1. Angie Mark, housewife and grandmother
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MX Prime: It’s about how long your star can shine
Most of us would have danced to the infectious sounds of MX Prime (Edghill Thomas) and his group Ultimate Reject’s (Johann Seaton, Joel Aming and Avaron Vanloo) monster hit Full Extreme for Carnival 2017.
When I first interviewed the then 29-year-old known as Maximus Dan in 2008, he was intent on becoming a recording studio mogul, a “music entrepreneur” was the descriptive he used.
While that is still his intention, delivery of the most popular Road March hit got in the way in 2017.
He had already become well known for his unique styling and blend of Caribbean music (essentially a blend of soca and dancehall vibes). His biggest hit back then was Fighter, which was made for the Soca Warriors, T&T’s national football team in 2006 and became the rallying song for the first ever appearance by T&T in the finals of the football World Cup in Germany… “I wanted to have a song to sing to infinity…till God come. I didn’t want it to just be a football song.”
Well that was certainly the case wherever he performed his smash hit for 2017, Full Extreme, which became the most popular among Road March songs ever, being played 556 times on the road.
His other hits include Obeah Man, Lash Satan, War, Kick It Way, Love Generation, Hosanna Fire, a remake of Gypsy’s Soca Train, Earthquake, and Order.
What is your Road March 2017 hit all about?
It is based on the current economic climate, the downturn…even though things are tight we will find a way to cope. It starts off about me and how I feel like a new machine having lost 60 pounds in two years and my wanting to celebrate. It then brings in “we”…we jamming still, life is filled with obstacles but we have to pick up the pieces, have faith, pick up the pieces, move on.
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Petit Valley and lived there up to age 12. Then I moved to Carenage and lived there from 12 to 22 years old.
At what schools/institutions did you receive your education?
For primary school I attended Petit Valley Boys’ RC. For secondary I attended Diego Martin Junior Secondary and then St James Sec.
How did your previous sobriquet “Maximus Dan” come about?
When I was in Toronto in 2000, I saw the movie Gladiator and based on the meaning of the word Maximus in Latin being “the Greatest”, I felt that this name was compatible with my outlook on life striving for greatness.
What was it like growing up in your family?
My experience growing up with my family was enjoyable, strict, and also religious. As a boy living with four women, I had to always think about family. Always being there for my sisters and taking on a lot of chores, I had to be disciplined.
Who were the people who have influenced you the most to start singing—at the beginning of your music career and since then?
I would have to say my peers at school and in my community of Carenage. Also, my grandmother who was a Spiritual Baptist. Also, school teacher Elsa Mc Cooney and Sabbath school teacher Monica Porter encouraged me a lot as they saw the talent and drive I had for music.
You are known for your unique style of on-stage performance. What led you to stay away from the wining and suggestivity?
My music is about liberating and educating the minds of the people. So what is expected from me is not what you see from everyone else. I am here for a different purpose. I’m not bashing anyone, but we all have our roles to play.
As an entertainer, which would you rate as your most memorable and satisfying performances/presentations/experiences?
Going to the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany, where I performed before the start of the T&T vs Sweden Game. Also in Nuremberg where I performed for over 25,000 people, mostly Germans.
If you had to perform for an audience who has never heard or seen you before and had only one song to perform, which would you? And if you had to perform one other song from a Trinbagonian artiste which would it be?
The one song from my composition would be Love Generation, and the other song from a Trinbagonian artiste would be Progress from King Austin.
If you could dine with anyone in history, who would that be and what would you want the dinner conversation to be about?
It would not be one person; present at the table would be Bob Marley, Uriah Butler, Sam Cooke and Pele. The conversation would be about how one can help to shape the world in a positive way and not lose focus or give up while on the journey.
If you had to solve the ills that prevail in T&T what would you do?
No one really knows how to solve all the ills in T&T. But I will do my part as a citizen by ensuring the people closest to me know how important life is. Respect, faith in God, diligence and co-operation are vital in the progress of a community, country, region and the world. And what we do definitely affects the world because we are all world citizens.
What advice/recipe for success would you give to young people coming into the business?
You need to do homework and research when entering any career field. So research is key. Also, to understand that the industry is not a bed of roses. That the hours that go into making a song, performing, practising, etc, need total dedication. It is not about becoming a star because we are already stars. But it is about how long your star can shine. Take a look at the greats, find out why they became greats and search for that greatness within yourself.
What are your favourite calypsoes and soca songs (not yours)?
Dingolay by Shadow; Ah Feeling It by Baron; Rock it by Merchant; Foreigner by Lord Nelson; Om Shanti Om by Ras Shorty I; Signal to Lara by Super Blue, along with so many others!