Known as the King of Soca, Machel Montano ‘s long and decorated career began in 1982 at the age of seven. Since then Machel has gone on to dominate the genre, winning countless awards and pushing Soca music onto the international stage with growing velocity. Whether he’s selling out Madison Square Garden or rocking a 25,000 deep crowd at his namesake fete on home soil – Machel is an unmatched entertainer, an artist of growing global influence, and a man on a mission.
“The Road” directly references carnival’s raucous parade of tens of thousands of masqueraders jumping to the pulsating sounds of soca through the streets Trinidad’s capital Port of Spain on the Tuesday finale. Machel and producer Travis Hosein (a.k.a. Travis World) had the song for a few years and initially hoped Rihanna would be interested in recording it (Rihanna attended Machel’s concert in her Barbados birthplace in August 2015, held during that island’s annual Crop Over carnival celebration, and joined him onstage to sing her hit “BBHMM”). “We are always trying to hook artists into soca but the timing wasn’t right for Rihanna, so we thought it could work for Ashanti because we wanted an artist from her market to sing a song that is aimed at our market, the people of Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean, the soca world,” Montano told Billboard in a recent interview in Brooklyn. “Ashanti wrote parts for the bridge that took the song back into her world, specifics about traveling with someone you love, and being on the road with them at carnival. Her singing and lyrical brand remain intact on the track while reaching out to the carnival crowd, which is really unchartered territory for both of us.”