Focus on a personality : Percy Rankin
Interview of Percy Rankin, musician
Who are you ?
My stage name is Percy Rankin, my birth name is Percival Violenus, my mother is Wilma Violenus, she’s originally from Aruba. My father is Petain the saxophonist who plays with the CuroStars and now playing with The Jolly Boys.
I’m from St Martin, Hammeau du Pont more precisely.
For people who don’t know you, how would you qualify your musical style ?
My foundation is reggae, I do a lot of other caribbean music because I play in restaurants where a lot of tourists come (jazz, dancehall, calypso) but my base is reggae.
How did you start out ?
I grew up in a musical environment, there was always a lot of reggae music playing in my yard in Hammeau Dupont. I grew up around rastas and Dominicans listening to Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and Yellow man. But I actually started out singing calypso with some friends. I used to sing love songs, and my mom used to make me sing for biscuits. From there I nurtured my ability to sing. I remember singing in front of my mirror using a comb as a microphone, and having my younger sisters backing up. Those were the days.
Now i’m doing it as a profession, people always used to tell me I would end up being a singer.
Music is my life long love.
What is the hardest part of your job ?
The hardest part of my job is making sure that everyone surrounding me is comfortable on stage and that we’re all on the same page. Loving what you do is the most important thing.
In October 2005 you wrote and released « SMILE », what inspired you to write this song ?
I always wanted to write a song about my island so that those visiting us could take back home and remember the time they spent here.
If you had to convince someone to visit St martin what would you say ?
Come down, we have lovely beaches and live entertainment in various locations. We have the only airport that’s that close to a beach, people come from all over the world to experience the jetblast. And of course the food is amazing and the people are friendly.
What’s your favourite hang out spot ?
Lotery farm without a doubt. The atmosphere is completely different, you feel like you’re in a different place. You’re surrounded by nature and mountains.
Your favourite beach ?
That would be Galion, you can take the kids there, the waters are not deep, kids have the freedom to play freely.
Your favourite food ?
My favourite food is fish, I love fish, boiled, fried, you name it. I have a soft spot for fish and dumplin.
What st martin artist do you aspire to work with ?
There are several that have great potential and that are serious about what they do. There’s Oswald, Ruffy, Betti V and many more. I love working with people who have a passion for music like I do.
Last words ?
Big up to all the artists in general, keep doing what you do, I dream to see us all further in our musical career.
Photos by Lysanne Charles, Edgardo Lynch and Malaïka Maxwell.