The name Savanna may not be a household one, but her voice has been heard on some of the biggest soca tracks of the last few years.
And in 2021 she is stepping forward to claim her space in the music industry.
For Savanna ‑ real name Karyce Marcano (née Philips) ‑ music is in her blood. Her father, Kenny Phillips, has been producing and arranging music for calypsonians and soca artistes for more than 40 years.
She told Soca News that she only recently decided to switch to the foreground after being asked many times.
“Being in the industry and having it in my blood, I found it was the next step and I owed it to the industry that I should contribute something,” Savannah said, as she recounted how a teacher at her alma mater, St Joseph’s Convent, San Fernando, asked her father why she did not join the school’s choir after hearing back-up vocals on Voice’s 2016 hit Cheers to Life.
Savanna said that her father jokes that his release of a calypso last year inspired her to release her first solo track for 2021, titled Name Man.
She insists he is wrong and disclosed that her creative juices flowed since the free time she had while working from home allowed her to write and explore music. The use of virtual platforms for fetes and other events also allowed the self-described ‘shy’ artiste to explore being a frontline singer.
Name Man has been well received with the video attracting over 69,000 views on the JulianspromosTV YouTube channel.
Savanna disclosed she was a bit surprised by the number of views since there has not been a lot of promotion behind the single. But she noted many women would have appreciated the song given that most would have experienced a situation with men where they felt powerless.
“The main inspiration came from an ex-boyfriend of mine, who I recently started seeing popping around in my space. It reminded me back when I was with him and how manipulative and controlling he was,” she said.
“I got upset. Imagine that I was so young back then when we were together and looking and thinking back when I was writing the song… I asked myself ‘Who he feel he was?’ What was really going through my mind? What was going through his mind? And I started think of the male-female experiences I would have had.
“If I were to go to travel, about 10 cars, with men, would stop or beep their horn, asking what I needed, where I wanted to go. Obviously, it’s not because they are trying to offer me the service but because I’m a woman and they feel they are within their right to harass me and make me feel insecure and unsafe. And that’s the thing: men don’t know how those things make us feel as women.”
She highlighted a recent incident in Trinidad where Ashanti Riley, 18, was assaulted and murdered moments after she took a taxi near her home.
Now that her music is making ripples in the Sea of Soca, we asked who she would like to work with in the future.
She replied that she does not have a list since most of the big names are like family to her since they frequently work with her father and brother. Savanna added that she is open to work with anyone once the collaboration is able to take the music higher.
So what’s next for Savanna in 2021?
The answer to this question is writing, honing her craft and preparing to take the world by storm one bop at a time.
Follow Savanna on Instagram @itssavanna