Caribarena.com recently captured the more serious side of the phenomenal Mighty Artist, and from the look, or should I say sound of things, he has a lot to offer.When most of us hear about The Mighty Artist, we wait with bated breath to hear what he is coming with next in his line of humorous songs that amuse the public year after year, around this time.
There were two things Muerah “The Mighty Artist” Doddie loved while he was growing up - art and music. He started singing calypso in 1972, but 1985 was when he grabbed the public's attention in a big way.
"I got the name ‘The Mighty Artist’ from Short Shirt," he recalled. "I started singing way back in that time with them. We couldn’t find a calypso name for me, and Short Shirt said, hey, he is an artist right, so let’s call him The Mighty Artist."
His first big hit was the song Vitamins and Iron, which he sang at one of the hottest entertainment spots in Antigua back then - Townhouse. "It used to be right where that hardware store is near Joe Mike's," he recalled. "I am sure most people wouldn’t remember that. This place used to be de spot so to speak, and hosted dances and the hottest shows every weekend I used to sing there.”
After a while he branched out and started to sing at Swallow’s Calypso Pepperpot, and he made it to the semi-finals in 1985 and '88.
Asked why he thinks he never got past there, he said, “In those shows, people are not looking for humorous calypsos. For the Calypso monarch show, they are looking for what you called message songs. I have a way of writing my songs, with a double meaning, although I’ve sang some political songs but my fans told me that’s not for me and that I should stick to the humorous songs so here they are.”
Many can remember the days when The Mighty Artist would bring down the house, so to speak, with his famous tunes such as Tarpan Tone Up, Woman Working Under Man, Me `Ole Wife, Pot Hole and Business Dead, just to name a few. This year’s tune, Clap You Tongue, is making waves not only in Antigua but abroad.
"I own the stage," he said of his acquired confidence. "I am a stage man, I try to please my fans. When I don’t perform good I feel down spirited so I always try to keep the standard high. I think I am the most humourous calypsonian not only in Antigua, but the world.”
In terms of his views on the standard of calypso and soca tunes today, The Mighty Artist said “most of the songs today are poetry and news. I think they’ve lost their Benna touch, the real hardcore calypso is gradually being lost compared to back in the days of King Obstinate, Swallow and Short Shirt. Calypso Jim too come close to these guys."
In terms of the Jump and Wave Soca culture, Artist said he has nothing against soca but the entertainers can improve on their lyrics. “There should be a message in the soca, I heard a soca tune this year, something about you must always wear your condom. That’s a good soca, it’s nice and jumpy, but sending a very serious message.”
I questioned artist on people’s views that his songs are always a little on the lewd side.
To this, he said, “I agree that I sing suggestive songs, songs that have double meaning. It’s up to the public which side they choose to take, for instance Pot Hole and Me ole Wife can be sung in church in my view. I’m singing about ole wife fish. Why I use double meaning in my songs... because everything in nature is divided, it’s either positive or negative, two sides to a coin, so it’s up to you how you want to interpret it.”
In terms of future plans, Artist said he has a few guest appearances lined up for the carnival and he has just completed a Compilation CD of the best hits of the Mighty Artist Volume one which is now on the market.
Now the The Mighty Artist is a man of many talents, from comedian, artist as has already been established, magician and entertainer. Artist said another reason why his song is so humorous is because his puts his art into his song, ‘You know with art you have to have great imagination and creativity so that makes my songs more interesting.”
Artist also used the opportunity to take Caribarena.com into his art worldan and the journey got more interesting by the minute. “Everything I owned is earned through my art.
I think I was born an artist. Since in PM School I used to draw all kinds of things until I mastered the skill. I rubbed shoulders with some of the best in the field such as Pamela Wright and Babs Browne of Canada, who’ve lived here for many years. We actually got together with some others to form a local art society, and had several successful exhibitions."
He has done a number of master portraits of famous nationals.
In terms of tips for young artists, he said, "I would encourage young artists to develop their skills if that’s what they want to do, and they could have another career besides art. Because in Antigua, a lot of people don’t appreciate art like say people in places such as France and Guadeloupe.
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