Who Will Be Bending Over With Pumpa The “A Lister”?

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By Michael Mondezie

“If yuh name end with an A, bend right over!” Chances are if you aren’t living under a big stone you’ve heard that daring instruction at least once this Carnival season.

What you may not know is the man behind that bacchanal-evoking “The A-List” is living his dream each time he performs the fete-hit on T&T soil.

Pumpa (Dennis Liburd) says he’s long wished to have a bona fide soca hit for T&T Carnvial.

“It is such a great feeling and is something that I have been dreaming about my entire career. I have been trying to penetrate the Trinidad and Tobago market as well as other regional spaces and I am happy that ‘The A-List’ is doing this for me,” an open Pumpa told the Kitcharee via WhatsApp on Friday morning.

The 37-year-old St Kitts-born singer/songwriter says thriving in soca music’s mecca is a testament to nearly two decades of work. He now hopes that success can turn more heads towards music makers in his home base in the Virgin Islands (VI).

“I have been putting in the work for a number of years. Most of my colleagues in the industry can attest to the work because they have been seeing me over the years trying to put the Virgin Islands in the space. My focus is not just about conversations surrounding me, but about the VI, our sound and our vibe,” Pumpa continued.

So, are any of the women mentioned in his song, from past experience? Pumpa laughed it off as all fiction and addressed some of the backlash he’s received  from  social media including adding the name Jennifer to the list of names ending with an A.

“In the VI we pronounce that ‘ER’ as ‘AH’ so she made the cut and is eligible,” he joked.

“I called a lot of names, but none of them are from experience. I was just thinking about the most common names that end with an A. In terms of song, some of those names came from where the song originated, which was on a birthday boat ride. There were numerous women on the boat with names that ended with the letter A, but it’s really about common names,” he continued.

Prepared by a tough home crowd

Pumpa says his musical come-up in front of an unforgiving US Virgin Islands public has prepared him for any stage in the world. He first started music while at high school with the band Xtashun.

“The VI is vibrant in its own way, but it is definitely different than T&T. We have our own style and ways of doing things and I think the people of the VI enjoy the soca scene, which is still growing. People are taking more time to grow the party scene, but sometimes it can be a bit touchy.

“The reason I go so hard in my performances is because the VI is a tough crowd, but once they are vibing with you, they will show you love and support you. We have room to grow and it can be better, but we will get there,” he mused.

The journey to Carnival stardom in T&T has been so eventful, Pumpa believes he needs a Netflix documentary to tell the full story.

“There have been ups and downs, but I always found myself back up, which is one of the things that keeps me humble. I’ve always envisioned being on stages in Trinidad and Tobago and it has always been a goal to be embraced.

“But, just like others, I have thoughts about giving up because I know I am in the category of a top performer and often felt like it was taking me a bit too long to make inroads. Now I am living proof that nothing happens before its time because I am here today,” he said.

Now that he finally has a foot in the door, Pumpa is focused on building a long lasting legacy in soca music.

“I think there is a piece of pie of the soca industry that was missing and I think I have something to do with the piece of that pie that was missing. I represent such a diverse set of people and region and I feel that we can play such an important role in the music industry. I’ve prayed to God to not let me depart without being able to share myself and the VI sound and vibe with the people that those prayers did not fall on deaf ears.

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