Anil Rock is humming to the melody of his new song, Because of Dreams, which tells a story about the life of a boy whose only escape from his discordant world was the fantasy of dreaming, softly as we waited for lunch in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland.
Rock towers over most people and exudes infectious energy. He is an up-and-coming artist who has multiple wins in music competitions under his belt and media exposure on TV and radio broadcasts. This Caribbean-born islander from Trinidad and Tobago, who is a mix of Asian descents, looks forward to sharing his dreams with the world through Asiance.
ASIANCE: Tell me about your EP (extended play), Faces of the Heart.
Anil: This EP is a reflection of my past and present personal experiences. Life can be unpredictable. Love comes in different situations, and the emotions from everyday life bring new meaning to you.
ASIANCE: Tell me more about RockaLypso, the genre you introduced to the U.S.?
Anil: RockaLypso describes a new style of music, Reggae and Calypso, mostly from Caribbean countries, moving from Trinidad and Tobago to America. You could say it’s a fusion of calypso, reggae, pop, hip-hop. In addition to guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums, I sometimes use Trinidad steel pan, bottle and spoon, scrap metal, and Tassa drums. In Faces of the Heart, 2 Kool and Emotions are songs that represent RockaLypso. Since this genre is new in the U.S., I want to slowly introduce it with this EP but fully in my next single.
ASIANCE: I read about your influences, such as Machel Montano. What would you say to him?
Anil: I remember when I was in primary school and Machel came out with the song, Too Young to Soca. Back then, you rarely saw kids playing music or imitating big rock stars. He definitely paved the way for other talented kids in Trinidad and Tobago and other parts of the Caribbean. [Montana] inspired me to become a performer and singer. I would say, “I’d love to share the stage with you one day.” Fortunately I had the opportunity to meet Machel for DC’s carnival in 2009.
ASIANCE: What was a turning point to your musical career?
Anil: I always knew I wanted to be a singer. Music brought peace when I heard it. Growing up, while jamming with other musicians, I always assumed that role when writing music. Recently, within the last couple of years, that became more of a reality winning the Top Male Vocalist in 2006 at Talent Rock, a competition created by Lou Pearlman in FL. I also won DC Idol, a local competition in the DC Metro area in 2007 and AT&T’s Chinatown to Hollywood Idol 2008. I have learned a lot and realized my sound is unique. I developed even more confidence in my singing and was ready to fully introduce this new music style I created.
ASIANCE: What is the ultimate show for you?
Anil: I would like to perform in venues like Merriweather Post Pavilion, Nissan Pavilion, Staples Center, or Madison Square Garden.
ASIANCE: I like the song Emotions. What inspired you to write it?
Anil: I wrote that song when I was 15, while learning the guitar. Emotions was inspired by the confusion of life and the village I came from called Bamboo. I felt broken-hearted about poverty, chaos, and the state of where I was living in. Confused about religion, I was unsure what love really meant and was devastated to see drugs destroy the lives of good people.
ASIANCE: What do you miss most about Trinidad?
Anil: It’s an Island in de Sun—just beautiful! I’d say, the scenery: being in the presence of coconut trees, beaches, and rivers; the food: the mangoes, sugar canes, bananas–and all the food goes great with a Carib beer or Sorel drink; the people: partying with family and friends.
ASIANCE: Do you visit Trinidad often?
Anil: I try as often as I can. Work is pretty demanding here in the U.S. It seems that we are racing to the end of time for something. Most of my extended family and close friends reside there.
ASIANCE: If you could collaborate with another artist, dead or alive, who would that be?
Anil: There are a lot of past and present musicians that made a difference in the world through the message of music. There are so many that comes to mind but I’ll have to say the kings of two different worlds: Machel Montano, King of Calypso and Michael Jackson, King of Pop.
ASIANCE: What is your next song?
Anil: The music industry is in pretty bad shape. I think I’d rather do a single than a whole album/record thing. That being said, I am currently in studio working with a known producer releasing the full sound of RockaLypso with the song, 2 Kool.
ASIANCE: What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?
Anil: On Valentine’s Day, I will be with someone special.
ASIANCE: What’s next for you?
Anil: Right now, I’m balancing a full-time job and studies. I am working towards a transition to launch my musical career into something full-time. I’ve reached a point where that might be possible.
For pictures, music: www.anilrock.com