Gospel Singer Turned Calypsonian Checko Is Now Stardom Tent King

Gospel Singer Turned Calypsonian Checko Is Now Stardom Tent King

CRAIG BELLOT:           Welcome everyone to another episode of NuMusicZone TV! I’m Craig Bellot your host and today were here with Checko the Stardom King of the Tent for 2012. Checko had some really controversial calypsos this year. “Bug her” and “A.M/P.M”. And these songs were so popular and so controversial that he almost did not even perform for the finals. But he did up perform in and he’s gonna give us the whole story behind that right after the break.

CRAIG BELLOT:           So Checko these song were really so controversial that there were actually, I heard lawyers present at the finals. You know trying to prevent you from singing those songs. I mean is that true? Or if not tell us what happen.

CHECKO:                     Well, the thing is that on one of my interview at Q95 radio station. I was sued for lawyer letter. And when I read it, I thought that I need an assistant from my counsel. So I contacted my counsel. And we replied the letter. Shortly after, we received another letter stating that if I ever go to the finals to perform. There will a lawsuit against me. However in that similar letter stated that a junction will be filed that I should not perform the songs at the finals, not anywhere else in public.

CRAIG BELLOT:           So what happened after that? What were you advice to do since you know your lawyer told you that everything in the song was okay. What happened after that?

CHECKO:                     Well I went to perform my song. My lawyer went through the song and the song had no problem. What the lawyer letter that we receive. So we went on and I perform the song as is.

CRAIG BELLOT:           And was there any retrogressions for you performing that song on the night of the finals?

CHECKO:                     No.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Ok, So Checko tell us I mean everybody wants to know really how, who is Checko, where does he come from? I mean tell us about your background a little bit.

CHECKO:                     Ok, well uhm Checko, well persons would knew me before as “Abel”. Was gospel artist from since 2003. From 1996 to 2003 I add gospel albums on the scene. There was “One Tears” the other one was “Half it’s Time” and the last is “Unconditional Love”. And in 2010 I was working as a police officer and I’m a police officer now for fourteen (14) years. I was working on La Plaine and then involve in the community. I wasn’t sure and I thought I could do well if I just took part and help with my music experience. And then I took part and “Karessah” was present. And when he saw my performance he invited me to come into the National Competition and take a try.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Ok, Had that crossed your mind at any point or just you know that suggestion from Karessah really pushed you.

CHECKO:                     Well, the suggestion from Karessah really pushed me. By my brother, Junior was always telling me that it was time that I go to the National Competition and take a try. He usually encourage me in everything and he said “take a try maybe something might come up for you” they always tell me that and when Karessah told me that. I know Karessah is a well respected calypsonian and he may have known musically than my brother. So when Karessah told me that I thought then I should take a try.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Ok and what happened from then? Did you start writing your own songs you wrote as a writer? So, you wrote your own songs by yourself and did the music for it?

CHECKO:                     Yes, I did the composition arrangement and the music that I wrote. And with the assistance of Archie in the studio, and Stephen Aontione who is an arranger also, I will not go to the studio without them because that’s my right and we put in the music and to give it a little color.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Alright so Checko tonight this is your last year in the Calypso competition right?

CHECKO:                      No, I have intentions of doing something again.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Alright guys, when I take this quick brake and we come back we gonna talk to Checko a little bit more.


CRAIG BELLOT:           So Checko tell us to writing you know that song either “Bug her” or “AM/PM”. I mean you know you really seem to have the art of calypso down to a science. Tell us just for all our aspiring writers out there. Tell us the kind of the process you go through to write one of your calypsos.

CHECKO:                     Well it seems that calypsos are more tricky music to write, more tricky songs to write because in the light of libel and slander. You have to try: if you’re coming up with a story maybe controversial or so on. You have to try to mask it up so let’s say in “AM/PM”- Actually the story I’ll be trained alone speaking about especially my introduction first as I woke up in the morning and in the evening all for the song. But yet still for everybody who gets that song was exactly what the song is talking about. * Singing “AM/PM”*

In “Bug Her” the story of prime is bug.Meaning I’m trying to tap also in invading privacy and so on. But that was in the message that the ambassador got so that’s why I get the letter.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Ok, So do you think those songs were masked well enough that the people would maybe take a wrong offense to it?

CHECKO:                     Well, I believe it was masked enough because some advice I’ve gotten from even person like Karessah observe Hunter and Lady Star. And even the long NC told me “if you over masked a song, persons were not keen to calypso would be blinded and then you might almost not make sense to them. So you have to keep it to a certain extent but still release so that they can be part of it.

CRAIG BELLOT:           It’s a tight balance between mask and too much not masking enough. What about the music, is there anything special you know the songs you said you will not go to the studio without your special arranger. I mean anything he gives to the music that you think you would be worst if without?

CHECKO:                     Well, the musical theme would be color. He gives color to the music. Because maybe I’ll go in the studio in the few days maybe without him maybe we get the skeleton of the music done. But before something is brought out I will bring him to the studio to be an overseer to make sure everything is in order or the chords that we play are well colored are well arranged and so on.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Alright, so tell us your advice for your upcoming calypsonians. I mean now that you’re into the game, how do you see it and what advice would you have for somebody thinking of writing a song and started in the calypso journey.

CHECKO:                     Well, sing about something you love and be true to it. The thing is that don’t hide your lyrics. If there are things that are happenings in the country that people need to know, I’m not telling you to call any name as the song isn’t calling no names. So what are you going to do is just express yourself in a nice manner. Make sure what you do is legal; I’m a police officer I will not advice anybody to do anything that is contrary to the law. So make sure what you write pass it through a lawyer to make sure the legality that it is okay and then you go through.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Alright guys there you have it Checko the 2012 Stardom King of the Tent. We’ll be right back after the brake.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Well Checko tell us what you have for us for the future, for next year. Anything coming big or anything with your gospel music?

CHECKO:                     Ok, well for the gospel music I plan doing the single and so sometime or maybe later this year it should be the oath for the calypso. I’ve started working on something. I mean I do not want to give too much of my secret because I mean calypsonians sometimes even get to the topics and get thing going. So I try not to say too much about that because I believe now is the time most of calypsonians are writing. So if I give my secret all that would be my weapon.

CRAIG BELLOT:           So, you’re not gonna give us any preview, any little hint of what coming?                  

CHECKO:                     What I can say for what we have so far is that I will be dressed as a dentist. That is the thing I really prefers but that Im really going dressed as a dentist.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Ok so we’ll be certain to be looking out for that. With the gospel music I know you know a lot of artist you know sometimes are afraid to cross over from the church to the secular music. Tell us what that experience has been for you.

CHECKO:                     Well from since I did so, I mean the public; so many persons have been on my back. It seems large enough so I carry as much as I can. However, my wife has been by my side, my pastor has been there with me. Sam Augustine has been there supporting me. As a matter of fact on the night of the finals they are about, we were supposed to be in the back somewhere in seven thirty. By seven o’clock or ten before seven there I was. I was with my pastor and my wife and were praying before I go to sing on the finals.

CRAIG BELLOT:           Ok Great. Alright guys, we wanna thank you for taking the time you joins us with Checko Stardom King of the Tent and finalist in this year’s calypso competition. I wanna urge you to check out for all Checko’s music and all the calypsos this year and all previous years. So stay tuned till another episode of NuMusicZone TV.


Keyboardist, Entreproducer, and founder of Craig's main focus is to help Caribbean artists earn the most revenue from their music.