Guyanese singer/songwriter Courtney Noel, who is famous for his patriotic Soca song “Arrowhead”, which was first released 18 years ago has decided to retire from the Soca genre, saying that it is time to pass the baton to someone else who deserves a chance.
Ever since its release almost two decades ago “Arrowhead” comes alive every year, becoming a hit all over again during Republic and Independence anniversary celebrations.
Courtney has also recorded some ten Soca singles overall during his music career though there are others that he never put out. “I’m looking forward to acting and doing something refreshing,” the artiste said. Indeed, Courtney confided that at the beginning he had mixed feelings about Soca and had never set out to be a Soca singer, but grew to love the genre. Now he plans to explore other musical areas.
“I’ve showcased my love for my country. I’ve done my part and now it’s somebody else’s turn to roll with it,” he said.
The singer, who resides in the US, hopes to continue his musical career in the R&B, Pop and Reggae genres.
His last Soca song which was written earlier this year is expected to be released for airplay before his arrival in Guyana almost a month from now. The song “Back Off, Stand Back” relates to the Guyana/Venezuela border controversy and sends a message to the Spanish-speaking country to stay within its boundaries. The song, Courtney said, was influenced by Dave Martins’s “Is We Own” and “Not A Blade a Grass”.
Although the song has already been recorded and is ready for airplay, Courtney is hoping to do a remix. “For me, a song is never really finished. A song ends but it’s never really finished and that’s why there is remix,” he stated.
Courtney envisions the song’s track being used in the remix version which will carry a united artistes theme similar to that of “We Are the World”.
“I intend to pull from the various genres of music – Soca, Chutney, Reggae, Gospel, Creole Rock, Pop and Calypso. I have a number of artistes I am hoping will come on board for this project. Dave Martins is number one on my list since he is the main inspiration behind the ‘Back Off Stand Back’ song. The reason why I’m looking to blend the genres is because I want to smash the boundaries. These genres are really all soul because it all comes from the soul,” shared Courtney.
The artiste further indicated that while he may give up creating new Soca songs, it doesn’t mean he won’t sing Soca at a concert but when it comes to writing and composing he sees himself doing so in other genres. Soca, he laughed, is more for the younger generation.
While his trip here will include interviews on his retirement Courtney has another mission which is to shoot the video for “All My Love”, a personal song that reflects a failed relationship he had. It is a wistful song about bitter-sweet memories. It was written six years ago and the shooting and releasing of the video are much anticipated.
Both “All My Love” and “Back Off Stand Back” are projects are entirely self-funded. Of course Courtney mentioned that it would be helpful should corporate sponsors get on board.
As mentioned earlier, Courtney is looking more into acting and was recently cast and filmed in an upcoming Netflix film produced by Spike Lee titled See You Yesterday. Also part of the cast is another Guyanese, Ron Bobb Semple. The film is being produced in Brooklyn under the directorship of Steffon Bristol. Courtney plays the part of a Guyanese dominoes player.
A patriot to the bone it doesn’t matter which genre Courtney takes up, he will always represent Guyana.
Here’s a list of Courtney Noel’s hits
I love my Golden Arrowhead
El Dorado (City of Gold)
Guyana’s sons and daughters
Moving forward together (Unite Guyana)
Pride (Is what I feel Inside)
Yuh know you’re a Guyanese
Back off stand back (We ain’t goin’ for that)