Born Garvin Johnson, Scrappy has been performing now for more than 20 years starting out as a calypsonian in the mid 90s on Montserrat. We asked him 10 questions on lessons learned as an entrepreneur and entertainer.
1. Where/who do you get your work ethic from?
Scrappy: I am very optimistic so my work ethic comes from that. I am always considering the possibility of success on the next level so I always have a new aim or target and find ways to better what I’ve done.
2. When did you decide that you wanted to focus on Soca and do it full-time?
Scrappy: From 2005 when I came to Montserrat and saw the love and support I got with my debut album. I realized that this is where I want to be.
3. What jobs have you done while trying to build your music career?
Scrappy: Well I teach music. Also I used to work at a Pizza Hut delivery service and Virgin Megastore.
4. Tell me about the creation of Tropical Storm. How does having your own band change the soca game for you and how you show up on stage?
Scrappy: Tropical Storm is a Caribbean band by that I mean mixed cultures and music ideas. Having my own band makes me more flexible on stage in terms of performances. CD’s limit you.
5. What are some of the challenges of doing soca on the European scene?
Scrappy: Exposing it to new territories and have to explain what soca is and all the work that comes with it. Plus the EU market is still new to soca so you need to be detailed about planning how and when you do stuff in the various countries.
6. What kind of money can you make for gigs across the countries? Which ones pay more?
Scrappy: Well the money is based on you as a brand/product. Just as different tablets sell for different prices because of the quality of the brand so making money is down to how you build your brand. It varies.
7.Money secrets that you learned the hard way.
Scrappy: Always make sure that you can cover running (operating) costs. We always over look the bills that needs to be paid to make the money.
8. Talk about the new music project. How long does it take you to write before hitting the studio or does it happen when you go in and listen to rhythms? Talk us through the process.
Scrappy: Well I get the music first then vibe off that but in rare occasions I make a vibe up then put music to it. Writing isn’t hard though. My mother had me reading a lot in school and now I realise how that helps me to write and express myself.
9. Which artists have you worked with and admire their work ethic? Who would you like to work with?
Scrappy: Well I more work with producers than artists. Artists now are so focused on building themselves that it’s hard to get anyone so easy but I like SD Productions, Daddy Willo and Junez.
10. Your one core belief about music? Your core belief about business? Your core belief about what you can do in the world.
On Music – Always keep in mind you will cross paths again with the people you have met. The small promoter now can be the big promoter tomorrow.
On Business – Build your brand and product. Learn and know your competition and always think that what you can achieve they can also so that way you never underestimate other people.
On the World – Well I have this idea that we are all connected in the world. It sounds crazy BUT if I for instance get bad news, and I share it with someone form Montserrat they might be sad because I am sad, then they will share that with someone in America and then my sadness has now affected someone in America and it goes on and on. So for what I can do in the world is teach love. Sometimes we just need to be the one person who started it and it spreads. ?
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