Good Day Michele, we are so happy to catch up with you during your busy schedule. Thank you for taking the time to sit down and have a chat with us. One Caribbean Network’s 10 Questions with Michele Henderson, musical icon of the Caribbean from the island of Dominica!
One Caribbean Network has been trying to bridge the gap with professionals and citizens from all over the Caribbean, and especially during this time with so many hurting there are so many ways to assist our friend’s family, and even people we may not even know. We know you have been playing your part, and we want the Caribbean to hear about it, and we want to get some advice from you, So, let’s get right into it.
Question 1. Could you give us a brief background of who you are and how you got into music?
I am Michele Henderson, singer and songwriter from Dominica and I was inspired to be a musician because of the rich musical legacy left me by my grand father and father.
Question 2. What’s a typical day or week like for you as a professional?
Well when I am not on a plane heading to a gig I am likely answering emails, doing interviews, rehearsing or studying. Then there are the actual performance days where I am sound checking and dressing up! (One of my favourite parts)
Question 3. What personal advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue this career?
Stay true to your art. Don’t dilute your product and never expect success to be instant. You have to persevere along the course for as long as it takes.
Question 4. What skills or personal attributes are most important to being successful in the music industry?
One needs very good communication skills first and foremost. Then there is your natural talent which you must build on into a highly specialized skill set that only you can deliver. One should also be savvy in the business of music. Be approachable and generous with your time. People love you. You have to give them an opportunity to express that and you need to be appreciative of their admiration. Never take it for granted.
Question 5. What are typical mistakes people make when trying to pursue this career?
Expectation that it is an easy career. Its not.
Things do not always work out. Know that. Don’t be fooled by what it looks like from the outside.
Expectation that everyone will like or love you.
Expectation that everyone who works with you cares about your best interest.
Expecting to be instantaneously rich or famous.
There are many more too numerous to mention.
Question 6. What do you like most or like least about your career?
I love that I can help people and inspire them to greatness. I can change their moods and lift their spirits.
I do not like being away from my family.
Question 7. How important is image in the Caribbean?
It’s a relatively small society so it is quite important. Or at least I believe that it should be. Artists have a huge responsibility to be the models in society. We set the trends. We need to acknowledge that responsibility and ensure that the image we present out there is one that uplifts the society and not one that degrades it.
Question 8. Could you share a little about your “Maria” experience? Is there anything positive you can take from it?
Maria was quite an experience for me. I am thankful that my family and I are safe for the most part. Our home was a bit damaged but nothing compared to many of our neighbours who lost everything. Our greatest loss, though, was that of two of my nieces in-law. I am heartbroken as a mother and as an aunt but we have to carry on for those left behind.
My take from Maria is that people should focus on what is important in life; the love of family and being helpful and compassionate to others.
Question 9. You are involved in a lot of fund raisers and concerts. Could you tell us about that?
I lend my talents whenever and wherever I can to help. I participated in concerts in Curacao and Aruba aboard the Freewinds and also in Barbados, all to raise awareness and funds for relief for those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Question 10: What’s next for Michele?
I need to take some time for some self development. I think it is essential for people to take time out to better themselves. Do some soul searching and learning in order to become better citizens.
Any closing words?
Just like to encourage others to donate towards the cause of rebuilding the islands affected in a climate resilient manner. It is so important that we learn from the experiences of Irma and Maria and do our best to mitigate against the destruction of major weather phenomena. This is our new normal.