Jenais Carter: For the love of music
Jenais Carter has never known a life without music. But she did not come to appreciate the benefits of the artform until she became an adult.
Born to parents who are both teachers and heavily involved in music, Carter's list of involvement in the artform is long, especially when it comes to the steelpan. At 25, she has already played with South East Port of Spain Steel Orchestra, Is We Steel Orchestra, Tipica Steel Orchestra, Exocubs and Exodus, Revelation Institute for Performing Education, the Codrington Pan Family, Gonzales Sheikers, and Starlift Steel Orchestra, among others. "I play the guitar and tenor pan, but I can play all," she told WMN.
Her musical ability, though, is not exclusive to the pan. She plays the conga drums in her family's parang band, Amantes de Parranda; teaches music theory, steelpan and beginner's piano at her brother's music school, Total Percussion; and has launched her own talent management company, Jencar.
"I do bookings, social media management for people in the creative and cultural industry, and I provide administrative services. Among her clients are soca artist Naila Blackman, songwriter and artiste Mical Teja, and vocalists Savi Sav and Reece. "I also work with Jameel Bellerand, a creative director in film and videography. I am his production manager for projects like music videos and documentaries. I help organise the projects." The administrator of her family's charitable organisation, The Carter Foundation, said her family's long-standing involvement in the industry has saved her having to put too much time and effort into marketing and advertising. "My family has been a part of the cultural landscape for so long that the network I needed was already there. Most of my marketing has been through word of mouth."
The Carter Foundation was started in 2016 to assist people in the cultural sector with scholarships for studies. Amantes de Parranda will host a show, Somos, this evening at the Kaiso Blues Cafe.
Carter told WMN that Jencar had always been an idea and was launched before she had intended to. "I like progression and before Jencar was launched I felt like my life was stagnant. I was working with Naila at the time but I wasn't sure of what I wanted, wasn't sure of what was next." Her friend and mentor Jelan Cumberbatch of JC Management, pushed her in the direction of talent management and, "things started to happen. I still had self doubts, but Jencar was launched in November last year."
By Carol Quash
Photos by Ayana Kinsale