Antigua and Barbuda’s Paul Richards, known in the calypso world as “King Obstinate,” recently sat for an interview with SKNVibes, in which he discusses his career, including how the stroke he suffered in 1998 impacted his ability to perform. Here are some excerpts. The link below will take you to the full interview.
On his style . . .
“I have a different style. I cut through it, I don’t go beating around the bush…I go straight to the point and get my story across. It’s always important that that my melodies and music give them something to dance to. One of my highlights is that I am very clear when I sing; people understand my words and I try to make sense,” he said.
Now at age 68, Richards has had over 50 years of experience in calypso and has produced hit songs that have not only made him king of calypso competitions in Antigua, but has also afforded him the opportunity to travel all over the world. He describes one of his songs as an anthem in Antigua. ‘Wet your hands and wait for me’ was a tune he recorded while residing in New York back in the 1960s. He said it became an instant hit at home. Other songs include ‘Children melee, ‘Shiny eyes’, ‘Always come back to you’, Jumbie, ‘Fire’, ‘Antigua’s true Hero’ and ‘Coming down to talk to you’.
In 1998, Richards was surprised by a stroke and was immediately flown to the United States where he was a patient at a rehabilitation centre: “It was a very rough period. I was not sick before and I guess it was a lot that built up. And when it struck me, it was hard and had me down for a bit, but God has been so good to me, and also the people of Antigua,” he said. Since that experience, Richards began singing gospel songs although he still does a number of calypsos “for the old-time folks.” One of those popular gospel tunes is the soca remake of Helen Baylor’s 1990 hit ‘Wounded Soldier.’ “A lot of people referred to me as a ‘Wounded Soldier’. That was the big one that brought me into gospel fame, and after I experienced my stroke and going through rehab I did some writing,” Richards said.
When asked for his opinion on the Federation’s four-time consecutively crowned Konris Maynard, Richards said he was not familiar with him but noted that the young calypsonian sounded like dynamite. “He has broken my record. I won the crown three times in a row. I beat seven kings in one night, but this guy sounds like dynamite; I would love to meet him. Tell him to call me and maybe we can do something together,” he said.
In terms of advice, he encouraged that calypsonians should try their utmost to be consistent in the art form. “It’s important you come every year, and early. That’s the key to batting! As long as you’re in the wicket and in the crease, you’re going to make runs. So you got to stay in there, but be consistent, come every year, do the best you can and release your songs early,” said Richards.
For the complete interview go to http://www.sknvibes.com/pep/ent_feature_details.cfm/156