LargeUp Interview: Dr. Jay De Soca Prince is Toronto’s Carnival King

July 31, 2014

Dr. Jay De Soca Prince inside the Louis Saldenah Mas-K Club.

LargeUp: Thereโ€™s a persona to your work, especially with your name and podcast, De Prescription. Thereโ€™s a medical, health, therapy theme to what you do. Is that your way of saying soca is a drug or cure?

Dr. Jay De Soca Prince: Itโ€™s definitely a cure. I find soca music has always made me feel happy. I was first called the Soca Prince growing up because a friend and I were young guys that liked playing the music. I was 15 or 16 and eventually our friendship dissolved so I was looking for a DJ name. A family friend suggested that, because I could play all kinds of music, I shouldnโ€™t just be known as Soca Prince. My name is Jason, and he suggested โ€œDr. J.โ€ I thought, well, thereโ€™s the basketball player [Dr. J, Julius Erving], and said, โ€œNo, you can spell it J A Y.โ€ We used Soca Prince just so people knew it was the same guy.

When I got a job at Flow 93.5 about 15 years ago, we were looking for a show name. It was Farley Flex and I. We had to pitch something to an American program director that wasnโ€™t too familiar with the culture. We wanted to play off the whole doctor theme, like soca therapy as โ€œmusical medicine.โ€ Soca Therapy sounded good. When we pitched it to her, she said, โ€œI love it. It reminds me of aromatherapy.โ€ It stuck. I started to do more things to play off of that theme because people told me that every Sunday, they would tune in to the show to feel better. The vibe is contagious. I really thought I was a real doctor. People are having a bad week, theyโ€™re under the weather, and whatever stress is going on in their life, they forget about it for those few hours on a Sunday.

LU: How many new listeners, or those foreign to the genre have you garnered through De Prescription?

DJDS: I am surprised at how far reaching it is. I just went to Berlin for their Carnival [in May] and this lady came up to me. She was a regular European woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. She said, โ€œDr. Jay, how come I donโ€™t see your regular podcast mixes?โ€ Itโ€™s things like that that make me realize how many people discover it. With the iTunes one in particular, I donโ€™t see who is downloading it and from where. I donโ€™t know if theyโ€™re Caribbean people. When I do go out there and I experience those types of conversations or see a crowd, itโ€™s eye opening.

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