Destra Garcia, The Blooming Soca Queen

The purple orchid represents royalty, passion, strength and courage; Destra Garcia is nothing short of these attributes. For over nineteen years, Destra Garcia has been working to make a name for herself in the music industry. In spite of challenges along the way, she is now one of the biggest entertainers and songwriters in the Soca world.

From her early childhood years, Destra wanted to be more than a performer: she wanted to be a household name and a superstar. Her exuberant performances, powerful vocals and unique fashion sense, leaves her fans wanting more wherever in the world she hits the stage.

The eldest of four siblings, Destra was raised in the humble grass roots community of Desperlie Crescent, Laventille, in eastern Port-of-Spain. She discovered her love for singing and music while in secondary school and even displayed superstar potential then by winning her school’s Calypso Monarch title for five consecutive years. Writer of her own songs, Destra’s musical roots came from her grandfather the late Frankie Garcia, an island jazz musician, and her father Lloyd Garcia, who is an accomplished guitarist.

Photography by Calvin French/Makeup by Kirk Thomas/Hair & Styling by Ashvin Bally

Destra’s passion for singing sky rocketed when Roy Cape requested her talent to join the Roy Cape All Stars Band after he noticed her single, “Ah Have A Man Already” in 1999. By collaborating with Kernel Roberts three years later, she released many hits namely, “Negative Vibes”, “Wha Yuh Want” and “Bonnie and Clyde” upon joining Atlantik band in 2002.

In 2003, Destra released her first album Red, White, Black, which included her hit duet “It’s Carnival” with Soca Kingdom’s King, Machel Montano. The song grew to becoming the carnival anthem of Trinidad and Tobago, which then became widely popular across the Caribbean and by extension, the Caribbean Diasporas throughout the world.

In November 2017, Destra surprised her fans when she not only dropped a wedding song called “Marry this Wine” but  she also announced her engagement to her long-time companion, Brian Morris who is also her manager and father of their eight-year-old daughter Xaiya.

Fast-forwarding to 2018, for Destra, the possibilities for success seems limitless and she is still in full pursuit. Even though she is yet to have the Soca Monarch Title under her belt, she can boast of numerous awards, that she has rightfully earned, which are equally befitting of a Soca Queen. Apart from successfully releasing more than ten albums and over twenty singles, Destra has copped over fifteen soca awards, six COTT awards and three International awards. She also won the Road March Title in 2003 at the Labour Day Carnival in Brooklyn New York. Recently, in January 2018, The Queen of Bacchanal was honoured by the Port of Spain City Corporation, with the Downtown Carnival Committee Award for her sterling contribution to soca as she promotes Trinidad and Tobago’s soca music regionally and internationally.

Dressed in a body fitting black outfit and fabulous pink hair; Destra sat with us at Bally Hair Salon as we got up close and personal with her and asked the Queen of Bacchanal some juicy questions.

XX: How is Destra? What’s up?

Destra : Destra is good for the most part, I’m trying to cope with the  healing process of my broken ankle; a lot of people did not  know that the entire ankle bone was actually broke off and now it has screws in it. It is a bit challenging as I’m not a mobile as I would like to be. However, I’m glad I still to got to release my music and I’m thankful I am still able to perform for the Carnival season. I just have to keep doing my therapy and take it easy.

XX: We of Course Have Talk about Your Music, What Songs you have out for 2018

Destra: Yea well for 2018 we have “Soca Family” and “Somebody”, I really wanted to do a song like that, I always liked Baron’s song Somebody and at Carnival time, you get somebody to hug up and have a good time. Although I echo the sentiments in the situations where women are placed in, about getting permission to wine, however at carnival time its about having a good clean time. Then we have the Grenadian influence with the jab vibes and riddim with the song “Gimme”. Then we also have the one with Nadia Batson and myself, “Now” and the one I did with Erphaan Alves called “Waistline Peltin”. I enjoyed doing this song with Erphaan and now I have so much more respect for him as a young professional.

XX: What is your opinion about society blaming women for sexual harassment happening to them due to their skimpy choice of dress code?

Destra: I believe we all have freedom of choice; God gave us freedom of choice. So who are we to judge each other. What I do believe is that if we make a choice be prepared to deal with the consequences. For example, if I wear something I feel comfortable in my skin I would wear it, but if I wear something and get cat calls or “sooting” from men, I won’t wear it. With all that said, you should not touch someone without his or her invitation or permission. It is not a dress code thing it is a respect thing!

XX: You Recently Announced your Engagement to the, father of your daughter and Manager, Brian Morris. What should we know about the upcoming Wedding?

Destra: What you should know is that we have been engaged for a while. We did not want to make it public until we decided that yea, we want to do it in 2018. What also made us hesitant is that we tour so much and Brian is not only my fiancé but also he’s my manager, sound engineer and producer of my band and the schedule is a hard one. We decided 2018 was our year and that is when we decided to make the announcement. After Carnival is over and we go through Lent and we fast, we will let divine intervention take place, and decide the wedding date.

There is politics in everything you do, but you cannot let it affect your ability to succeed.

XX: What do you think has kept you relevant all these year?

Destra: Well, with the evolving music industry, I think I have also been able to evolve with time, to change up my sound and my look, and continuously observe and keep up with the trends. I have been able embrace music of all sorts. I have always tried to use to international influences, new styles and incorporate it into my music while maintaining my core fan base. So, when you listen to one of my albums, I sing different types of songs. I have to please and cater to all my fans—of all age groups.

XX: How have you been able to withstand the politics of the music industry?

Destra: The first thing you have to know is that there is politics in everything you do. There would always be elements around, but you cannot let it affect your ability to succeed. When I get a block here or there, I try to go around the blocks; they cannot stop me! I’m like a wet slippery slinky. They cannot hold me down at all! It takes a lot of strength to survive this music business.

XX: Does it matter to you that you do not have a Soca Monarch Title under your belt?

Destra: Its doesnt matter to me now, but sometimes in the back of my mind I ask myself, when I die and the future is looking back in the history books and they see people names like Kitchener or Machel and they don’t see mine for winning a title, will they remember who Destra is? Will they forget me? I have grown to learn that the music is much more than a title. It is all about touching people with my music.

XX: What are your thoughts on the Fresh Upcoming Artist?

Destra: They have a lot of spunk and energy! As a female in the industy, I am particularly proud of Nailah Blackman; I like what she is doing. I cannot do an interview without talking about Voice. I love Voice’s voice! There is an energy about Voice that I click with. And Erphaan whose drive ambition and determination reminds me of Machel. I cannot forget sweet voice Preedy. The future is in great hands.

Do not believe in all the hype. Do not let the success get to your head; remember to stay humble and grateful.

XX: What is the one advice you would share with the Young Artist?

Destra: I would definitely say this business is a real thief head. One time, you’re up; one time, you’re down. Do not believe in all the hype. Do not let the success get to your head; remember to stay humble and grateful. It’s more than being popular and having a hit; it’s all about being relatable to your fans. All the glitter is not gold and just be you.

XX: What would you like to tell your fans?

Destra: Thank you for supporting me through the years whether I was up or down. The song Family is just for you guys.You all have given me strength throughout the years.

XX: What you would like to say to your haters?

Destra: Keep on hating guys! I really like the haters you know. They make me stronger, and keep me on my “A” game at all times.

The XX Team

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