Trinidad & Tobago’s Farmer Nappy AKA Darryl Henry is a bit of a legend in the soca scene. He joined Machel Montano’s band Xtatik at the age of seven (!!!), working his way from back-up instrumentalist to the songwriter of smash soca hits “Chippin (With Me Woman)” and “Go Brave.” Nowadays he’s working as a solo artist, and released his album You Make Me… Surrender last month. Voted this week by readers as MTV Iggy’s Artist of the Week, Farmer Nappy is proof that plenty of people are digging his pan-Caribbean soca party beats.
We spoke with Farmer about the origin of that moniker, his suggested packing list for Carnival, and what we can expect from the artist next:
We saw some other names in soca like Bunji Garlin and Erphaan Alves supporting you online. Is there a lot of community in the soca world?
There were a few artists/celebrities that stepped forward to publicly support me. As far as the community goes, I guess it comes down to the individuals, whether you get along with another person or not. Personally, I respect each artist for their individual talents and I always give respect where respect is due. I would like to thank some of those who stood up publicly to support me: Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons for gathering their troops, ‘Project Runway’ winner Anya Ayoung-Chee, Erphaan Alves, Rachel Price,Tizzy, KMC, Khalabash Ent., Entertainment Macco, Islandmix, Hans Des Vignes, Martin Jay, Dancing Jade, Nigel Telesford and Overtimett, HD Limers, All the DJ’s, news stations, radio Stations and all my Facebook & Twitter family. Last but not least, my personal team: Rhona & Zack at Fox Fuse, Katrina at Countrylife Entertainment and Lee at Lee Designs.
How does it feel to get that kind of support?
It was overwhelming and made me a little emotional to see it. At one point I was speechless. I just sat back and watched in amazement. I wish I could thank each and everyone on Twitter and Facebook, but that would be impossible.
And how was your Carnival this year? Did you take in any of the Soca Monarch competition?
Carnival was great! I would consider it to have been successful. I am thankful for the amount of work that I personally had in terms of getting hired for solo performances, as well as the band work with Machel Montano and Team HD. No, I did not attend the competition, I took that time to rest before a gig.
How did you get your stage name?
I was always called Nappy from young, I got that nickname from my father. Machel later named me Farmer during the making of our song, “Music Farm.”
We loved your collaborations with dancehall and reggae guys like General Grant and Anthony B. If you could get any one in the world to jump on your next track who would it be?
Hmmm…..I’m open to anyone who can add to the creative process. It all comes down to a vibe, you either have it or you don’t.
We can tell you mix a lot of Caribbean flavors into your soca sound. Will you tell us a little about your secret recipe?
My secret recipe is finding the right producers to fit the right songs. You know what your producers are capable of and you have to turn around and trust in them to bring it all together. They are the head chefs. It all comes down to the correct combination of writer, artist, producer, if it’s the right fit, then the pot bubbles with flavor.
You’ve been playing soca music since you were seven? Have you ever thought about trying a different style?
I would like to do a reggae track someday. I already did a dance track (“Come Back” on the new album), but soca is in my blood, it comes naturally. Soca is more than just a genre of music – it has an energy, a heart beat, a soul. Soca lives inside of us.
We think you have a really broad pop sensibility. Do you have any influences on your music that we might find surprising?
My influence is my environment. The people that influence my music are the people that I have around me in my life. My writers and my team are all young and full of energy. They drive me and always encourage me to try new things and I am open to it.
What advice would you give to someone traveling to Trinidad to experience Carnival there for the first time? What should they do first?
Oh gosh. LOL First thing – months before you come for Carnival, go to the gym, get fit and take your vitamins. Secondly, buy some comfortable shoes. Thirdly, get familiar with the music, it helps you get into the Carnival spirit. Go on any major online digital retailer and buy my album. ;-) Don’t forget your sunblock!
What do you have planned for next year’s Carnival? Are you going to enter the Soca Monarch competition next year?
My team and I are already putting next year together in our heads. No, I have decided not to enter the competition again. It has been my belief for years that the competition on a whole is what holds our music back, it lowers the standards of our music by subjecting it to be competed against. Music is not meant to be judged, it’s meant to be heard. It creates bad vibes and bad blood amongst the artists and at the end of it, what do you gain? Nothing. Every year, I said I wasn’t going to enter and each year I went back against my word, due to pressure from friends and fans. However, I have now made a stance that I hope can be respected. We can’t keep fighting for our music to be recognized internationally, if we continue to fight amongst ourselves. A friend and colleague of mine said this year that the only winner that comes out of Soca Monarch is the promoter. I agree. Soca Monarch or any other competition cannot judge my music, my music is for the people.
What’s next? Do you have another album in the works?
What’s next? More work! It doesn’t stop after Carnival, it’s year round. We have thoughts of another album and you will be the first to know, MTV Iggy. I truly appreciate the attention you are bringing to our culture and our music in Trinidad.