1. Voice, “Cheers to Life”
Some years the choice for the No. 1 spot is tough. This year, Aaron St. Louis, better known as Voice, made it easy when he shattered soca’s glass ceiling with “Cheers to Life” and an insane musical trajectory that landed him in the most coveted title in the genre — the International Soca Monarch.
Having previously worked behind the scenes on Machel’s “Like ah Boss” and Kerwin Dubois’ “Too Real,” this year Voice took up the mic and destroyed the soca formula, proving that positive lyrics (“From you wake up this mawwwnninnn/You’s a winner!”) could move a crowd to get on bad. “Cheers to Life” is a song soca lovers were waiting for: One to make you jump, scream and reflect all at the same time. No matter who you were, we all latched onto his feelgood lyrics as we jumped high and wined low this Carnival.
Stardom in the soca fraternity generally takes years, so when you can make the move from songwriter to artist, become the youngest person to win the International Soca Monarch Competition, become so in demand that you put your degree on hold for a year to fulfill tour obligations, and release two more consecutive hits with “Get Away” and “Far From Finished,” all within a year… how could you not deserve a place at the top? — Tishanna Williams