambhar’s drive to stay creative during a global pandemic. Apart from creating music and music videos he has posted several hilarious short videos on the popular video sharing social media service TikTok a couple of which have gone viral. Bissambhar currently has just shy of 115K followers and over 1.2M likes on the platform.

“The creativity never stops — so in addition to creating new music, new sounds, and seeking out new musical opportunities, I have been investing some time in creating TikTok content. I have always loved acting and I think the platform gives creatives like us the opportunity to express ourselves and our content in a uniquely different way and have lots of fun doing it,” Bissambhar said of his TikTok prowess.

Surreal to be back on the road

After 18-months without live in-person performances Ravi says its “surreal” to be on the road again doing what he loves. He is currently in Florida, USA, for Miami carnival.

He recently completed several performances in New York for their Labour Day celebrations including an appearance at Kes The Band’s “Iz We” concert.

“It’s always a good time with my brother Kees and I continue to thank him for the many opportunities to share his stages,” Ravi laughed when asked about his Bollywood style exchange with Kes The Band’s lead singer Kees Dieffenthaller.

Soca and chutney soca are genres that thrive on crowd participation. That powerful exchange of energy between performer and audience cannot be replicated on a virtual platform, he insisted.

“The feeling is surreal — seeing people, interacting with people, and seeing people react to and enjoy music in the way it was meant to be,” he continued.

“The pandemic has truly taught me to not take these things for granted. Any artiste will tell you that the energy exchange between the fan and the artiste is the backbone of performing and feteing — you just cannot replicate that exchange of energy in the virtual setting.

“I am in the process of releasing my latest soca track entitled “Welcome Back” in perfect time for Miami carnival happening this weekend. The track creates that feeling of happiness and excitement to be back in the parties, fetes and the carnival parade,” he winked.

A safe zone fete

It remains uncertain what form Carnival 2022 would take in T&T and whether in-person shows will be at all possible on the islands. The success of the nationwide vaccination drive and the scheduled reopening of bars and restaurants for vaccinated guests this week, however, is cause for optimism, Ravi reasoned.

“I am more optimistic than I was last year, I would say, but I doubt still that it will be in the way we were used to before the pandemic. I think and hope that we will see some more ‘in-person’ events under health guidelines to make it as safe and secure as possible for both artiste and patron.

“I have seen the concept of ‘safe-zone’ events and event spaces work in the US — so I think it is something we can consider adopting here — it’s all about adapting to the new normal. I continue of course to encourage citizens to get vaccinated once you are able to,” he said.

Bissambhar called for “re-engagement and reassessment” by entertainment industry stakeholders to determine how they engage the public within the law and guidelines set out by the State and its medical advisors.

“We need to adapt and find new ways of doing things. I mentioned the establishment of safe-zone events and event spaces which I think can work. I think across the entertainment industry there needs to be some level of re-engagement and re-assessment with all stakeholders with how we move forward as there was some de-attachment during the pandemic.

“Thankfully, for my team, we have been able to adapt and we are using the time to also define how we emerge from this stronger and better,” Bissambhar concluded.

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