SPIN AND SCRATCH

Soca artiste and author Anselm Douglas.
Anselm Douglas

Anselm Douglas, the Trinidadian soca artiste, the original singer of the Grammy Award-winning song “Who Let the Dogs Out,” said the launching of his first children’s book, “The Adventures of Spin and Scratch, The Relocation” was a dream come true.

“’The Adventures of Spin and Scratch’ is a tale of two American mice, who, because of unforeseen circumstances, had to travel to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, where they embarked on the adventure of their lives,” Douglas told Caribbean Life after the book launching ceremony in Brooklyn earlier in the summer.

The turnout at 204 Parkside Ave. was great, “as folks came out, some bringing their children to have their copies signed” by the singer-turned- author, according to Douglas’s booking agent, Grenadian Derick Noel, a Brooklyn resident.

“The overall response and feedback from the folks in attendance were in a nutshell well done,” Noel said.

He said that, after an hour and a half of socializing in “area one,” having champagne and finger food, the function moved to “area two”, otherwise known as “under the tent,” where Douglas signed copies of “The Adventures of Spin and Scratch, The Relocation,” and then proceeded on stage, giving fans “a solid hour-and-15-minute performance, doing some favorites, like ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’ and ‘Ragga Poom Poom.’”

Noel said Douglas also surprised fans and patrons with two new songs, “Freight Train” and “Girl I love You,” “which were well received with a standing ovation.”

The booking agent said attendees included Donna Cox, consul, Trinidad and Tobago Consulate General in New York; calypso artiste Poser; world-class drummer and producer Phil Young and author, Nicole Francois.

“The evening was definitely a memorable one,” Noel said.

Douglas said he was born and raised in a small village in southern Trinidad, where he was exposed to music when he was very young.

He credited his exposure to community center folk music performances as the root of his musical journey.

This, coupled with the influences of his older sister’s sharing of her talent as a “young, ambitious poet,” served as “the inspiration and foundation” for the development of his natural musical talent.

But he said his vocal talent “really flourished” while singing at his local Pentecostal church.

At 16, he said, he and a few friends in the church formed a band called “Exodus,” which quickly became very popular and gave him his “first real taste of spotlight and stardom.”

While enlisting in the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard for six years, Douglas said he continued to hone his vocal talent while performing with the Coast Guard band.

He said he was influenced musically by “local greats,” such as Blakie and Lord Kitchener, and internationally by Americans Peabo Bryson and James Ingram.

Douglas said he performed several genres of music while enlisting in the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard.

After Coast Guard duties, he said he didn’t take long to establish himself and be recognized as “a true artiste of exceptional talent,” performing with some of the biggest bands of the day, such as Fire Flight and Atlantik, where larger audiences enjoyed his uniquely husky yet sultry singing.

Noel said Douglas “has taken us through a gamut of human experiences,” from “Friend” off the Soul Island album and “Ooh Aah,”’ the smooth jazz hit written by Douglas off the same record, to the social outrage of “Abuse” featured on the “Sir Anslem Douglas album.”

In 2013, Douglas released “Bacchanal”, along with a neo-calypso song, “Dancing with You”, and “I Want to Know.”

A year later, he released “Boom and “Broughtrupcy,” and a smooth reggae track, “It Wasn’t You.”

That same year, Douglas won the “Best Caribbean Style Artiste” at the Black Canadian Awards.

Douglas said he continues to perform on stage, record and write songs and music, even while focusing on pursuits “closer to home,” including creating and writing his first children’s book.

In 2018, he produced “Irie Tonight” and the next year “Make It Clap.”

This year, he released “Back It Up” for Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival in addition to “Break That Cycle” in support of his global platform to “heighten awareness of the need to break the cycle of abuse.”

“Music has always been at the core of this Trinidadian-born Canadian, and accolades that he has received are evidence,” Noel said.

“Anslem’s made an indelible mark on life’s musical canvas,” he added. “The intensity and passion this artist has for his craft continues to flourish, as he showcases his God-given talent to audiences worldwide.”

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