NOT TOO YOUNG FOR KAISO
At the tender age of twelve Brandon Phulgence, who performs under the sobriquet Mighty Sizzler, is making history. This week it was announced that he is the youngest person ever to compete in a National Calypso competition here. Mighty Sizzler will be competing in the Calypso semi-finals tomorrow, Sunday July 3, coming up against a number of veterans including Pep and Invader. The two happen to be among his heroes in the art form.
Since the announcement, there has been much debate on local talk shows and in the streets about his participation in the competition, once the exclusive domain of senior performers. Many have question the suitability of such a competition for someone so young, while others are happy that the age barrier has come down for the first time.
According to the carnival management committee, organizers of the event, there is nothing precluding the youngster’s participation, since the competition is no longer governed by the Saint Lucia Calypso Association, now defunct. Under the association’s guidelines one had to be eighteen years and older to participate.
This aside, Mighty Sizzler, with his parents in his corner, is brushing aside the detractors and focusing on his preparation for tomorrow. This week the STAR caught up with the young Calypsonian at his residence in the CDC in downtown Castries.
We first asked him about his mood at present to which he replied, “I’m calm and ready.
“My parents have always given me their support and this helps me to feel comfortable, confident and relaxed.” In fact it was his parents who first spotted his potential and at the age of eight prodded him to participate in the Calypso competition at his former school St. Aloysious RC Boys. “I sang at the school from 2012 doing Soca first, then until 2015 doing Calypso,” he explained. Mighty Sizzler has previously won the school crown and placed second in his final year last year.
This year he was the obvious choice to represent St. Mary’s College, which he now attends, at the junior calypso competition. From there he made the transition to the Ambassadors Calypso tent once the national competition started in June.
Asked what it was about Calypso he was so passionate about he replied, “It is something I really enjoy doing. It is an opportunity to bring out a message in a song and really express yourself on stage.”
On stage, Mighty Sizzler is a joy to watch, always appearing confident and well groomed with his diction and delivery on point. When it comes to Calypso and Soca, over the years he has watched and learned from his role models including Ninja Dan, Pep, TC Brown and De Invader. Praying before each performance, he says, also boosts his confidence and removes all shadows of nervousness.
The young calypsonian informed us that he is encouraged by the overwhelming support coming from his school principal Rohan Seon (who incidentally is the songwriter for one of his competitors, Pep). “My teachers and classmates are also very supportive and this makes me feel that I am doing something right,” Sizzler said. The role that his parents continue to play is always of tremendous importance. “They help me to focus and to keep my grades up in my academics as well,” he stated.
On Sunday Mighty Sizzler will be performing the songs “The Substance We’re Made Of” and “De Question Begs” both written by Trevor “Jah T” Anthony. He is encouraging all Calypso lovers to come out and witness this historic event at the National Cultural Centre grounds.
Before we closed off our interview Mighty Sizzler had this to say: “I think that anyone who has the talent should be given the chance and should not be discriminated against because of age. And to the people who say I am too young to participate because there is alcohol at these events, I want to tell them that there is alcohol at cricket and Asou Square which are family events. That does not mean that you have to consume it. Plus my parents are always with me, guiding me and ensuring that I do what is right. So they just need to give the youth a chance.”
History in the making: Mighty Sizzler is the youngest Calypsonian to make it to the national competition.