Crowd Pleaser: Machel Montano has been secured by Veterans in Action and 441 Productions to perform at the Cup Match Summer Splash in July. *Photo Supplied
Crowd Pleaser: Machel Montano has been secured by Veterans in Action and 441 Productions to perform at the Cup Match Summer Splash in July. *Photo Supplied
One the biggest successes in soca history, Machel Montano, is set to perform at this year’s Cup Match Summer Splash in July.

Organizers of the three-day concert, Veterans In Action and 441 Productions, also landed reggae star Tarrus Riley earlier this year.

Summer Splash 2014 begins on Friday, July 25 with the City Music Festival, a free family concert featuring local talent and headliner Who’s Bad, the ultimate Michael Jackson tribute. Tarrus will play on the Saturday night and Montano on Cup Match Eve —Wednesday, July 30.

Machel Montano’s career spans some 30 years and he has recorded songs along side such greats as Alison Hinds, Beenie Man, Wyclef Jean, Shaggy and Buju Banton.

He is credited with bringing soca to the mainstream and it is his mission to see it hit an international market. On his website bio, he says: “I have been pushing the envelope, trying to revolutionize soca, trying to improve its quality.

“It is very difficult to bring this music to the mainstream and at the same time stay grounded at home, but we have created a sound that we believe is palatable to all markets and can play on the radio in rotation with other popular songs and genres.

“That is a dream I have always had and something I look forward to achieving.” Declan Harris of Veterans In Action told the Bermuda Sun: “We have a very good relationship with a lady called Bonnie Hector — the Bermuda connection is with her brother Richard Hector, a former magistrate in Bermuda.

She is one of the main organizers for Caribana in Toronto, which attracts over a million attendees in Toronto the weekend following Cup Match.

“We have had a contract with Machel since last year but we needed to have everything signed and dotted — we’ve had a verbal for quite some time.

Montano played in Bermuda over 20 years ago as the back-up singer of Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, who the late promoter Eddy DeMello used to bring here annually. Harris added: “That was the soca show of the year — there were 6- to 7000 people each year.

“Machel came one year as a back up singer for them but this is his first time as a solo artist.”

Montano seemed destined to enter a career in music, having entered the profession at a very early age.

Born in Trinidad, his career began at the tender age of seven and by the age of just nine he had formed his own band Pranasonic Express.

One of his earliest great achievements was, at nine, performing at Madison Square Garden in New York supporting The Mighty Sparrow.

His debut album Too Young To Soca was released in 1985 and the following year he appeared in the TV show Star Search.

By the age of 12, he was the winner of the Caribbean Song Festival held in Barbados. He picked up a string of Caribbean awards, and in 2008 he was awarded the Bob Marley Award Entertainer of the Year as well as an award at the 1st Annual BET J Virtual Award for Best Caribbean Artiste of the Year.

By 2009, Montano brought a fresh sound to his music in his album Heavenly Drum which included such tracks as Mesmerise, Fly Away and Pray.

In 2010, he made history as the only two-time recipient of the Bob Marley Entertainer of the Year at St Martin’s International Reggae and World Music Awards held in Queens, New York.

Returning to Trinidad in 2011, he performed “the mother of all Machel Montano events” to a sold out audience. That year he emerged as the Power Soca Monarch Champion with the climax performance being Advantage.

His 35th album The Return featured 12 tracks with hits including Bend Over, So High A.O.A, Advantage and Hard Wuk. Following a string of other awards that year, he was nominated Best Caribbean Performer for Bend Over. In 2012, he became the Triple Crown winner and went on to dominate the International Power Soca Monarch with his Pump Yuh Flag hit.

Since 2013 he has been releasing ever more music and has been using social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, My Space, Youtube and Twitter (@machelmontanohd) to expand his reach and has been collaborating with some non soca artists included electronica sound EMD as found on the song Sound Bang, released this January.

Last year’s Summer Splash featured reggae legend Beres Hammond. Organizers hope to make the event an annual fixture. 441’s Andrew Holmes said: “There’s still a lot of work to be done. We are excited about the whole thing and we are committed to making this an even better show than last time.”

The Cup Match Summer Splash will be a three-day event taking place Pre Cup Match July 25, 26 and 30.