(born 24 November 1974
in Trinidad and Tobago
) is a soca singer
, record producer
based in the Caribbean
He is the frontman of the popular soca band Xtatik, and is noted for his high energy, fast-paced, and often unpredictable on-stage performances. During his career, which spans over 25 years, he has recorded several songs alongside many of Caribbean music's most popular acts, such as Alison Hinds, Beenie Man, Calypso Rose, Burning Flames, Drupatee, Wyclef Jean, Canibus, Red Rat, Shaggy, Sparrow, Denise Belfon, Ken Marlon Charles (KMC), Destra, Walker Hornung, Vybz Kartel, G-Unit, Black Stalin, David Rudder, Buju Banton, Mr. Vegas, Doug E. Fresh, Pitbull and many others. He now stands as one of the most well-known soca acts in the world and has tried in many ways to bring soca into the mainstream by promoting it, using his leverage as an artist able to sell-out shows. Recently he has moved to the Los Angeles area to further this pursuit saying "I may not be the one to bring it forth, but in the meantime, I have a lot of work to do in order for something to happen".
Born in Carenage
), his family moved to Siparia
, South Trinidad when he was very young. Machel attended Siparia Boys' R.C., then Presentation College
, San Fernando, a prestigious secondary school
in San Fernando, South Trinidad where he was in the choir
led by Mrs. Cynthia Lee-Mack. Machel first shot to fame as a young boy with the song "Too Young To Soca" while he was still in primary school. In 1984 along with his brother and neighbours the group Pranasonic Express was started and in 1989, the band became Xtatik
Machel Montano HD - his concepts
The band developed and was re-invented by its leader Montano several times as Xtatik 5.0, The Xtatik Circus, Xtatik The Road Marching Band, The Band of the Year and many others. Every year Machel has a new concept to keep his band and his performances fresh. From 2007 they are known as Machel Montano HD (High Definition
) and he promotes the concept by saying that he is the first human
being to go HD. He claims this is a representation of the evolution of his music over the last 25 years and highly improved style in which his music shall be presented to his fans over radio formats, television, and during live performances. He is part of a campaign in Trinidad and Tobago to promoting safe driving - "Arrive Alive". Part of the hype surrounding Montano since 2007 is his HD tour bus, a 20 year old bus from the Public Transport Service Corporation
(PTSC) which was re-done and includes a bedroom
facilities, flat screen
TVs, Internet access
and expansive audio
systems. After the bus' debut in 2007, it was re-painted for 2008, the new images of Machel matching various photos of him from the album artwork of his 2008 CD, Flame on
. The bus featured heavily in his videos for "Jumbie" - 2007 and "Rollin/Blazin d Trail" - 2008.
In the last few years the band has risen to a new level of musicality as each performance is very tight musically and has foreign influences such as Ernesto Luis Gutirrez
, its Venezuelan
percussionist, Shawn Mitchell, bassist from Grenada and musicians from Barbados. Kernal Roberts
, the son of the late Lord Kitchener (calypsonian)
has picked up the role as Xtatik's drummer and musical director and has brought new life to the band.
Montano was also instrumental in the promotion of soca music in the United Kingdom on the British Broadcasting Corporations' black music digital radio station 1Xtra, where he co-presented the International Sounds of Soca show for four years with DJ Slic. He has released many successful singles, with and without Xtatik, during his career, such as "Big Truck" (Xtatik's most successful single, which won the Road March title in 1997), "Outa Space" (with Beenie Man), "Music Farm" (Xtatik), "It's Carnival" (with Destra), and his most recent back to back Road March title wins for 2006, "Band Of The Year" (with Patrice Roberts) and 2007, "Jumbie".
His most recent album Flame On, which was released in February 2008, features collaborations with some of the most esteemed artistes in calypso such as David Rudder on "Oil and Music" and The Mighty Sparrow on "Congo Man". These two collaborations were well-received all around, especially "Congo Man".
Flame On also includes collaborations with other well-known artistes from various genres including soca, reggae, rap and reggaeton. Examples of these partnerships can be heard on the following tracks: Patrice Roberts on "Rollin", Shaggy on "Wining Season", Buju Banton on "Make Love" and finally Lil Jon and Pitbull on "Defense (The Anthem)".
Flame On displays the very strong relationship between Machel Montano and Kernal Roberts, his right-hand man. Roberts was involved in the writing of eight out the 13 tracks on the album.
In Trinidad's Road March Competition for Carnival 2008, Montano's song "Blazin d Trail" placed third even though it was a crowd favourite when it was played at Carnival fetes during the Carnival season of 2008.
Machel Montano is known to be a phenomenal performer, able to perform the full range of stage antics and more. Montano frequently performs jumping splits
, various famous dancehall dances, hip hop moves, capoeira
, and Trinidadian-styled 'wining', all while singing, in key. His performances vary widely and sometimes include selections from Bob Marley and classic soca and pop hits. Montano's entrances are usually made while the band plays his 'theme song'. His performances are interspersed with segments when he talks to his audience, often being humorous, whitty and rhyming. He even spews phrases in other languages, appealing to people speaking languages other than English. Recently he has begun to do more performances unplugged. Every year he has a huge concert in Trinidad called the Alternative Concept which usually features a full-length performance from him and regional and international stars. The themed-show also features short skits, expansive artwork, sets, props, and musical backup uncommon in soca such as string quartets, drum corps and choirs etc.
It was alleged that after a function held at the Zen Night Club in Trinidad, Machel and his band HD had wrapped up the proceedings and were enjoying themselves when, one of the patrons of the club threw a drink on one of Machel's female friends. It was reported that a fracas took ensued and ended outside the club where the man was rushed to the Port of Spain General Hospital where he was warded in the Intensive Care Unit. The matter was further investigated by the Trinidad & Tobago Police service as well as prominent attorney Prakash Ramadhar.