Finally. After decades of dreaming and hard work Farmer Nappy’s soca crops have come to harvest in 2021.
Farmer (Darryl Henry) cherry-picked the two most coveted titles in soca music, the International Soca Monarch and Road March titles, during the recently concluded virtual Carnival.
The titles had eluded the fete-shaker despite nearly four decades of consistent quality music. In the middle of global pandemic, however, his apt “Backyard Jam” proved undeniable earning him both titles. The Kitcharee found a buoyant Farmer gracious and grateful during his moment in the sun.
“I feel ecstatic. Ah feel real good. Ah feel accomplished in what ah set out to do. I just wanted these titles to just have these achievements so I feel ecstatic at the moment,” Farmer said during a WhatsApp exchange on Thursday night.
Farmer said “Backyard Jam”, which was written by Jason “Shaft” Bishop and produced by Barbadian super group De Red Boyz (Scott Galt and Mikey Hulsmeier) is truly a song of the people.
“If people say it (‘Backyard Jam’) is the biggest song of the Carnival, it felt good to have the biggest song of the Carnival because the biggest thing in the Carnival is the people and this song was for the people.
“So, if the song is the song that become the biggest song of the Carnival that mean is the people vote the song the biggest song of the Carnival. It belongs to the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the world. And again I feel ecstatic about that,” he said.
Feeling ecstatic should ne nothing new for the veteran singer. After all Farmer Nappy co-fronted the most popular soca band of the late 90s and 2000s with that very name: Xtatik. It is during that time that lifelong friend, soca star Machel Montano added the Farmer to his Nappy moniker, he said.
“I could farm. I is a farmer, but de name Nappy come from my dad. His nickname was Nappy so they used to call me Young Nappy.
“When I came with the song ‘Music Farm’ to the band (Xtatik), after I came and sing the second verse Machel say yuh new name is Farmer Nappy. So Machel give me the name Farmer he add de Farmer to de Nappy,” Farmer explained.
Farmer half joked that with the present uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic it may be prudent for all nationals to explore the farmer within.
“I could farm. Considering wha goin on right now thas how yuh have to eat; yuh have to eat off the land. I could farm, it’s easy, I grow up in country so farming is easy to me. My grandmother used to plant plenty plantain and stuff,” he said.
It hasn’t always been blue skies for Farmer. In the middle of his Xtatik success he suffered the depths of alcohol addiction. With the support of the Montano family and other close friends he was able to overcome his addiction and is proudly sober for more than 18 years.
“One of the things I have grown from is becoming a recovering alcoholic of 18 years. I’ve grown from being wayward to being a prominent man where people respect me and I respect myself. I carry about myself in a different way,” he said proudly.
Planning for future harvests
Still, Farmer said he wished he had developed a greater business acumen during his successful youthful years. Had he known then what he has come to discover now about the music business, life could have been very different, he asserts.
“One thing I wish I knew before was about banking and taking loans and risk at a younger age, because the younger you are the lower the interest rates. But I feel mature enough where I have come to learn the business. I am more of a businessman not just on stage, but off stage where I can conduct my business in a proper manner, balance off my accounts and all them things,” he revealed.
So what’s next for the soca Farmer? He says his 2021 success has put a renewed pep in his step to get into studio as soon as possible and work on new material.
“I going in studio from now. Normally I would start to record and look for songs around May, June, July and sometimes all September, recording late and stuff. But now I going and get songs, record songs and put down songs,” he said.
It’s a forward-thinking approach to music making he says MM has always adopted. Farmer revealed Montano has so much songs recorded and stored he could continue to release albums years after leaving this earth.
“One of the things Machel have is a lot of songs recorded and put down. In terms of when he pass he could release an album after death. So this is one project I want to do, is to record songs and put down songs to release after leaving this gracious earth.
“What I targeting for the rest of 2021 is to do that and see if things work out where I can go outside and do shows for people where it could come back if not normal but where I could go perform for my people,” Farmer concluded.