If calypso is a kingdom and the extended Caribbean, the borders of its realm, then Terri Lyons sits on the iron throne.
Lyons’s “Megan My Dear” and “Obeah” topped a field of nine regional female title holders, among them defending champion and former T&T National Monarch Karene Asche, to claim the Queen of Queens Regional Female Calypso crown last Friday at Festival Village, Montserrat.
The reigning National Calypso Monarch, a title held since the competition was last held in 2020, says winning the regional crown has been one of the highlights of an increasingly impressive career.
“It is a great honour, still being the reigning monarch and now being the queen of all queens,” Lyons said during a WhatsApp exchange with the Express yesterday.
Lyons, however, admitted to not knowing a whole lot about the competition prior to being invited to compete last August. Once she did her research, however, she soon realised she would have to be at her best just to compete with the talent on display.
Apart from Asche, Anguilla’s Roxanne “Roxxy” Webster, Antigua’s Samantha “Sammie C” Tahir, Barbados’ Chrystal Beckles-Holder, British Virgin Islands’ Joycelyn “Sistah Joyce” Searles, Dominica’s Tasha “Tasha P” Peltier, St Kitts’ Karissia “Queen Independent” Willett and Montserrat’s Maxcine Lee and Silvina “Khandie” Malone all contested the title.
“These are females that won the calypso monarch in their country or hold the highest rank in their country. They are all queens, and we now have to come to Montserrat to compete. Your country sends you to bring back the trophy and the crown, which means you are the queen of all queens, the queen of the whole Caribbean,” Lyons gushed.
Lyons said she thrives when challenged, and relished the opportunity to go up against the best the region has to offer.
“The competition was not an easy one. These girls can sing, they could perform. Honestly that’s what I like. That helps me boost my talent and have me on my toes a lot more. I love that kind of challenge,” Lyons revealed.
Carrying the red, white and black on her back
Competing outside of T&T against non-nationals was a completely new experience, Lyons admitted. However, there were no nerves about carrying the country colours into battle, as the red, white and black are colours she carries everywhere, she added.
“It’s the first time I’ve not only been in a competition with foreign representatives, but also the first time I’ve actually witnessed other calypsonians outside of Trinidad on the same stage with me. I honestly loved it.
“It felt different—but not just because I was carrying Trinidad and Tobago on my back, because everywhere I go I’m carrying Trinidad and Tobago. Once I perform outside of Trinidad, I represent my country. I’m always carrying the national flag all over me,” she said.
Not even a Steve Harvey-esq mix-up from the competition that saw Asche erroneously announced as the winner could dampen the win for Lyons. Asche was corrected to third place, with Tash P finishing second.
Kenneth Silcott, director of the Montserrat Arts Council, has since apologised for that unfortunate slip-up, blaming it on “human error”.
“A copy-and-paste issue created some uncertainty and anxiety to the calypsonians. I am deeply sorry and once again apologise for this and the shadow cast on an excellent and highly competitive show.
“To all the calypsonians, fans and audiences, we at the Montserrat Arts Council do apologise. Effective immediately, all judges’ decisions must be signed by authorised judges before the emcee receives said document,” Silcott said in a statement on December 31.
Lyons, meanwhile, turns her attention to her defence of the National Calypso Monarch title, set for Dimanche Gras night (February 19).
“Yes, I will be defending. I have my songs that are soon to be released... I am ready. I mean, I am still learning the song, anybody who knows me knows I have to be real comfortable with a song, where I doh have to think what is the next line,” she said.
Lyons said she plans to go to Skinner Park for the competition’s semi-final round, but to cheer on, “not size up”, the other calypsonians.
“I doh need to do that (see the competition). I just am focused more on preparation for myself. Whoever come with what, let dem come with it. Everybody is my competition. Everybody coming for the crown, and that’s what it is for. “If it have somebody coming for it, no problem. But I will be focusing on me. Once I step on stage, I representing me and I come to have fun. I doh come with competition on my mind. I come to have fun and that have me relax, because I know once I leave that stage you must remember me,” Lyons concluded.