Stacey Sobers comes from a musical family: her father, Glenford Sobers, was a calypsonian known as Joe Cool and her brother Marlon Asher had a hit with Ganja Farmer. She was a member of the choir at Mount Ararat Spiritual Baptist Church. At the age of 17 she was a member of a reggae group called Black by Nature that placed fourth in local talent show Party Time in 1994. ‘Lemme know when yuh coming’ brought her to the attention of soca fans in 2001 and she became a front line singer for the band Island Vibe.
However, it was after a family tragedy in 2014 that Stacey decided to switch from the heady frenzy of jump n wave soca to social commentary calypso. That year she placed fourth in the NWAC Calypso Queen competition, in 2016 she reached the semi-finals of the Calypso Monarch contest with ‘One Love’ (dedicated to Black Stalin) and last year she was a finalist in the Queens with ‘A People of Substance’.
It all came good at Queen’s Hall in Port of Spain on 29 January this year, when Stacey got the judges’ votes for Calypso Capital and Queens and Kings. The first, written by Gregory Ballantyne, is a tribute to Skinner Park’s calypso heritage while her second song calls on people to apply the words ‘king’ and ‘queen’ only to those who truly deserve those titles. The idea for the calypso was apparently suggested by her husband and manager, Gervon Abraham. She told Trinidad Express, “I’m singing about real issues which I can feel and sing with real emotion as a person and singer and as a calypsonian.”
After her success in Trinidad, Stacey went on to collect another crown at the Queen of Queens contest at the St Kitts and Nevis Culturama on 31 July. Competitors came from Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the US Virgin Islands.
Stacey Sobers is a regular performer in a variety of genres at Kaiso Blues with the three-piece band Music Connection. For the past decade she has been a member of the Divas Calypso Cabaret, where she is also a manager. As if that were not enough, she is studying for an associate’s degree in Fine and Performing Arts at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT).
She counts among her musical heroes and heroines Ella Andall, Calypso Rose, Singing Sandra, Lord Kitchener and Mighty Sparrow. Her ambitions are to achieve the double of winning the Calypso Queen and Calypso Monarch contests, but more fundamentally to create a positive change in society.
You can enjoy an audience with Queen Stacey at ACUK’s Calypso Monarch Finals on Thursday 23 August and People’s Choice (Last Night of the Tent) on Friday 24 August. Venue: The Tabernacle, Powis Square, London W11 2AY; showtime: 7.45pm; advance tickets: £12 via eventbrite.com.
Other London Calypso Tent Stories
They got it! Sunshine and Nadiva take UK soca crown
Calypso pressure rises at London Tent semis
The road to kaiso – London Calypso Tent 2018 opens