What's your full name and do you have an artiste name?
My full name is Damian Kurt Kofi Lythcott.
Artiste name; Marvay. My father’s name is Mark and my Mother’s name is Marva Yvonne. I put the names together one day just to label a demo CD and the name “Marvay” just stuck. I see it as a homage to my parents and a constant reminder to be grateful of how I got here.
What is your Nationality and where do you reside at the moment?
I am a Proud Barbadian, living in Barbados.
How old were you when your talent became evident and you knew you were gifted? Feel free to give some details.
I’m not sure about the “knowing I was gifted” part but I definitely caught the music bug from a very early age- at least 7; singing along with the radio, especially Rick Dees weekly top 40 or the World Music Chart, obsessively recording any new music onto tons of cassettes, and writing tons of poems and songs. I finally braved my first talent show at 16 years old at my high school (Harrison College).
Who is your biggest musical and non-musical inspiration?
The list of biggest musical inspirations is too vast to choose just one. I could say Sizzla Kalonji or even Bob Marley but then there’s The Mighty Gabby, Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Jill Scott, J Dilla, Biggie Smalls, Future, Lauryn Hill, Timbaland n Missy, Miles Davis, Brandy, Enya, Grizzly Bear, Dave Matthews Band, the grandmaster Bach himself, or even Lil Rick from Barbados. I’ve learned and continue to learn from so many prolific masters.
In terms of non-musical inspirations that list is diverse too with names like Elon Musk or Oprah Winfrey or even our current Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley coming to mind. However I think the one that keeps intriguing me the most in recent times is Barack Obama. I finally read his first book “Dreams of My Father” during the Covid-19 lockdown. A must-read, self-written, epic backstory.
Besides what you’re known for, is there anything else you can do really well?
I’m really into hiking and climbing and exploring nature.
What are your all-time top 3 songs from your own catalog.
It’s difficult to pick a favorite song from my own catalog. I appreciate them all for different reasons at different times. If I had to pick a top 3 right now it would probably be:
1. First Chance
2. Push & Go Thru
3. Hit De Boy
Are you happily married/taken, or single living your best life?
I’m currently single. Working on Trust.
What is your most memorable performance or experience to date?
There are so many memorable performances its hard to pin-point one in particular, but off the top of my head my first ever national Sweet Soca finals in Barbados in 2016 stands out because of the size and energy of the crowd. It was at least 20 000 people and I was totally humbled when they all started singing my song that year ( “Know the Face”) word for word. My first ever gig across the Atlantic at the Antilliaanse Feesten in Belgium was also unforgettable.
Soca music is still not recognized as a mainstream music genre. Why do you think this is and what do you think is the first step to bring about change?
I think the appetite globally for Soca music has been steadily growing and growing over the years. Incidentally Harry Belafonte’s “Calypso” album was a best seller way back in 1956. But especially in the last 10 years, we’ve been seeing major pop acts such as Justin Bieber start to sample our specific flavor of sound. (Also check out Animal Collective’s Brother Sport). I think the more our Soca sound is sampled by major global acts and the more we actually collaborate or feature with those more established artists we will be able to see the genre become more mainstream. Our cousins in Afrobeat have also been paving the way for the world to invite us in.
Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
In five years I hope to still be writing, recording and performing music. Collaborating through new sounds with different artists and music producers from every corner of the globe. I also have plans to open up an Arts School eventually so that I can keep mining Barbados for more of our talent to expose to the world.
Do you have a favourite song (not one of your own)? If you do, can you tell us what it is and why it's this particular one?
Its tough to single out a single favorite track from my never-ending playlist. I will just say that recently I've been really into Roddy Ricch and Prince Swanni and just getting into Masicka. Favorite track at this moment is probably “Life is Good” by Future and Drake because Future and Drake are forever sick!
Who do you think is the most under-rated Soca artiste in the Caribbean?
I'm inspired by so many Soca acts that have been blazing hits for a while now. From L’il Rick or Alison Hinds of Barbados to Machel Montano or Patrice Roberts or Kes or Voice or even Nailah Blackman (all of Trinidad). There's a pretty long list of Soca artists that I respect who been bringing it every year and at a high quality.
Can you cook? If yes, what's your best dish? If you can't cook, what's the dish you love to order?
I like to make Beef Lasagna or Shepherds Pie mostly but when its time to eat out I usually can't resist a good Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli.
What genre besides Soca can we find right now in your personal music playlist?
In my playlist there’s lost of Rap/trap/ Hip Hop. There’s also “nuff” Reggae and some Old dub. But Also you will find tons of Afrobeat like Wizkid or Davido or Tiwa Savage or Yemi Alade. But then you always also have to make room for Bach or some Miles Davis on the down time.
Life of the party or do you prefer to lay back and go with the flow?
In terms of partying/liming, I usually prefer to go with the flow, cool and easy but I would be lying if I said I don’t get loud and wild sometimes once great music is booming. I'm like an extrovert and introvert in the same body.
Dreams of working with anyone in particular, performing on any specific event or in a certain country?
I would love to create/perform with Anyone Anywhere that’s sick at their craft that move me to goosebumps! It would be awesome to perform on a grammy or Coachella stage one day too!
No phobias really.. except dying before realising all my goals or seeing my family forward to better days.
Will you be releasing more new material even though no other carnivals will probably take place this year?
Of-course!Theres always more music food to share. Stay Tuned.
Any other Soca rising stars in the Caribbean we should keep an eye out for?
Tons From Barbados.. off the top of my head Lead Pipe & Saddis and Nikita and Jus D. Just to name a few.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
Probably raising my 12 year old son so far to this point. It’s a dream come true to have him and I'm proud of him.
If you had the chance to make one wish a reality, what would you wish for?
For everybody ..including myself to practice listening more and having compassion for one another. Yes, I know that's so Hallmark card like, but it would help a lot.
Any last words for the people of Europe?
To all audiophiles everywhere, I love you! We are all cut from the same cloth. Music rules and saves lives.. and I hope u enjoy taking in mine. Be safe and Turn up the Vibes!-Damian