Though she may not be a household name in St. Kitts at this time, Ali Dee, with the right support, management and guidance, is destined to be the next big female soca artiste from these Caribbean islands…no not only St. Kitts & Nevis, but the entire chain of islands, from Cuba down to Trinidad & Tobago.
It was with some prodding from her colleague and friend Kareem Herbert and her newly found music and business associate, Rolensha Henry, that Ali Dee finally decided to enter the contest this year, featuring in both the Groovy and Power categories of the competition, for which she has already qualified as a Semi Finalist.
Her title track for the slower and more groovy part of the contest, “With or Without You”, has the potential to become a hit song throughout the region and it will most certainly rock the carnival fetes and night clubs in St. Kitts & Nevis, if radio DJs and sound systems would only level the playing field of music rotations, to allow the splendor and freshness of this dynamic voice, to reverberate throughout the airwaves.
Though this is her first appearance in the Soca Monarch Competition, Ali Dee has been performing for quite a while in the music business, especially with the Nevis based band called KORE; which in June 2011 won the hearts of patrons attending the annual St. Kitts Music Festival.
Kareem and Rolhensha said they thought that this was the right time for Ali Dee to enter the arena, given the success she has been enjoying so far this year. Kareem said that when he realized how well she has been doing in 2011, he just thought that her involvement in this major carnival event would provide a tremendous boost to her career as a new artiste, who is hoping to burst on to the scene and create a lasting impression.
“She has been in the music business for quite a long time and given her talent and her melodious voice, I thought the prospects for her growth and development as an artiste would be possible if she participated,” said Kareem.
That confidence was echoed by Rolensha Henry, who herself has had tremendous success as an artiste. “I had ideas for songs for the Soca Monarch Competition and thoughts ran my head, about who would be a good artiste to work with to perform the selections; and after seeing her perform recently at Beaumont Park, I was convinced that Ali was the ideal candidate. She was the first person who came to mind.”
“With the high energy perform and ooh, that voice, she caught my attention; so I approached her and she was all for it, “said Rolensha.
“The song, With or Without You will be used for the Groovy Contest. This is a song about partying, jamming, having fun, not waiting on friends or a partner to enjoy the carnival. If they don’t want to accompany you, then you leave them at home and you go on out to enjoy the moment. Because it’s our culture and our time to fete,” said Ali Dee.
The tune for the Power Category is entitled, “Rock the Nation. The song is an anthem about anti violence and reminding citizens how much we are contradicting some of the ideals espoused in our national anthem. It talks about how we sit back and do very little as a society, to do something about the increasing violence in the country, depending instead on the police and the government to take action, and not playing our own role. The lyrics of the song reminds that back in the good old days, it took a community to raise a child, but today that seems to have disappeared, said Ali Dee.
“We need to raise our flag as one people and stand together and take responsibility to give a hand if we are to resolve this growing problem. In other words, we need to “Rock the Nation” back in place.
Though there might be stronger competition this year in the contest, Ali Dee is convinced that given her two great songs, she stands a very good chance of doing well in the show.
She said as long as she performs well, she should get the desired results from her efforts.
“I will deliver not only a good rendition but a fantastic performance generally; giving the fans the highest standards. The soca contest is a great avenue to reach the youth today. That is how you grab people’s attention by the way you perform on the stage. This contest is an important avenue to get a message out. For instance calypsonians use their songs to deliver social commentary on current issues affecting society. So today, because many young people are in tuned with soca, we can also use this genre to reach the young people. In order for us to get the young people’s attention, we need to also use soca for social commentary; it is just that we would be doing it in a different tempo, because a lot of young people gravitate toward the soca and dancehall, so in order for us to get the young people’s attention, we need to keep up with the soca aspect of it, “pointed out Ali Dee
“That is why my lyrics are positive and I sing about things that are happening. I am a realist…if I see something happening and I don’t like it, I get the opinion of others before putting the lyrics of a song together. So I would get the feedback from the community to help guide my thoughts for the content of the song.”
She said that though she is one of the women in the ring, the so called big names and more experienced artistes do not pose a threat to her, nor do they scare her. Though she could not say who might be her greatest competitor, she did indicate that she is aware that her good friend Konris is capable, so is his dad Contenda, as well as Anastasia who is really good and “there are others but I know I can be above all comers.”
“And if I lose, I will just return next year and at least I would know that the message of my music would have been given a chance to be heard.”
She said she was born into a blood line of singers, such as Pat Ross, Benjax and the Dore brothers in Nevis. “I just want to sing even if I don’t win,” said Ali Dee with a smile.
She released both songs on Friday 25th November in the local media and also took the time to do a number of interviews. She said that St. Kitts & Nevis can produce another great female Caribbean soca artiste with the name, “Alison”, (obviously referring to Alison Hinds of Barbados), but she understands that this would only come from hard work and dedication. “Vocally am fine but more attention needs to be given to my overall on stage performance skills and though at times I could be somewhat shy, I understand that I need to break out of that shell.”
All lyrics were written by Alison and Rolensha. The music was recorded at Abo’s Digital Factory in Nevis, while musical arrangements were done by Dejohn Webbe.
“Kareem helped with the perfection of my vocals and generally helped to coordinate the recording,” stated Ali Dee.
She said that she is hoping to do a number of pre show live performance in St. Kitts before the big night.
Alison “Ali Dee” Dore is a former contestant in 2003 Miss Culture pageant held each year in Nevis for Culturama.
She also won three Tourism Palm Awards for Best Secondary School vocalist and 2 for Best Secular Female Vocalist.
Kareem admitted that though Ali Dee could appear shy sometimes, he does believe in her capabilities and now that she has a good team behind her, such as Rolensha, “I know big things are in store for her.”
However, Rolensha has warned that whatever shyness is there, will disappear on the night of the competition.
Rolensha said that she is enjoying working behind the scenes on this mission with Ali Dee and she indicated that “I have always liked working behind the scenes and I am always happy to see my efforts blossom into the successful project that was intended. I think Ali Dee would, in a short space of time, dominate the music scene here and all contenders, including the males, ought to be on their guard, because Ali Dee is definitely going to be the female to dominate and ascend to the top of the music pyramid. She is going to deliver a splendid performance…
“Apart from being shy, as an artiste I can be very outspoken in my songs and though I may not be outspoken in terms of my body language, I am very outspoken in the things that I say in my songs. I am not afraid to sing certain songs. The only thing is that I can be very conservative when it comes to the conduct on stage. Though I want to do well and deliver outstanding performances, I can never lose sight of the fact also that I am a mother and a teacher, so I respect myself and I don’t need to be scandalous in order to dominate.
Ali Dee is part of a young group of producers known as “DARK”, (Dejohn, Alison, Rolensha and Kareem).