Turn your devices to ITV and tune in to this yr’s edition of Voice UK and, in some unspecified time in the future, the sound coming from it is going to be familiar.
It’s soca from Rodell “Triniboi Joocie” Sorzano.
The 33-year-old, UK-based Trinidadian is a semifinalist within the eleventh season of the long-running show the Voice UK, which began in 2012. He’ll deliver his semifinal performance on Saturday.
This yr’s judges are Will.i.am., Anne Marie, Sir Tom Jones and Olly Murs.
Triniboi Joocie’s journey to being the primary soca artiste on the show began 12 months ago.
Nevertheless, he just isn’t the primary to perform in such international shows. In 2018, Olatunji Yearwood competed within the UK’s X Factor. Other Trinidadian, non-soca artistes have also competed in most of these shows. Earlier this yr, 16-year-old Camryn Champion secured a spot on American Idol.
Triniboi Joocie said, “The competition decided to contact me. The talent scout for the show reached out twice, actually. The primary occasion they contacted me, I declined. I said, ‘No. These shows don’t really represent artistes that I regard as artistes. I feel it is kind of manufactured.’
“Then they contacted me again and warranted me that they were keen on me as an artiste and what I bring to their platform. Mainly. I suppose, they were changing their whole scope on the show and the way it’s represented.”
There have been multiple auditions before he reached the live stage with the blind auditions.
“It was just a really nerve-racking, exciting experience. But I used to be reassured I could possibly be as true to who I’m and so they appreciated that.”
He first appeared on episode five, which aired on October 1.
On the audition, he was asked to sing 4 songs.
“I got here in, sang, and so they were like, ‘Yes! Yes! Triniboi, we love this.’”
After multiple meetings and more auditions, he progressed to blind auditions. On the October 1 blind audition, he sang his 2020 song Bottle Over Head, which saw British singer/songwriter and judge Anne Marie turning around quickly.
“I used to be the primary act on the second day of auditions. At 6 am within the morning, I gave them authentic soca,” he said.
He then progressed to the callbacks, at which he did a Trinidadian-style version of Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s I Don’t Care.
It is crucial for Triniboi Joocie to be anauthentic soca artiste on this platform because, for him, he feels the soca that has made it to the charts previously has either been diluted or had different elements added to it.
Being on shows like these can be opening people’s minds more to soca and its many possibilities, he said. It was making people more receptive to the indigenous genre being played all year long, versus only at Carnival time.
In the course of the callbacks, Triniboi Joocie was sent a song two days upfront after which needed to make it his own.
“And I asked them, ‘How far can I take the song?’ and so they said, ‘Listen, ‘juice’ it. Make it Joocie. Give us Triniboi.’ And I said, ‘Yuh sure? Because I’ll take it out of that box and approach it like a Soca Monarch performance, mainly.’
“They usually said, ‘Yes. Do you.’”
He said that was when he was capable of stand out from the opposite competitors.
He thinks because soca is such a new genre, to some, it is perhaps difficult to explain.
“What Anne-Marie said is, ‘Triniboi is fun.’ They’re associating my performance as fun. It’s comfortable.
“But really I would like them to grasp there may be craft. There are depths to this. There are layers.”
He believes moving to the UK in 1998 allowed him to immerse himself more in TT’s culture because he was away from it. He grew up in Laventille before moving to the UK. He can be a science teacher.
That’s the reason he’s a Notting Hill Carnival ambassador. He has been advocating for soca in Europe for over a decade, an earlier press release about his entry to the show said. He was also the UK’s Soca Monarch in 2012 and 2013.
In June, Triniboi Joocie performed the late Lord Kitchener’s Pan in A Minor, backed by a 100-piece pan ensemble, on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration at Buckingham Palace.
Regardless of the end result of Voice UK, Triniboi Joocie intends to provide it his best for soca, TT and the region. Using a cake analogy, he said this was simply one in all the various “flavours” he was adding to his profession, because the bowl was still mixing.
One other press release said his decision to participate within the show was an intentional move to advance his profession in addition to showcase the culture of TT and the Caribbean.
Triniboi Joocie also thinks once people take the music seriously, it is going to be recognised.
“Often enough, we’re afraid to be as authentic as we must always be. To make it palatable, we water it down.”
Afrobeats is now mainstream music because its artistes stuck to the roots of their music and were unified, he said.
He said if soca is consistently modified it will not have an identity or a recognised factor that might make people say, “That’s soca.”
He called on soca artistes to be more confident in what they do.
The message that Triniboi Joocie wants the world to remove from his appearing in Voice UK is that soca just isn’t only about fun, it’s the song of a people and place which are underrepresented within the mainstream industry, and it, too, needs its day within the sun.