New day for Fabian
by DONNA SEALY
It’s a new dawn, a new day, and a Nu Lyfe for Fabian Odle. And he’s feeling good.
The 29-year-old singer and songwriter’s musical rebirth – which included a name change and a fresh perspective – may have come through baptism by fire, but by the sound of it he has emerged better than ever.
After losing his biggest supporter, grandmother Moreen Grimes and dear friend David Grease Man Defreitas last year, Fabian was more determined to make an imprint on the 2016 Crop Over festival. Fabian has invited us into his new life through Audition. The self-penned song was produced by Fabian Minim Worrell.
“The song just came to me. I was outside just chilling and the words and the melody just came to me. The same time I recorded it on my phone and worked on it. I called [Minim] the next day and said, ‘I have something here,’” he recalled of his first Crop Over 2016 release.
Another track, ETC (End of my Thinking Capacity), was released next on the Odah riddim, also produced by Minim.
Fabian has been steadily building his reputation in the soca arena since he was a child. He comes from a bloodline of musicians, singers and calypso lovers. The singer/songwriter is also a great nephew of the late De Great Carew, and even saw the late calypsonian perform once before his untimely death in 1995. In fact, it was his adept imitation of Carew’s performance style that got him noticed at eight years old.
“The year Carew passed away I was at camp one day singing Snakes In The Grass in the classroom. The counsellor caught me singing and dancing and took me to a couple of other counsellors to sing and dance for them – kinda like an audition. There was a talent show at the end of the camp and I sang at it. From then, one of the counsellors said they would enter me in Richard Stoute Teen Talent, and I ended up going to the finals that year,” he remembered.
The competition stage also provided a platform for others to take notice of Fabian’s talent, including author and former comedian/calypsonian Kemmerick Bing Bong Harrison.
“Since I sang and danced like Carew, he said he was going to write a tribute song to Carew for me. I won Junior Monarch in 1996, with Bring Back Carew and again in 1997 with Arthritis,” the artiste, then going by the name Fabie, said.
For three years, the former Christ Church Foundation student participated in both Junior Monarch and the Richard Stoute Teen Talent competition. The year 2000 was his final year on the junior calypso stage, where he placed second by a thin margin.
The Kendal Hill, Christ Church native kept writing even after bowing out from competition, and returned to singing in 2007 with Highway Inferno and Fast Food, written by Harrison. He returned the next year with Party Fever, produced by Minim. Under the stage name Tedd, he later worked with Andy MRBLOOD Armstrong and his Redhead Records outfit, creating songs like Feel So Nice, Eyes on You, Bend Over And Over, and Bash Out. Fabian also penned Sir Ruel’s We Come to Party, which made it to the Sweet Soca finals in 2009. He took another break from the stage after the birth of second son N’zari (affectionately known as Naz).
“That break was tough for me, because Naz was premature; he used to have seizures and had to be taken to the hospital often. I also became a single parent. It was tough and I didn’t have the time to focus on music,” said Fabian.
However, a trying 2015 gave him the strength to return to the studio this year. He lost his maternal grandmother two weeks before last Christmas.
“She was like a mother to me. If I never had a broken heart before, I had one then. I took it hard for a while. The only thing that got me through was writing, and I penned about 15 songs in a short space of time.”
Instead of feeling defeated, Fabian claimed a new life for himself and for those who love and support him, such as mum Patricia Inniss-Leslie and extended family and friends.
“I am not thinking about me, I am trying to build a platform for other artistes in my neighbourhood. There are two brothers and another youngster who have potential to do great things, and me stepping out again this year has motivated them to showcase their talent.”