HAVING HIS MOMENT: "Since winning Rising Stars," the singer (né Andre Tyrell) reflects, "the journey has been a real learning experience."
People say I have an old soul. I heard it constantly while I was a contestant on Digicel Rising Stars, which I won last year, and I still hear it everywhere I go – at the market, at concerts, and in the streets of Falmouth, Trelawny, where I’m originally from and where I still live to this day. As a young singer, it’s a tremendous feeling to know that people appreciate my talent and will approach me to say how much they like my voice and that they voted for me when I was on the show last year.
Since winning Rising Stars, the journey has been a real learning experience. I am discovering new things everyday and finding fun ways to handle the ‘pressure.’ But overall it’s been exciting. I’ve been to a lot of different places for performances, but the experience I cherish the most is going into schools, like my alma mater Cornwall College, to reason with the kids, encourage them and let them know that living their dream is possible because I was once in their position.
Speaking of school, I wanted to re-enroll at the Brown’s Town Community College this year to finish up a programme I’d started, but that didn’t work out, so I’m in the waiting line. In the meantime, though, I’m working on some singles. I have always considered myself an all-rounder. I basically like all kinds of music. So one of my objectives is to bring a fusion to the music scene, something diverse, full of variety. I’m working on it – how to mix that old-school vibe that people say I have with some new-school flavour. I’m also forming a band called Covenant, which is a name that some of my friends call me, and I’ve been swapping ideas with my studio family at Lighthouse Empire Records.
There is a lot to look forward to. For my 22nd birthday, which is in November, I’m planning a big concert – T-Rizzy and Friends – which will be held at the Falmouth Pier. My studio family will be there as well as the Covenant Band. It will be a fun-day and concert to remember.
Five years from now I see myself doing duets with artistes like Rihanna, touring internationally and representing Jamaica – and people loving the energy. My fanbase has been growing steadily since Rising Stars, and most of those persons are in my age group or younger. As a role model, I have a huge responsibility that I take seriously. When they look at me, I want them to see hope; that’s the main thing. A lot of people who know my story say that they have been inspired and I want to continue inspiring people.
If there’s one valuable lesson my journey has taught me it’s the importance of being true to yourself. In my experience, that allows you to maintain your standard and how people value you. You don’t just live in the minds of people but in their hearts as well. And that’s the best place to be. – As told to TALLAWAH Magazine