Finding one’s self isn’t exactly an easy feat in a world complete with diverse personalities, a fair share of life prospects, topped up with sometimes unavoidable perplexities. Young, zealous and extremely high-spirited Caleb McDowell somehow at the ripe age of sweet sixteen discovered ‘PURPOSE‘! With this being by far one of life’s pivotal sought-after treasures, the brutal reality is that most youth progress into adulthood — still on a quest to establish themselves within their own, authentic niches.
It is certainly no surprise McDowell answers to the name ‘Drum Ninja‘, expressing his manual fortitude and ability to glide effortlessly across the surface of his most treasured drum set, with a little help from a basic tool — his drum sticks. This remarkable flexibility is an astounding talent many who genuinely appreciate the artform marvel at — a refined skill which the ‘Musical Ninja’ often makes seem oh so simple!
A self-motivated, disciplined musician and very determined drummer, he also discovered he could sing and with these combined skills plummeted deeply into the professional music world head-on — with the aim of embracing whatever great opportunities lay ahead for him to explore within the industry.
So what really inspires Caleb? He shared a bit of his core identity with In The SpotLyght Feature Magazine, “I am the 26-year-old bandleader of the OV Band.” For those who for the first time are discovering this emerging creative group, OV represents Ocean View. The in-depth story behind the unit and the name which gave birth to it, will later unfold in an upcoming ‘Centre Stage’ feature.
Caleb continues to tell us, “I come from a religious background, where I grew up playing in church and at local gigs from a tender age.” This all makes sense, considering the vast amount of worldwide talent which has blossomed to the point of global fame out of humble spiritual beginnings.
The intriguing conversation rolled on with In The SpotLyght, “Music has been my career choice for as far as I can remember and is still one of the key driving forces behind my passion and purpose,” he went on to disclose. “Eventually throughout the years — I decided to expand my musical vocabulary. I ventured into secular music with mainstream genres such as Dancehall, Soca, Reggae, Funk, Soul among others.”
The daring drummer concluded, “Along my musical journey, I’ve had the honour of being part of several bands both locally and regionally, including DYP, Evalucian, Black Sheep and Envoice Band to single out a few.” For those wondering how a young man short of three decades has successfully collaborated with more than a few handfuls of musicians and creatives, the answer he resounds is very simple,”Music is my purpose!”
Those of you who may have marvelled at some of the greats within the industry — we can confidently say that Caleb McDowell, a real Drum Ninja — is living proof of how passion propels no matter the age. He, like other young men before him, is a musical mentor for young aspiring male and female drummers alike.
Caleb has passed the musical litmus test for maturity, steadfast discipline and commitment and has effectively demonstrated how to relentlessly press toward one’s musical mark, no matter the hurdles which may arise along the journey. This is surely a lesson every musician in the making needs to know!
The goal for Caleb can be encapsulated in this seven letter word ‘SUCCESS‘. For this gifted guy, average just won’t suffice — he aims for the heights of success and has ‘purposed‘ that he won’t lay his drum sticks down until his mission is accomplished!
From the historically rich community of Vieux Fort, located on the most southern tip of Saint Lucia and named after a fort which once overlooked Saint Vincent — sprung talented Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist and Drummer Alex Klein. ‘SAWLTY’ is the name you will hear Alex being called and this is no surprise — observing the flavour this prolific artiste brings to the stage during his live performances.
Alex is highly commended by his comrades and within his musical cliques, for his uniquely diverse flair when delivering the music he sings best — contemporary gospel. From a ripe, young age, Sawlty began both composing and penning original songs which were undeniably different from traditional music of the same genre. This has always been a natural practice for him, having been appreciating and experimenting with the artform from as far back as he can recall.
The young creative has performed at school concerts and camp activities, backed by ‘SALT’, his brother’s band. ‘The collaborative group has featured at ISCCF events, ‘Praise Explosion’ 2013 and the National Prophetic Youth Convention. Securing the sought-after third place position at Youth Fest 2012/ 2013 increased Alex’s popularity. His performances have since been sustained, greatly impacting audiences with his unique style which dexterously fuses singing with rap.
Multitalented, crafty, distinctly soulful — as a reborn believer and follower of Jesus Christ, SAWLTY shares through music — the hope and freedom he has discovered and now enjoys through his close connection with God.
Meet the ‘Legendary’Joan Laurencin-Johnson — an iconic role model for several young, aspiring females sharing her creative interests. Prominently positioned among some of the most attractive St. Lucian women, it is no surprise why Joan’s tenure within the local fashion world was an extensive one.
Her entrance into her first beauty pageant later led to Joan being numbered among the key influencers who comprised the unit which gave birth to the Saint Lucian Fashion and Modelling industry. ‘Aunty Joan’, as she is affectionately called by many youngsters, quickly gained prestige and recognition on the local fashion scene — securing an innovative spot, while leaving her unforgettable mark as a resourceful contributor.
Some may wonder what ‘Afro’ Joan’s mantra is. —”Life is short and unpredictable, so live good to feel good and look good, look good, look good!,” she brazenly advises.
A very adventurous fashionista to say the least, this one-of-a-kind mentor was inarguably one of the notable trendsetters of her day. The lovely Lucian lady could easily be spotted in any dense crowd, prominently gabbed down with outfits such as cool hipsters and striking platform shoes, accentuated with captivating accessories which spoke volumes. One has to admit that few people were capable of creating such an unforgettable first visual impression.
Flavourful fashion shows soon became her forte as she assumed the role of an advisor on the board of various committees, entrusted with the organisation of local beauty and talent shows. Her successful coaching and chaperoning stints with the Carnival Queen pageants attest to, not just her industry knowledge, but also her application and implementation skillsets.
The age-old artform of make-up artistry is yet another hobby Joan pulled out of her hatful of surprises. She has gifted many with the thrill of observing themselves from a totally different perspective — not only beauty-conscious females, but also brides-to-be and others desperately needing an urgent picker-upper for their big, momentous events.
‘Aunty Joan’ is undoubtedly a talented, balanced ambitious woman who when summoned, is sure to respond to the call of duty. Many will in unison agree that Joan Johnson’s legacy and impartation of knowledge to her friends, associates and the wider society, have created for her a legacy which won’t be forgotten.
Rashaad Joseph, an all-too-familiar title on both the Saint Lucian and international creative scene kick-started his music career at the St. Lucia School of Music as a preteen. He sampled various musical instruments until he stumbled upon the ‘sexy sax’ which he immediately passionately fell in love with. His instant fascination with, affinity for and adaptation to the piece — convinced him that becoming a saxophonist must have been written and set in the stars.
“I drew inspiration from Gerald Albright, Luther Francois & Rob ZIi Taylor,” he informed In The SpotLyght Feature Magazine. “As a youngster at school, I participated in an Inter Secondary School X-Tempo Competition hosted by Invader and triumphantly took home the crown to the Corinth Secondary School — a feat achieved with the fervent support of my music teacher Ms. Maraj.”
Rashaad consistently cultivated his craft with the goal of levelling up with the best in the industry — a challenge he took very seriously.
The young, dexterous player was fortunate enough to collaborate with amazing bands like the Black Antz Jazz Band and Dynamix during the formative years of his career, prior to putting together his very own band ‘Oceanview’ in early 2019.
He has professionally graced many stages, where he represented well at major events including the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, Jazz On The Grill and U4Ria. Subsequent to these appearances — Rashaad gradually became a household name as one of Saint Lucia’s rising young saxophonists — offering stellar performances with a depth of heart, topped up with deep-rooted soul which undoubtedly resonated with his inspired audiences.
Along his journey, Rashaad has continued to steadily prune his craft as a musician, developing the complementary role of a vocalist. Listening to and observing international artistes like Drake, Alkaline and Chronixx motivated the young hopeful and propelled him to hone in on his own vocal skills which before then, mostly remained dormant.
With total control of the sax, the young man continues producing melodious sounds on his big horn — while simultaneously developing his vocal inclinations into a steady, profitable career. Rashaad’s debut track was released during the latter part of 2018 and continued to create ripples into 2019 among his fans which were many.
‘Casanova’ was the hit original song which stirred his appreciative listeners in a major way, accompanied by a music video filmed and produced in Miami, South Pointe Park, starring feature model Chanel Carter who also appeared in Alkaline, Chris Brown and Trey Songs’ videos.
At the age of 20 years, Rashaad Joseph continues to mature as a musician and artiste, fine-tuning his artform in between his collaborating stints with various artistes — to help speed up his career expansion, bringing Saint Lucian musicians and performers the attention they deserve.