EVERYWHERE and in every sphere, there are people doing their part to aid in the fight against the covid19 pandemic.
Terri Lyons, the reigning Calypso Monarch, is no different. Lyons was a part of WACK 90.1 FM’s Up Close and Personal online concert series held on Easter Sunday, April 12, which raised funds to assist people affected by the pandemic. Lyons is the daughter of veteran soca artiste Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons and the late singer Dionne Phillips.
In a phone interview with Newsday on April 16, Lyons said it was done to assist particularly non-essential workers who were already living close to the poverty line before the covid19.
She said the concert was successful and hampers would be given to needy people and families.
She also understands how difficult it is at this time for them. People would come to her for assistance and she said she understood why.
“I had somebody call me and said, ‘I need help’ and I had a friend here who said, ‘Everyone calling yuh now because you get your money.’ I said, ‘Yes, they would.’
“I said, ‘You watching it one way but, if you don’t have anything in your house to eat, would you call someone who don’t have anything in their house or have no money? Or would you call someone who would be able to help you?’”
Lyons received her prize money on April 8. She won the title with Meghan my Dear and Obeah. She currently lives in Couva.
She believes that many people will have to restructure their lives post-covid19.
“Things that we take for granted…we have to now take life a little more seriously. Understand that not everything that you plan in life is going to come through. We need to put aside our wants and start dealing with our needs.”
She added she also wanted people to sit down and think about what they are going to do differently this time.
She has been an artiste for years, familiar to both soca and calypso. She only made it to the Calypso Monarch finals twice. She made it to the finals in 2017 and placed fourth and this year, when she won. But she was also about to give up.
“This year was the year that I was saying I can’t do this no more. I was tired of auditioning for the same people…who knows my talent, knows what I am trying to do and it is not like they were oblivious to it…I said, ‘let me just forget this thing…give it a very, very long rest.’”
But when Full Blown Entertainment called to ask her to collaborate on Throw Back Ting with Kes, that changed her mind.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought Kes would want to do a song with me…the industry does put it in a way you have to be on a certain level to get a song with these fellas. So, I always say, you know what, I ain’t reach that level…”
Lyons said she was spending money and not making it back and she has a son to care for.
“I was like, if I keep spending money behind my dreams, what about my son’s dreams.” Lyons’ son, Matthias, is six.
He wants to play football, cricket and other sports. I am going to keep some money and pump money behind my son’s dreams. And that is what I decided to do because if I had only gone again this year to do it and it did not turn out how it is, I would have been crying all now.”
She said she took the opportunity with Kes as a sign and then decided to do the calypsoes as well.
While Lyons does not feel she was held back in the local entertainment industry, she said there is a mentality of “pay your dues.”
She has received widespread public support during and after being crowned Calypso Monarch. For Lyons, it was the people who crowned her.
The public’s response to her and her music has been “satisfying” and she feels a strong sense of gratitude.
She also knows that it is going to take some time post-covid19 for life to return to some semblance of normality.
Before covid19, Lyons had planned to record Meghan My Dear (she was unable to do so before because she got the song a week before auditions), as well as invest her winnings. Those plans have been halted for now but in the meanwhile, Lyons continues to practise her craft through online projects.
While younger people and children might seek to emulate Lyons or other artistes and entertainers, she advises against it.
Lyons says she tells students that entertainers and artistes are human too and will make mistakes.
Lyons, who is in her 30s, is still learning. She asks the children to take the positives from her and also to learn from the negatives.