Life of the Party
Though still very young, Roxanne Webster has been thrilling crowds for well over a decade with a repertoire spanning Calypso, Soca, Jazz and R&B. She shares her plans to try a new genre, the Anguilla Music Awards and the things she can’t do without.
You started early, didn’t you?
I started singing calypso at 10 years old as ‘Lil Roxxy’. In Anguilla, I sang in the Junior Calypso competition, and then I moved over to win St. Maarten’s Junior Calypso monarch as well as the OECS junior Calypso queen in St. Kitts in 2006. I was the first female to win that one, and that was the last year they had the competition. I continued to sing calypso in St. Maarten, now in the senior competition.
I got into soca music by joining the local ABC Band in 2011. We played in a few local events around Carnival that year, Band Clash being one of the biggest. That was a new experience – people come from all over the world, so there’s pressure to perform. I was delighted.
How do you deal with nerves on stage?
I try to remember, “I do this all the time.” It should come naturally to me by now, but it’s good to have that feeling. It keeps me focused.
How do you balance your packed musical schedule with your regular job?
Lots of sleepless nights!
Are you working on anything in studio?
Yes. I’m working on a new project now, a new genre – pop.
What brought that about?
I’ve been encouraged to try other music. I’m not leaving soca, but I’m trying to create a fusion. My song ‘Delete’ was a fusion of soca and R&B, and people loved it.
Delete was a bona fide hit. How did that impact your career?
It was wonderful! I was nominated for “Best New Female Soca Artist” and “Best New Music Video” at the International Soca Awards in 2012. That blew me away. I went to the show to perform and meet other artistes. I was very surprised at the announcement that I had won and tied with Machel Montano’s Vibes Cyah Done video.
I travelled to Suriname for Carifesta last year. It was different, because they didn’t speak English. So I greeted them in their creole, “Fa waka, Suriname?” which means “What’s up, Suriname?”
They loved it! I want to go back.
Tell us about the Anguilla Music Awards.
This is the first annual event. I’m part of the event organizing team, and I’m an award nominee. And no, I didn’t nominate myself! It’ll be a red-carpet event, with live performances, at the Anguilla Great House. JEM Music Group, based in New York, will produce a documentary of the week leading up to the event, including interviews with the artists. We are giving local artistes a chance to network and promote their music.
Do you enjoy any local acts?
Pantha Vibes International. I’m their number-one fan! I also love Tahirah Banks, Bankie’s [Banx] daughter. She has an incredible voice and can sing any genre.
Any international acts?
Nadia Batson, Zoelah, Destra Garcia. Female power all the way!
Did you meet Destra when she came here last year?
I did. I actually opened for her at the “Into the Blue” music festival. That was quite exciting.
Do you ever get compared to her?
Sometimes, but for some reason I get comparisons to Rihanna. I have no idea why. [laughs]
Who would you compare yourself to?
I’ve never been asked that before. I’d say Fay-Ann Lyons. She’s an awesome performer, with awesome energy. She’s one of the few I’ve yet to meet.
How different are Roxanne and Roxxy?
They’re very different. Think Beyoncé and Sasha Fierce. I’ll be at a fête, in the crowd and be a bit nervous, but then when I step on stage, there’s a lot of energy.
Three things Roxxy can’t do without?
I’m addicted to Coca-Cola. I have maybe 3-5 Cokes a day, which is bad. Now, with Carnival coming up, I’m strictly on water.
I can’t do without partying, of course.
Travelling. I find myself in St. Maarten a lot. I feel like I always need to be moving. I’m a rolling stone.
Where would we find you on a typical weekend?
Everywhere! I have an action-packed week, generally. I’m usually performing in St. Maarten or in Anguilla on the weekends. I have to balance being an artiste as well as an event promoter, so I have to be life of the party. If you need to know where to go on the weekend, just ask Roxxy.