Destra Uncovered
  Linda Davis
February 2016

She’s fondly known as ‘the Queen of Bachanaal’. She’a a soca diva who has become a household name in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean and many other parts of the world. On stage, she’s known for her pulsating hits that always leave a crowd in a frenzy. But who really is Destra Garcia? What means the most to her? How did she get the name ‘Queen of Bachanaal’? How important is family to her? In this revealing and inspiring telephone interview, Destra gives Paradise Pulse’s Lyn Davis an insight into her life, her beliefs and, of course, her music. We’ve included some extracts from the interview on this page but to listen to the entire interview, click below:

How do you feel about the soca songs released this year (2016)?

I think people didn’t get enough time to get accustomed to all of them or you know to get enough of an opportunity to really feel the essence of what the songs will bring for the season. I know there’s a lot of talk out there with people saying yuh know they not feeling the Carnival, they not feeling the J’ouvert. I think it’s because the season is short and the people did not have a chance to really enjoy the contributions made by all of the artistes.


People are saying that Carnival isn’t Carnival without Destra. What would you say to that?

(Laughs)! They are? I think I made a good contribution to Carnival, I think I’ve been a very important element for the past decade maybe, but I don’t think that is a fair statement to make (laughs). What they probably trying to say is that Carnival, when you think of Carnival, you do think of Destra as one of the pioneers of Carnival, they like seeing me, they like the energy that I bring, and all of that, but as far as they saying it’s not Carnival without me, I’m sure they said that back in the days of Kitchener and Sparrow and Rose, but they are no longer really an active part of it and it is still going on, so I think with every generation we just, you know, we bring, there are people that bring a value. I think I brought a value and if it’s any consolation to anyone I don’t think I’m going anywhere anytime soon. I think I have a lot to offer I think in terms of my talent and I think what I do bring to the table is an element that people always look forward to, so hope the market is still there.


You are the QUEEN OF BACCHANAL, a pseudonym everyone is fond of. What made you become the Queen of Bacchanal?

Well everybody, with the females all doing well and everybody getting better and better every year, I think the first name they started to call me was the ‘Queen of Soca’. I don’t know if I deserved it but they first started to call me that. I think Paul Richards was the first person to call me ‘Destra the Queen of Soca’ back when I sang ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ and ‘Carnival’ and ‘Fly’ and at that time I was very very consistent with  the hits coming out every year and that is when they decided that this girl not stopping at all, every year she have to have something that on the lips of everybody.

I haven’t slowed down and they started to call me that, but there were some females that were also deserving of that title and I felt that I needed to separate myself from ‘the queen of soca drama’, so I decided that everywhere I went, it was time for a new name and in fact it was GBM and  T.C. Jaiga, he was the first person that started to call me “the Queen of Bacchanal”, him and GBM Nutron and GB himself when I sang ‘Call Meh Name’, that was the first time I mentioned they call me the ‘Queen of Bacchanal’ and then that name kind of stuck. I felt great, I was looking for a niche and here it is. Now I will be known as ‘the Queen of Bacchanal’ and then people start to abbreviate it now and call me QB which I like even more (laughs), cause it looks good on paper.


What is your most memorable experience singing soca?

It’s always doing performances in places where I have never been before. I remember going to Belgium for the first time with Roy Cape, then going with Atlantic, then going with my own band and I remember seeing the crowd grow and grow and grow and becoming a house hold name. Now the thing about Belgium, they usually put your name on the flier in order of merit and they have a lot of big artistes and I see my name go from not being there (laughs), to being there and being like the second largest headliner.

I am talking about people from all over the world go to the Belgium festival and seeing my name in big bold print, the last time I was there, it was absolutely awesome and seeing the way that the people reacted to me and doing everything I said and half of them not being able to speak English, being able to use my French and my Spanish to communicate with them, those are some of my most memorable times…when I can use the skills that I have learned at school or growing up, to really get a crowd into a frenzy and kind of takes it to the next level. It’s really great for me to be able to explore the French market. I do a lot of French work, Guadeloupe, French St. Martin, St. Barts, Martinique and France, and I’m making my second appearance in France before February is over and that is a major, major accomplishment for me, being able to speak to people that do not speak English and enjoy my music but still perform for them in their own native tongue.


What do you do on your off time?

My off time is very limited and when I am off I spend that time with my daughter, making sure that everything she does in school is on time. I do schedules for her, so that when I am  away, when I am not with her , her schedule and her day goes on as if I were there and the support of my mother and sister and dad, that they pick up the slack, whether it’s helping her with her homework or getting her ready for school and the days that I am not back yet, but as long as I am here, I am with her, taking her to activities, helping her with homework, spending time with her watching movies, playing, so that she remembers  that I am really actively there and that even when I am not there, it’s so much I give her, so much love and attention when she is with me so that when I am not, she knows that I am coming back.


What is the most inculcated value you learnt from your parents?

How to be patient, how to be down to earth, how to not let position in life change you from being the person that you were to be. My mother told me I would be a great mother in that she is over protective, really over protective and she worries a lot and though that was annoying growing up for me, I think I treasure that because I’m the same way with my daughter. My dad is always there to kind of tell me, don’t worry about nothing, everything will be fine, don’t worry about it, God is good, everything happens for a reason. There are so many things I can’t just pinpoint one.


From hearing you speak about your daughter always put a smile on your face. How has your experience in motherhood been so far?

It’s been amazing. She wasn’t planned (laughs), but I’m so glad that she happened to me. Even if I’m having a bad day, the easiest thing is to kind of do is to talk to her and she is so grown up, she would say, mummy what are you worried about, don’t study that, everything would be fine. She has such an amazing outlook on life, so positive, and so strong and so pure, it’s almost like having a santuary to go back to and talk to and sometimes she doesn’t even know what’s going on but she can tell from a mood or maybe my change in demeanour or my aura and she would say, “Mummy, something is wrong, what is wrong with you, why you’re not smiling?, “Mummy let’s do this or let’s do that.” She’s just, she’s my everything.


If you had to stop singing today, what would you like to do or be?

If I had to stop singing, I’d like to make a difference in the world. There are certain things that I’m really passionate about, outside of what I’ve already spoken about. I’d really like to make a difference with women, and kind of motivate them to a point. We have a lot of women out there that don’t feel that they deserve to be happy or they don’t feel great about themselves and I’ll like to be a factor in empowering women and letting them love themselves and work hard and know that they can do anything. A program like that is something I would really be interested in spearheading.

Also children that are abused, maybe have a foundation for that, so that we could have less children on the streets, less children that are exposed to abuse or bullying and also empower them to be better and  then stand up for themselves in whatever forum that they are being abused. Those are the things that I am passionate about and maybe someday I’ll be able to get into that. If all else fails though, I’ll still like to be a teacher, and probably teach children foreign languages, because the way the world is, it’s so much to see…after seeing so many things and going so many places, I would love to educate children and help them to communicate with the world.


Women as well as the younger generation look up to you. Is there anything you would like to share with your fans/supporters?

Well, I would like women to know that, a lot of times as women we face challenges, in a lot of things, whether its youth phase or being a mother or whether it’s being a friend or whether it is dealing with people, you face challenges. Don’t try to change for anybody, be the best self you can be. We try to co-exist in a world that is filled with egos and a world that is filled with chauvinism. People think that as a woman you can’t do this and you can’t do that, you can’t excel at this or that. Sometimes people try to keep you down. If you know you have the potential to do something, go after it with all your heart and soul, be the best person you can be, the best mother you could be, the best employee you can be. Keep reaching for the stars, until you gave everything that you have to give, so nobody can say. “Yeah, she’s just a woman.” Let them know you’re a super woman, not just a woman.

By: Linda Davis | FEATURES | February 2016