Traz Di Jennik goes Soca

by Apr 2, 2024News

Traz Di Jennik goes Soca

It’s Easter and soca season is in high gear throughout Jamaica. Yes, Jamaica, home of Rasta, reggae and dancehall music.

Traz Di Jennik is a rarity in Jamaica. The singjay has released a soca song called ‘Party Nice’ which he hopes costumed revellers at the various Carnival events will jam to.

He co-produced ‘Party Nice’ with his wife Lydia Campbell and Trevor “Skatta” Bonnick, lead singer of the Inner Circle Band and his longtime friend.

For most of his career (he was previously known as Alkatraz), Traz Di Jennik has recorded mainly reggae-dancehall songs. With the Carnival season months away, he and Bonnick agreed that a Jamaican song for the occasion would be appropriate.

“It was a great feeling because it took me out of my comfort zone. I had a lot if fun doing it,” said Traz Di Jennik.

A derivative of calypso, soca exploded in the Eastern Caribbean in the early 1980s. Legends like Lord Kitchener and The Mighty Sparrow embraced that uptempo sound which quickly caught on with middle-class Jamaicans.

Jamaican Byron Lee, leader and founder of The Dragonaires band, was a fixture at the annual Trinidad Carnival and also recorded with artistes and musicians from that country. He started Jamaica Carnival in the mid-1980s and successfully fused soca with dancehall.

At the time, Traz Di Jennik was eyeing a career as a dancehall artiste. That came to fruition in 1996 with ‘Better Days’, a song produced by Steely and Clevie.

Other songs followed for high-profile camps such as Shocking Vibes Productions and Penthouse Records. It was during that period he met Bonnick, former lead singer of The Bloodfire Posse.

Since changing his stage name, Traz Di Jennik has recorded several songs with Bonnick including the rootsy ‘Health Over Wealth’, released in 2023. He is aware of the irony that his breakthrough may be a soca song.

“Music is music, I used to listen to people like Sparrow… ‘Saltfish’ is one of my favorite songs. Jamaican people love all kinda music an’ dem will like ‘Party Nice’,” he said.

(Photo contributed)

Traz Di Jennik – Party Nice

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