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Meet Jryck Williams - Trinidad & Tobago

“There are so many people who don’t have “big ranks” in the pan world but have amazing ideas and visions for our national instrument that would be so beneficial. I would give people an opportunity to come together, every steelband family and share our ideas.”  ... Jryck Williams

She is confident, assertive, astute and forward-thinking.  Moreover, she embodies all of the best ingredients you would love to have in the next generation of Pan caretakers. Jryck Williams may be young; however, her age belies her wisdom. This future lawyer brings it all to the table. We may be looking at the next great global leader of a players’ pan association or prime minister. In an exclusive interview with When Steel Talks - panist Jryck Williams shares her love and vision for  the steelpan instrument, its music, the art form and more.

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

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WST - “Tell us about yourself - who is Jryck Williams?”

Jryck W. - “Jryck Williams is an animated, bold, determined, outgoing, straightforward young lady.”

WST - “How were you first introduced to the steelpan instrument?”

Jryck W. - “My mother, Julie Williams, actually plays pan so I grew up in the panyard.”

WST - “Take us through your steelband music journey to date, through the years.”

Jryck W. - “Well, I had a one-on-one teacher at the age of 5, then I joined Exocubs for a few years until I was ready to join the big band, Exodus.”

WST - “What is it about Pan that has so captivated you?”

Jryck W. - “It’s the “pan jumbee” as we like to call it. Whether it’s the vibe in the arrangement or the hype on the stage, pan is a greatness that you have to experience to truly understand.”

Jryck Williams on guitar pan
Jryck Williams (center) on guitar pan

WST - “Talk about some of your steelband performances throughout the year?”

Jryck W. - “I have performed on numerous playouts with Exodus such as Pan On D’Avenue, Pan in Point Fortin, the Big 5 show and two years ago I went to Argentina to play pan for Exocubs.”

WST - “As a young person, what is your opinion on the status of steelband in Trinidad & Tobago?”

Jryck W. - “I think that steelband can be improved, and why I say that is because we as the creators of the steelpan should show more love towards our national instrument.”

WST - “If you had the power to change something in Pan immediately what would that be?”

Jryck Williams on tenor bass
Jryck Williams

Jryck W. - “There are so many people who don’t have “big ranks” in the pan world but have amazing ideas and visions for our national instrument that would be so beneficial. I would give people an opportunity to come together, every steelband family and share our ideas.”

WST - “With so many other activities available to young people today, what keeps your passion for the steelpan instrument and art form going?”

Jryck W. - “There is something that steelpan brings that isn’t there in other activities, and I guess you just have to find a balance between that and the other activities of your life.”

WST - “You are part of a great pan family. How does it feel to have your Mom playing in the band with you?”

Jryck W. - “It is a great thing honestly because to begin and have my most important support system there is comforting to say the least.”

WST - “Who, and what are your musical influences?”

Jryck W. - “I don’t really look up to anybody because there is talent and skill amongst all ages, even within myself, and I think learning from all is the best thing to do.”

WST - “Who is your favorite arranger and why?”

Jryck W. - “I don’t have a favourite arranger because I believe everybody has a different style to bring to the table and I love them all, because Renegades’ 2016 Panorama final introduction, and Exodus’ La Vida Es Un Carnaval are both two completely different arrangements with different arrangers that I both love.”

Jryck Williams - on tenor
Jryck Williams (center front) on tenor

WST - “What is Panorama overall for you? Describe that experience.”

Jryck W. - “Every single night there must be at least one complaint about being tired or ready to go and sleep. But to be there surrounded by your pan family and feeling the love and energy from everybody....nothing can’t top that feeling.”

WST - “Talk about how it feels to be on stage specifically, playing for the national Panorama in Trinidad - what are those eight minutes of competition like, especially final night?”

Jryck W. - “It’s the adrenaline pumping through your veins as you stand there praying you don’t start before the band. Then the count starts and the entire world’s ears are listening to you and then as quick as it comes the performance is over.”

WST - “Is Panorama a curse or blessing from your perspective?”

Jryck W. - “Panorama is a blessing because it brings new experiences, new people and new opportunities for our culture.”

WST - “If you had the power to change something in Pan immediately what would that be?”

Jryck W. - “I don’t know what I would like to change as of now but when I do, I hope I am given the opportunity to make a great change in the pan world.”

WST - “What have you been most proud about as it relates to Pan?”

Jryck W. - “The fact that steelband does not only exist in Trinidad and Tobago but in the world is something that we all should be proud of.”

WST - “What disappoints you the most in the steelband movement?”

Jryck W. - “Nothing is really disappointing because we win some and we lose some, but in everything we gain something and we should focus on our growth and learn from our mistakes.”

Jryck Williams and mom Julie
Jule Williams and Jryck Williams

WST - “What would be your advice to the young female players all over the world who are dreaming of following in footsteps such as yours?”

Jryck W. - “My advice is to aspire to be the best ‘you’ in anything (not only pan) that you do. Forget who’s better than you or learning quicker than you. Focus on you and your skill and work with yourself and those around you who push you...you’ll get there.”

WST - “And, what advice would you give to young girls and women who are specifically, part of Trinidad & Tobago’s present-day steel band community?”

Jryck W. - “Make a difference. In every single decision that you make, moment before you react, just make a difference. The smallest ones matter also.”

WST - What is your vision for the steelpan instrument?”

Jryck W. - “My vision is that steelpan will become an easily recognized instrument throughout the entire world.”

WST - “Are there any other steelband-related matters you would like to bring forward?”

Jryck W. - “To judge Panorama, I think you should at least know about pan. An element of foreign judges should be considered as some people may have a biasness towards some bands. Also, the attitude of Trinidadians towards our national instrument isn’t all-round positive. We should strive to all love our instrument and find a place in our hearts to appreciate it.”

WST - “What is next for Jryck Williams?”

Jryck W. - “In the pan world, Exocubs has a tour to Argentina. In the music fraternity, I have alto saxophone exams at the end of the year and in life, I am aspiring to become a lawyer as a future profession.”

photos provided by Jryck Williams

   Jryck Williams performing with Exodus Steel Orchestra

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