Written by: Nekisha Neicy Cyrus
Meet ‘EKO’, a dynamic vocalist group comprising the talented sister duos Suraya Ann Chase and Sonja Alexis Chase. Hailing from Arouca, Trinidad and Tobago they have been composing music from a very tender age. This creativity first manifested itself at the primary school level with mainly calypso compositions. Since then the ladies, have been embarking on their journey of becoming recording artistes for approximately the past three (3) years.
Their first major success was becoming champions of the 2019 IShine competition hosted by the TTEN Network. This was the first of many more musical accomplishments for the group. Since then, they have launched and hosted their very own event called ‘Black Platinum’– the first of its kind, where they’ve created a space to showcase their new music as well as that of other upcoming artistes in the industry.
Since their 2019 success, EKO has been working on new music consistently. They completed a number of original projects and even a few collaborations. Noteworthy are ‘Dismiss’, ‘Our Time’, ‘JAVA’ and ‘Mind Yuh Business’ on the Kembler Riddim and most recently ‘For It All’ on the Project 22 Riddim, as well as ‘Just Hold Me’. Notwithstanding the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, EKO has been fortunate enough to be able to advance its brand and sound during such a challenging time.
Determined to be a part of history, their 2021 offerings “O.M.B (On Mih Bed)” and “Sound the Alarm” were both entered into the first-ever Online Road March competition.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the Greek myth of Narcissus was the inspiration behind the name of their group ‘EKO’.
Caribbean Entertainment Hub caught up with the singing sisters recently where they gave us some much-needed insight into their lives, their music and some of their goals for the future. Sharing about their childhood, the sisters revealed that from a very early age their parents had them involved in extracurricular activities, ranging from playing pan to track, and field to sometimes just an all-round camp during the “July-August” vacation period or “JAVA” as we like to call it. Hence the inspiration behind their track titled “JAVA” that is dedicated to the energy surrounding those two months.
They further explained that their parents’ dedication to ensuring they tried everything, set the course for them today. The young ladies credit their parents with supporting and encouraging them with choosing their own paths, hence forming the foundation they stand on presently while building their own legacy.
So here’s a quick Q&A with the ladies of EKO:
When did you first realize your passion for music? And when did you decide to pursue it professionally?
It’s funny; we grew up in an environment that, looking back now, was tailored in a way for a future in music but it was never the initial plan. We had family gatherings that always included a “jam session” where we would sing calypso, parang, and some gospel of course because granny was a praying woman. It was her devout nature that got us involved in singing in church, which assisted in us garnering the confidence to participate in various singing competitions and events.
The latter part of 2018 was when we took the plunge and introduced EKO to the world. Since that moment, with insight and direction from our parents – Cameron and Judith Chase – and our management team which comprises our older sister, Siobhan Chase, and Theodore Celestin of DollarNote Productions we’ve been on the course to becoming full-time professional recording and performing artistes in the next (5) years.
Tell us a little bit about your musical style and background.
We are heavily influenced by our culture; Calypso, Soca, Parang, Rapso all play an integral role in how we write, flow and create but we enjoy many other regional and international genres as well. From Reggae to Jazz, R&B, and many more. Sonja is actually a member of Los Sonidos, a local parang group and we both had very active roles in our church youth choir. However, although we grew up around the same influences, we have very different writing styles. You could hear this in our songs “Dismiss” written by Suraya and “Just Hold Me” written by Sonja.
Tell us what has your experience been like being a part of a group and managing your sister/artiste dynamic.
Very much the same as working with a best friend. Which means we have as many bad days as good ones; sisters fight you know, but there’s never any threat or fear of dissolution if we speak our minds. We understand for this to work, the key is authenticity, and as similar, as we are, we do have differing interests. It’s the difference that makes it work, balance.
EKO – Sonja & Suraya Chase
How was it working with Kerwin Du Bois? Who have been some of your major musical influences and who are some artistes that you would love to work with?
Make no mistake, Kerwin is where he is for a reason. A true artist in every sense of the word and we are eternally grateful to him for all the advice, feedback, criticism and sometimes a little scolding here and there. Looking back, it was all necessary for the creation of “For It All.” This song is an apt representation of the hearts involved in the project.
Our influences tend to shift and change with each project we undertake; simply because life is to be observed and manipulated to create. However, if Destra calls us today, we will answer. She plays such a major role in our love for the artform; her vocal ability and the command she possesses are incredible. We would be honored to work with any of the legends in the industry (local and international) but our goal is to make room for the new, and a lot of our peers have voices to be heard, so we plan on producing content that highlights the “new”.
What can we expect from you next? Name one major goal you will love to accomplish within the next few years.
We have a variety of singles scheduled to be released soon but we do have one specific goal that we’ve been looking forward to. Suraya is training to be an Olympian and is preparing to represent Trinidad and Tobago in Beach Volleyball for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics. We’ve made it a mission to get there together to perform on the Olympic stage, both as entertainers and for her as an athlete as well.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?
Our aim is to leave an impression of love in the hearts of our listeners and supporters. Being born from a creator, it is innate for us to create; find what feels good to you and share it with the world.
Be sure to check out their latest releases where they teamed up with 6ONE5 Productions and a team of artistes from across the Caribbean to bring you the ‘Reggaelution Riddim’ which features them on not one but two tracks on the riddim which has been getting major traction in Africa, Europe and the rest of the world. Take a listen below!
Also be sure to check out our full EKO interview on Caribbean Entertainment Hub’s Instagram Weekly Live series ‘THE E-HUB’ right here.
Hashtags: #Eko #Ekott #SonjaChase #SurayaChase #Java #ForitAll #TrinidadandTobago
Behind the signature phrase ‘Big Rich in the Pungalunks Factory’ which is heard in songs like Hunter’s ‘Jep Sting Naina’, Hunter’s and Bunji Garlin’s ‘Bring It’, and Kenneth Salick’s ‘Radica’, is an interesting story of human ingenuity that beckons to be told.Read more ...
‘Zesser’ a term that was initially coined and heavily associated with the Trinidad Dancehall community has now evolved into a movement. Today this movement, which was birthed within the streets of Trinidad’s ghettos is now making its way to some of the main stages, not just locally but internationally as well.Read more ...
Since it was way too early for bed and with her four teenage children, without any internet and evidently growing restless, Mother decided to use this inopportune moment to tell us tales and stories about entities of the night, the Caribbean folklore that she was told of when growing up as a child.Read more ...