Guyanese gospel singer Samuel Medas says despite recently being crowned that country’s Soca Monarch his mission remains focused solely on spreading the word of God. He is actually the first gospel artiste to win any of the Soca Monarch titles.
“I have a heavy calling, one that I didn’t give myself. It is to connect with this generation through music and make them feel the relentless love and the pull of God,” Medas told the Kitcharee during an intriguing WhatsApp exchange on Thursday.
Medas, 31, shocked the competition with his positive fete mover “The Stadium” to win the title at the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown, Guyana on March 27.
The song tells a hopeful story of overcoming the ongoing global pandemic and returning to a place of celebration, which for many Guyana nationals is the Providence Stadium in their capital city Georgetown. The performance also won him the Best Newcomer award on the night.
“My pen is different. The way he (God) makes me write is different. And every success along this journey has been because of a series of ‘yesses’ that I gave to God. And to come from a place like Guyana that nobody expected great music to come from, is a blessing in itself,” Medas beamed of the achievement.
Braving the secular stage
It hasn’t been all smiles for the praise and worship singer since his win. Medas came in for harsh criticism from Christians in his home country for entering the competition and performing on a secular stage.
The Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara-born entertainer, however, says he feels he was led by a higher power to “shine his light” where it was most needed.
“Well for starters it was a new experience. I’m not accustomed on secular stages. Neither am I accustomed to competitions. But I felt like the secular stage is where I needed to go as a Christian and shine light,” he reasoned.
“I also wanted to deliver a message of unity to my Guyanese people—that ‘Stadium’ is more than a feel-good song. It’s a lifestyle. It’s the one place where nobody looks at skin colour or who’s rich from who’s poor. We there to enjoy ourselves. I also wanted to just lead from the front and challenge an otherwise lacklustre annual competition to raise its standards,” Medas continued.
Medas said while there were voices of disapproval from Christians in Guyana over his choice to compete they were by no means unanimous. The well-known gospel crooner said his foray into mainstream soca should not be taken as a turning of his back on his musical ministry.
“The opposition wasn’t from everybody in the church. But the few that did object, were enough to get people talking all across social media. Even in Trinidad.
“In hindsight, I realise that they were really afraid that they’d lose me to the world like many other great artistes that started in the church and eventually just went mainstream. But if people read the Bible enough, they would see Jesus never prayed that we’d be taken out of the world, but that God would keep us. And into darkness is where we have all been called to go with the light,” he nodded.
Medas said he knew once people saw his performance on competition night, they would better understand what he was attempting to achieve. He revealed that he has received lots of supportive message and a few apologies since his crowning feat.
“The actual night of the competition was when I really got a chance to show why I was in the competition and that’s when ppl started to understand better. Some even messaged me apologising for their public and private objections,” he quipped.
The young performer said though is immediate focus isn’t on producing and performing more soca he remains open to all musical expressions adding: “I’m a lover of soca. But not a lover of performing or recording soca. My love is reggae. But if God says go, I’ll go.”
For now, Medas says he plans to use his newly attained cultural clout as Guyana’s Soca Monarch to champion calls for greater cultural engagement in the South American country.
“I’m de Soca Monarch for the next 12 months, so I’ll use that leverage and weight behind the title to hopefully impact the music industry in Guyana. Engage the Ministry of Culture for them to get behind some projects. By the time next year comes, the landscape of music in Guyana must look drastically different. And my sixth album must have been released,” he concluded with a wide smile.