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Baptiste Wallace makes history: FROM UNKNOWN TO UNSTOPPABLE

Fisherman Baptiste Wallace makes history by winning the “Triple Crown” during Montserrat Festival 2013. And he insists this is not his swan song.

BY Edwin Martin

Triple king Baptiste

Triple king Baptiste

A little more than a month ago Baptiste Wallace was making a modest living as a fisherman and farmer. He didn’t own a car. He didn’t even own a cellphone.

But virtually overnight he has become a sensation in Montserrat, beating the odds to win the Soca Monarch, Calypso Monarch and Road March titles during Festival 2013 – all in his first year competing.

“It is a big, big surprise,” said Wallace, a native of Dominica who moved to Montserrat in 1987 at age 18. “Most people didn’t know who I was. It’s one of the best things that happen in my 45 years.”

Now the owner of a Lexus Altezza, thousands of dollars in prize money and several trophies, Wallace is riding a wave of popularity. And it’s all thanks to his hit song “Dracula System” – a scathing social commentary about the high cost of living. The song’s catchy chorus and jumpy melody have been infectious.

“A man that came from nowhere make history,” Wallace said. “When I pass on the road, the children are wild. All they want to hear is ‘Dracula.’ ”

Musician and businessman Kulcha Don, who recently became Wallace’s manager, said simply: “This is one of the biggest underdog stories of all time.”

The song “Dracula System” was written for Wallace in 2012 by Black Rhythms band leader Cecil “Cepeke” Lake, but when Wallace was unable to sing it that year, he asked Cepeke to table the song until Festival 2013.

“I told him don’t give it away, let it stay until this year,” Wallace said. “In less than two weeks I conquered the three verses.”

Cepeke says he was not particularly surprised by the success of “Dracula System.”

“When I write a song, I write a song to win,” he said. “I already knew Wallace could sing. He used to sing in church. I like when an artist does justice to a song, and he did that.”

Wallace’s historic feat almost hit a snag. For his second song in the Calypso Monarch competition, Cepeke gave Wallace a song titled “Who Will It Be” – about gay marriage. Wallace scoffed at first because he says he’s personally opposed to same-sex relationships.

“[The topic] was a little bit too ticklish,” said Wallace, who has performed with the Montserrat singing group Voices and is also a former distance runner. “But I sat down and said, it’s not a bad song. It’s not for me, it’s for people. I told [Cepeke] to take out some words, and he did.”

Wallace is the 18th different person to win the Montserrat Calypso Monarch title since the competition began in 1962, but he’s the first who’s not a native – and there has been grumblings in some circles about that fact.

“Some people say a Dominican person can’t come here and win no crown,” Wallace said. “But who God bless no man curse.”

Said Cepeke: “I think that’s stupidity for people to complain. Wallace has lived in Montserrat for [many] years.”

Though Wallace is currently enjoying the trappings of his accomplishments, his next goal is to assure he’s not a flash in the pan. “I’m going to defend [my title],” Wallace said.

Added Kulcha Don: “I told Wallace that there is a blueprint to success, and we have to follow that blueprint.”

Wallace says he intends to sell the Lexus and build a house.

“A house is more essential,” he said. “I need a roof over my head. I’m getting old. I have a daughter in England. I want to have something I can leave for her.”

Of the three titles, Wallace said he cherishes the Calypso Monarch title most.

“I told people I’m going for the crown, not first runner-up, not second runner-up,” he said. “I didn’t have any stage fright. Only one calypsonian big me up [after I won] and that was [Two Plus Two]. They have to respect me now. I make them shame.”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Fisherman Baptiste Wallace makes history by winning the “Triple Crown” during Montserrat Festival 2013. And he insists this is not his swan song.

BY Edwin Martin

Triple king Baptiste

Triple king Baptiste

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A little more than a month ago Baptiste Wallace was making a modest living as a fisherman and farmer. He didn’t own a car. He didn’t even own a cellphone.

But virtually overnight he has become a sensation in Montserrat, beating the odds to win the Soca Monarch, Calypso Monarch and Road March titles during Festival 2013 – all in his first year competing.

“It is a big, big surprise,” said Wallace, a native of Dominica who moved to Montserrat in 1987 at age 18. “Most people didn’t know who I was. It’s one of the best things that happen in my 45 years.”

Now the owner of a Lexus Altezza, thousands of dollars in prize money and several trophies, Wallace is riding a wave of popularity. And it’s all thanks to his hit song “Dracula System” – a scathing social commentary about the high cost of living. The song’s catchy chorus and jumpy melody have been infectious.

“A man that came from nowhere make history,” Wallace said. “When I pass on the road, the children are wild. All they want to hear is ‘Dracula.’ ”

Musician and businessman Kulcha Don, who recently became Wallace’s manager, said simply: “This is one of the biggest underdog stories of all time.”

The song “Dracula System” was written for Wallace in 2012 by Black Rhythms band leader Cecil “Cepeke” Lake, but when Wallace was unable to sing it that year, he asked Cepeke to table the song until Festival 2013.

“I told him don’t give it away, let it stay until this year,” Wallace said. “In less than two weeks I conquered the three verses.”

Cepeke says he was not particularly surprised by the success of “Dracula System.”

“When I write a song, I write a song to win,” he said. “I already knew Wallace could sing. He used to sing in church. I like when an artist does justice to a song, and he did that.”

Wallace’s historic feat almost hit a snag. For his second song in the Calypso Monarch competition, Cepeke gave Wallace a song titled “Who Will It Be” – about gay marriage. Wallace scoffed at first because he says he’s personally opposed to same-sex relationships.

“[The topic] was a little bit too ticklish,” said Wallace, who has performed with the Montserrat singing group Voices and is also a former distance runner. “But I sat down and said, it’s not a bad song. It’s not for me, it’s for people. I told [Cepeke] to take out some words, and he did.”

Wallace is the 18th different person to win the Montserrat Calypso Monarch title since the competition began in 1962, but he’s the first who’s not a native – and there has been grumblings in some circles about that fact.

“Some people say a Dominican person can’t come here and win no crown,” Wallace said. “But who God bless no man curse.”

Said Cepeke: “I think that’s stupidity for people to complain. Wallace has lived in Montserrat for [many] years.”

Though Wallace is currently enjoying the trappings of his accomplishments, his next goal is to assure he’s not a flash in the pan. “I’m going to defend [my title],” Wallace said.

Added Kulcha Don: “I told Wallace that there is a blueprint to success, and we have to follow that blueprint.”

Wallace says he intends to sell the Lexus and build a house.

“A house is more essential,” he said. “I need a roof over my head. I’m getting old. I have a daughter in England. I want to have something I can leave for her.”

Of the three titles, Wallace said he cherishes the Calypso Monarch title most.

“I told people I’m going for the crown, not first runner-up, not second runner-up,” he said. “I didn’t have any stage fright. Only one calypsonian big me up [after I won] and that was [Two Plus Two]. They have to respect me now. I make them shame.”