Muzik Lil Muzik (MLM) is a London-based female duo promoting and celebrating the Soca music scene. Sisters Nadine and Samantha are the heart and soul of MLM and determined to introduce a wider audience to the grooves of Soca.
Soca music, born in Trinidad and Tobago, is known for its combination of calypso and the cadences of the French Antilles. While it has been popular for the last few decades in Trinidad, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and other West Indies locations, it is also developing a following in the UK thanks to new artists like the ladies of MLM, sisters Nadine and Samantha. While the women sing and dance to rhythms of the islands, they actually embody a myriad of musical influences—all of which combine to inform their signature style.
Nurtured on Music
Both sisters recall music as a part of their lives quite early on. Their father hailed from St. Vincent and taught the girls at a young age to play guitar as well as piano. He also encouraged them to learn steel pan. As they grew up, other instruments would also find their way into the girls’ repertoire. The girls participated in various school bands and also learned to read music and study music theory. They also sang in multiple choirs which served to strengthen their singing abilities and complement their other musical talents. Their home nurtured the arts of singing and dancing and the sisters benefitted from this rich musical upbringing.
Hundreds of Influences
In a recent interview the sisters of MLM recounted a plethora of musical influences. The music their parents enjoyed became their foundation in music. The ladies’ father introduced them to Calypso and the hypnotic sounds of the islands. His love for Soca certainly influenced their delight in the music. They also listened heavily to Reggae which was beloved by their mother. Yet, growing up in London’s East side, the ladies also experienced all the great variety of music coming at them from seemingly endless directions. From classical music to grime, from gospel to Soca, the girls drank deeply in the sounds of their background as well as their city. From their school mates they even developed an appreciation of Bollywood and its telltale music. With so much diversity influencing them, it’s only natural that they feel quite at home listening to all sorts of music; yet, their love for Soca and desire to introduce it to a larger world audience keep them grooving to their island notes.
A Career in Soca
MLM have developed their music career steadily, without forsaking their education. A full-time career as artists is only now on their horizon. Recently, MLM was nominated for an international Soca award. At the Soca Music Awards, MLM won Best UK Soca Duo; they also won Best Soca Artist at the Calabash Awards. Recognition for their work in Soca has certainly helped to keep MLM inspired to continue to play and perform. They enjoy performing, but they also enjoy writing. Writing is a big part of the bond that the sisters have.
A Celebration of Sisterhood and Family
Hearing the sisters of MLM talk about growing up is almost to glimpse their Sunday dinners warmed by family togetherness, “amazing food” as they describe those family meals, and the charged atmosphere of music always in the background. The sisters perform together, teach dance together, write together, and share their vision for a fusion type of Soca that draws upon their own interpretation and weaves in so many of their musical influences. They also share and honor their Caribbean background which is as important to their lives as it is to their music. The sisters have also founded an organization, Make Life Magnificent Inc., that features summer programmes designed to impart the Caribbean experience—its culture, its history, and, of course, its music and dance.
A Promising Future
With their studies completed, MLM has asserted that their main focus is music and they would like to have their first album completed by the end of this year. They have tentative plans to release it in the Caribbean; however, they also have plans to travel for productions in Holland and Sweden as well as the U.S. Inspired by their global travels, MLM has high hopes to bring Soca “to a point where everyone can enjoy it”, an aspiration voiced in a recent interview. “It would be beautiful if the world can share our passion of Soca Music.” Since Soca music and Carnival go hand in hand, MLM will likely be performing at various Carnival events—something they enjoy. They often talk about their love for the production and costumes of these magnificent events. With such a rich musical foundation to rely upon and so many perfectly attainable dreams within their reach, the sisters of MLM are certainly spreading the joyful sounds of the Caribbean wherever they perform. With their album in the works, it may only be a matter of time before the rest of the world loves Soca as much as they do!