Problem Child

What's your full name?

"Shertz James."

How did you get your artiste name?

"Many reasons. I’m a practical joker but at the same time very serious and passionate about my craft and life itself and I expect the same from anyone working with me. I’m also outspoken and do not shy away from the truth or speaking it.”

What is your Nationality?

"Born Vincentian! I also hold US citizenship."

How old were you when your talent became evident and you knew you were gifted? Feel free to give some details.

"I have no idea. I’ve just always loved music and wanted to do it on some level."

Who is your biggest musical and non-musical inspiration?

"My musical inspiration isn’t just one person but many many artistes I’ve heard throughout my entire life. Everyone from Bob Marley to Michael Jackson to Aero Smith, Adele, anyone, as long as they’ve done music. I have no one I really idolize. Closest might be Jay-Z & Vybz Kartel. Non-musical inspiration is life and the experiences it brings."

Besides what you’re known for, what else can you do really well that the general public is clueless about?

"I don’t know if they’re clueless. People seem to know everything these days. I can cut hair really really well. Designs and all. Did that professionally for a long time while still doing music but don't do it anymore. I used to be good at football (soccer) and cricket as well but haven’t had time to keep active at either one. I should be fluent in French but lost practice. I can mostly understand what people are saying, or a good bit of it but I struggle to remember words and expressions."

What is your most memorable performance or experience to date?

"I don’t have just one honestly. I simply try to give my best at all times. A few stand out but in my opinion, it wouldn’t be fair to the others to name only one."

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?

"There’s not a big enough movement. Very few Soca fans support Soca fully the way they support other genres in my opinion. They can tell you who every artiste is if they see them once in other genres but can’t even tell us apart in Soca. They may know the songs and don’t know the artiste etc. I know this happens in other genres as well but it’s very heavy in Soca. Too heavy for us to be a real force. One of the main reasons which I should’ve maybe said first, is the lack of available albums from Soca artistes and the lack of streaming, downloads and purchases by our own people when albums are made available. If there are more albums and steams the governing bodies will see it. They will have no choice! The numbers would show. If we have enough of our albums on these platforms and they do numbers, we will be more recognized. Unfortunately, a lot of our people lack the means to stream, purchase and download as well. Lastly, we need equal opportunity for all artistes. You never know who the powers that be may look at and want to hear what they have to say and/or offer. We cannot hide a “Problem Child” per-say who may have something as simple as a look or the versatility to gain the attention of the forces who can give us recognition. It can be anyone, so give everyone the chance to shine."

Where do you see yourself in five years from now?

"Wherever the universe puts me. I can only hope, work towards what I want and prepare, but the universe will have the ultimate say."

Do you have a favourite song? If you do, can you tell us why it's this particular one?

"I do not have a favourite song atm. I just love music. I listen to a lot of everything! I have countless playlists for different moods."

Who do you think is the most under-rated artiste in the Caribbean?

"Me!! Point blank period lol! I live in the US but I’m assuming u mean within the Caribbean culture. Many people will tell you the same. Had I been given an easier path or acceptance .... lemme stop. Lol"

Can you cook? If yes, what's your best dish? If you can't cook, what's the dish you love to order?

"I’m not an expert chef but what I can cook I do very very well . I have like 5 meals I’m very good at. I don’t get to cook but I’m lucky enough to have meals prepared. I like to eat as healthily as I can when I can."

What genre besides Soca can we find in your personal music playlist?

"No Soca in my playlists, just Soca beats to write to. Other genres include, classic rock (Matchbox20, Dave Mathews band, Cold play, Red Hot Chili Peppers and so on) Hip hop, Dancehall, Classic soul. I have a 'Time Life‘ music playlist with Perry Quomo, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and so on. Afro beats (African music), Reggae. You name it, I listen to it all."

Life of the party or do you prefer to lay back and go with the flow?

"I used to be the life of the party. Now it’s more work. I don’t like to party in my spare time. Not too many people go back to work in their free time. I do party occasionally but it has to be a special occasion."

Dreams of working with anyone in particular, performing on any specific event or in a certain country?

"Artistes I wish I could work with are: Vybz Kartel, Aidonia, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey or Lorde, Rihanna , Davido or Wiz Kid! There’s more but I’ll stop there."

Any phobias?

"No real phobias, maybe tight spaces if I’m forced to choose. People too lol. I have trust issues."

Will you be releasing new material even though no carnivals will probably take place this year?

"I hope to be able to. It’s just a matter of timing. Don’t want to do anything rash or rushed or drop something and it goes unnoticed."

Any other rising stars in the Caribbean we should keep an eye out for?

"Terra D Governor from Grenada. I’m sure there’s more but he reminds me of myself & I don’t really pay attention. I’m usually too busy looking for the next classic."

What personal achievement are you most proud of?

"Can’t think of any one thing in particular! Things I‘ve achieved I’m happy about and grateful for but aren’t anything close to what I believe I can accomplish. When I get that Grammy then that’ll be a good one."

If you had the chance to make one wish a reality, what would you wish for?

"For me to have many more wishes that can be a reality."

Any last words for the people of Europe?

"Stay Safe , one love and support Soca music."

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Let us together show the world that race, color, or any other divisive idea cannot and will not ever triumph over love, respect and equality for all.
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