ONE YEAR LATER and Aziza is still bursting with joy. But her happiness is not linked solely to being the Calypso Monarch and being crowned the first queen in 28 years, she credits her glow to “an inner peace” she has learnt to develop over the years.
“Aziza does not dwell on the negative”, she told EASY, speaking of herself in the third person.
“I just stay positive and focused. I had wonderful teachers from a young age that have helped me master this. My mummy [Carol], Auntie Merle and Auntie Pat and a lot of other people played a part.”
She used the word “wonderful” on at least 11 different occasions during her 15-minute interview and found it hard to contain herself. There were times she paused while talking and following swiftly afterwards was a huge smile, a smile that lit up the room as she spoke about her journey.
“Some people look at me and say, ‘I know you from somewhere’. Then when I smile people would say, ‘I know that smile. Are you Aziza?’ And I would reply, ‘Yes’. I love my fans. I show love and respect to one and all.”
The 22-year-old exudes an aura of happiness that would be baffling to the average person given all she has been through. When questioned she said: “I was raised this way. Sometimes you have your days when it will be bad and rough. But I try to take it easy. I don’t let what is happening around me dictate who I am. I am truly happy.”
It can be said she has much to smile about in light of her accomplishments, which include giving birth to her daughter Aria.
Last year she not only became the first woman to be crowned since Queen Rita in 1988 but she is also the only person other than RPB to have won at age 21. In 2013, she made history by becoming the youngest female to reach the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals, eventually placing fifth. She would have also claimed two victories in the Junior Monarch competitions in 2007 and 2010.
“Junior Monarch was a wonderful experience. It was competition but still fun. I loved being on stage there. Some years I came fifth, sixth and it didn’t matter – I just kept going. It helped me to grow. I am eternally thankful for Junior Monarch.”
As for the “big yard”, that is a different experience. And although there was some negativity on the night and days after she was crowned queen, Aziza has nothing but love for those who were upset about her win.
“I felt the negativity from that night on the stage. A few people were bitter even before I was announced the winner. They started to say some awful things. I simply moved away. I was disappointed because I would have looked up to some of them through
“I know that over the past years women were fighting to become the first female since Rita. But I always knew that it would have been me. From the time I was in Junior Monarch I had a strong feeling. I always used to tell my mummy it was waiting on me. The ancestors and God told me on the night and I felt it.”
She recalled the rainy Saturday night when she performed her final song at Kensington Oval. She left the stage and before walking down the steps she dropped to her knee and started to cry.
“I didn’t make it down all the steps. I got so emotional. I honestly knew then that I had won it.”
There have been many exciting moments since her victory.
“The year was great. I enjoyed every bit of it. It has been a wonderful journey in terms of the travelling. I have been to Trinidad. I have been to several schools and seeing the kids loving me I felt special, because I really love children.”
Aziza is trying hard to balance being the best parent to her two-year-old daughter and pursuing her career in music.
“It is a sacrifice. I try my best as a mother. I spend the time I get with her. The time I don’t have with her I have to spend that working hard, trying to make something for us. She is coming along well. I taught her to read. She even knows the alphabet. And she actually sings my songs. She is very advanced. I am trying to keep her on a positive path. I want her to be the same as me or even better.”
Things will get more hectic in September when she starts to pursue studies in marketing management at BIMAP, a qualification she hopes will help her further promote herself.
The reigning queen tried something new this year when she released her first soca track, We Pun De Road, penned by Trinidadian writer Shaft.
“It was okay. It was a try for something new. I haven’t performed it lived as yet, but I am looking forward to doing it. I think when I do soca again I would want to do something sweeter, something that more suits my voice. As a first-timer I didn’t want to be too picky so I went with the flow because I truly appreciated the offer.”
She was introduced to Shaft two years ago. But it was only this year he said he was interested in her talent since he heard she wanted to do soca. He wrote the song and Island Vibes produced it.
But although she has dabbled in soca she remains focused on one thing – Saturday, August 5 at Kensington Oval, finals night. Her team, led by Ewatt Viper Green, who has written for her the past six years, is in place. With help from people like De Hawk, Ricky Brathwaite, her family, Eleanor Rice and tent members, she is readying herself for the battle ahead.
“When I released We Still Standing Tall I got a lot of positive feedback. I am working hard. We practise five times a week . . . . We use a stage and a microphone. I have been exercising, working on the vocals, drinking and eating the right stuff. I am doing everything to keep my voice in tune because I want to retain my crown. I will defend my monarchy with everything inside of me. This is what I want again . . . to create more history by winning back-to-back titles,” she said purposefully and, of course, with a smile. (TTY)