Montano aims to take soca music into mainstream – BILLBOARD MAGAZINE’S 1ST SOCA FEATURE

Billboard Magazine, the most prestigious mainstream music publication, this week poses the question if whether Machel Montano can take the soca genre into the mainstream pop culture. With its bold headline, if the team at Billboard is asking, then Trinidad-born Machel Montano must be doing something right.

Billboard begs the question in the current issue (cover date August 30, 2008) that’s on newsstands this week, in its first feature ever on a soca artist. The article has since been picked up and distributed by REUTERS, the ultimate international news reporting agency, and has appeared on Yahoo News, among other major web sources. And Montano, crowned “Soca King” by fans from and beyond the Caribbean, is taking it all in stride.

Singing soca since he was a child, Montano is now poised on the brink of mainstream success. And mainstream media, such as Billboard Magazine, know it. Montano is wrapping up appearances at Notting Hill Carnival in the U.K. before he heads to New York City this week, where he will perform at the infamous S.O.B.’s on Thursday, August 27. Montano’s fans will get a double dose as he brings the biggest show from Trinidad Carnival to New York, and to one of the most exclusive venues in Manhattan. The show is billed as “Alternative Concept New York” and will be held on Saturday, August 30 at Cipriani Wall Street, which has played host to other musical heavyweights including Akon, Fergie, Rihanna and also P. Diddy’s ?ber-exclusive 30th birthday bash.

As much as the initiative to earn mainstream play, Montano stays loyal to his fans that have supported him for 26 years now. In keeping with that notion, he strategically chose Cipriani Wall Street for “AC New York” because it brings the show to downtown Manhattan, and just mere minutes from Brooklyn and Queens and into the backyard of his loyal and longtime supporters. Also with vested efforts on fostering Caribbean unity, Montano headlined at Barbados’ Crop Over festival earlier this month, and in lieu of bringing more steam to that country’s national celebrations, sought a boost from renowned rapper Lil Jon and Latin hip-hop star Pitbull.

Montano is currently enjoying airplay in urban markets for his remix with Pitbull and Lil Jon, “Defense – The Anthem,” and its subsequent video, which just debuted on MTV Base and Trace-TV all across Europe. The video entered the Latin Top 20 Video Charts in the U.S. this month and stays strong this week, coming in at number 17 among all Latin videos aired in the United States.

Now Montano returns to the Big Apple to partake in New York’s carnival celebrations. In addition to his live shows, he will play host to urban radio giant HOT97’s Labor Day Jouvert Party featuring Elephant Man on Sunday, August 31 at The Madison in Manhattan. Then the million fans expected to line Brooklyn’s Eastern Parkway on Monday, September 1 will be in for a treat when Montano will be a special guest on HOT97’s Labor Day float. As Montano states in the Billboard article, “I gather people together, let them have a good time and I feel good about that.” Perfectly put by the international ambassador for soca music – a genre that’s all about feeling good.

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