Mical Teja on Road March win: ‘Follow your passion’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mical “Mical Teja” Williams won the 2024 Road March title with his hit DNA. –

The structure of the road was Mical “Mical Teja” Williams’ DNA.

The singer/songwriter took the Road March title and a cash prize of $250,000.

The song was played 341 times over Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez’ Carnival Contract, which played 225 times, and Patrice Roberts’ Anxiety, which played 48 times.

Second and third places receive no prizes.

The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) made the announcement during a press conference on Wednesday at the VIP Lounge, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.

The Road March is the song played the most times at the seven official TUCO judging points along the parade route on Carnival Monday and Tuesday ­– Port of Spain (Queen’s Park Savannah, Piccadilly Greens, South Quay), Arima, San Fernando, Tobago (Scarborough and Roxborough).

When Newsday contacted Teja, he said he was beyond speechless.

“These wins aren’t about me, these wins are for every young person in TT with a passion.

“Please, please, please follow your passion and do it with love.”

He added that he is beyond grateful for the support from everyone.

“The music isn’t mine any more. It is ours.

“Love allyuh, appreciate allyuh, and I will cherish this moment for a lifetime. #noplacelikehome.”

Michael “Tano” Montano, DNA’s co-writer, said in a phone interview on Wednesday he felt honoured to win a Road March. He is also the song’s co-producer with Teja.

“That is definitely a bucket list title to win.

“I think, for me, what makes it more special is to win it with somebody like Teja, who I started in the industry with about a decade ago.

“He would have, actually, been somebody who taught me about production and we started around the same time. I think it makes it special to win it with somebody I am close friends with,” he said.

“It is truly an amazing feeling.”

Tano added that the song winning Road March at a slower bpm (beats per minute) was also something special. DNA has a bpm of 128.

Last year’s winner, Hard Fete by Bunji, was 160 bpm, and 2020’s Stage Gone Bad by Iwer George and Kes was also 160 bpm.

Although he was unsure, Tano said he believes that road marches of the past were a higher bpm.

“I could be wrong but I can’t remember the last time a song of this bpm has won. I have to do my research and check that but I don’t think it was for a while.

“So I think it shows that a good song is a good song.”

He said in the past, songs sung by artistes like David Rudder and the late Aldwyn “Kitchener” Roberts were a slower bpm and won road marches.

“It has not been something like this for a while. So it is really amazing to see something like this win the road march.”

For Tano, to celebrate is to simply live in the moment.

“I am super grateful to be able to do this as a career. I might probably get some food with friends and family. I actually have work to do today as well. More music because the work does not stop.

“But I think it is important to really take the time to look back. Sometimes you get so caught up in the work itself and just trying to move forward and you forget to look back and say, ‘Hey, we did this and we made it happen.’”

Tano thanked all of TT for embracing the song and making it what it is.

“It is one of my proudest moments as a producer, this feeling 100 per cent.”

Patrice Roberts’ publicist Adanna Asson congratulated Teja.

“He is such an amazing and talented young man who has also contributed to Patrice’s success as a writer,” she said.

Roberts said she appreciated the reception Anxiety has been receiving and happy that it was suitable for some bands during their display at the judging points.

Bunji took to his Instagram account to thank his fans, saying, “It has been a fabulous season and magical journey with this song and seeing what it has grown into, thank you to everyone that loved Carnival Contract.”

He also congratulated Teja, adding, “Blessings as you continue your journey through soca.”

Ainsley King: Calypso is for everybody

Before delivering the Road March results yesterday, TUCO president Ainsley King thanked the public for what the organisation considered to be a very supportive and successful calypso season.

“Our execution this year was very effective and I want to thank the team that worked towards the plan. San Fernando was our major event (Calypso Fiesta) and we had some challenges and I can say, this year we were able to overcome a lot of the challenges.”

King said this is a positive sign because calypso is about inclusivity.

“And all people, all ethnic backgrounds in TT, across the world, calypso is for everybody and we continue to promote that because where national unity is concerned it is the only way that we see that we can bring some strength and contribute to changing the landscape of calypso, the attendance at our tents and all events.”

He said the organisation is working towards unifying and uniting TT.

Asked about criticisms of Machel Montano winning the Calypso Monarch crown, King said there were rumours that TUCO had some arrangement with Montano and Montano would have claimed that it was through his teachers that he was encouraged to enter the competition.

He said many people are now beginning to understand the value of calypso but his executive continued to remind people of what calypso is and the history of the genre.

“And as Machel said – well we have been preaching that, way before, from the time this executive started, we started to announce that there is no difference between soca and calypso,” King said.

King said the message has reached and many people are seeing things differently now.

“We are open, there is no separation between soca and calypso,” he said.

He said to some extent, Montano has brought some renewed interest to calypso.

“Machel has done a lot of work and we have seen him being able to have the capacity to draw large audiences to his institution, his events and so on. So I will say yes,” he said when asked if Montano brought renewed interest to calypso. He began by saying he had to be careful how he answered that.

He said Skinner Park was always an institution as it was a lime people looked for.

King said East Indians were at tents this year, which was an A plus for him. He said drawing East Indians to the tents was a challenge for several years.

“We came in and met some challenges and people will say all kinds of things and jump and choose to bash us.

“But we are the ones who find ourselves in a position with a responsibility to try to revive or bring people back to the tents and it is a very painful thing. All of the people who are out there talking and bashing, they don’t understand the many sleepless nights, I, as a leader, have working out what would cause this.

“What caused this, what caused that?”

King said he identified a lot and divisive calypsoes were among them.

“That is not something anyone should support.”

He said it was important to keep the metaphors and craftiness in political calypsoes.

King said openly that he loved political and social commentary, soca and all forms of TT’s indigenous music.

King said TUCO intended to work with a business model and it was not a free-for-all or eat-ah-food any more.

“It is about us building revenue… It is about us giving calypso some respect,” he said.

He said changes will cause people and he asked that people wait and give it a chance.