Destra Garcia’s fans will enjoy the best of her Carnival hits and Christmas classics this month.
Just over a week since dropping her first offering for Carnival 2023, Never Gonna Let You Go, Garcia, the Soca Queen, is set to headline Brian Mac Farlane’s “Christmas Joy: The Magic Returns” this evening at Queen’s Hall. The bold addition of the Soca Queen to this signature Christmas musical production, in the thick of Carnival prep, reinforces her singular versatility as a vocalist and performer.
According to a release, Never Gonna Let You Go, a groovy number, is part of the Scorpio soca superstar’s ‘November takeover’, as she builds momentum toward the imminent Trinidad Carnival season. It was created by Guadeloupean producer Fabrice Hugues Raquil and written by Jaime Pinder of The Bahamas, home to countless Garcia fans.
Garcia said on first hearing the song, “I fell in love with it. And so did my daughter and my entire family. I recorded it in 2020, but I’ve just been waiting for the right time.”
The coming Carnival will also see the reveal of Garcia’s 16th album.
“It will only be the second time in the artist’s 20-year career that she will launch an album within the Carnival season. It seems fitting as 2023 marks 20 years since her debut album Red, White and Black, as well as the 20th anniversary of soca music’s most iconic, timeless hit It’s Carnival, for which she carries the distinction as lead vocalist,” the release stated.
“I don’t know if I can top this; this album is too much vibes,” she said. “I have so many classics, but this is some of my best work. I feel really, really good about this album.”
While the undisputed Queen of Bacchanal recognises the undeniable milestones of her upcoming season, she is humbled by the absence of many of her (especially industry) friends who did not make it through the pandemic. Garcia said she feels lucky to be here. “I feel like I owe it to them. I need to enjoy it and do the most for them so that maybe their memory could live on through this season.”
The pandemic, the release stated, also ushered an unexpected admission from Garcia: “Without realising it, I have taken my Trini Carnival for granted…I so missed our Carnival during the pandemic–I missed the Savannah, the Socadrome, being on the road playing mas, and taking pictures with the fans. I just can’t wait to give them this body of work that I deliberately held back for them. I could have released songs, but I kept feeling like I needed to release this at home first.”
As she looks forward to Trinidad Carnival, which she still sees as “the mecca,” the Laventille-born and bred performer reflects on her journey and her evolution, “Even though you look at me now and see me 20 years in the business, I remember it was straight after A-levels I started doing this. I finally had the opportunity to pursue music professionally, to do the thing I’d always loved since my first time on stage at ten years old Before that, my mother insisted that singing could not happen without a solid academic foundation.
“Alison Hinds, Sanelle Dempster and Denise Belfon–they were grown to me; I admired them. I was like the little rookie, now coming on the scene…I don’t know how many people know this, but I did not go to a single party before I went on stage. My parents were strict. So when Roy Cape asked me to join the band he had to talk to my parents, because I was that innocent.”
With her own preparation for the anticipated splendour and energy of Carnival 2023 in full swing, Garcia is aware that she feels different, “I feel renewed and rejuvenated in all aspects. There is something about being caged up and then released. There is something about having freedom after you’ve had none. You just want to do everything and do it to the best of your ability, because you never know when it’s going to be taken away.