If you watched or went out to the national song competition on Saturday night, you'll know that one of Belize's best voices was not there: Melonie Gillett decided to withdraw from this year's September Celebration's Song Competition at the last minute. It left many people wondering what was the real issue behind her pulling out from a competition she spent months preparing for?
Well today 7 News has both sides to the story as we caught up with Gillett and the Director of the Institute of Creative Arts.
"There was a misunderstanding between the band director Carlos Perrote and Ms. Melonie Gillett, right away I jump on the phone and call Carlos and ask him what was happening and he basically told me the situation as a director to a vocalist and they couldn't get the same artistic agreement that one would generally want in a studio. One wants to go left and the other wants to go right and everything got out of hand. The next point was that Melonie was making her comments on the television and making news of it all and she is saying rules are changing. We have been in this song competition for quite a while; 3
years now and I must say it was Youth Connection Band for the first year, Youth Connection was the backing band to back our artists, Youth Connection for the second year and then we went with Carlos Perrote and his band for this year and so when she is coming up and say rules are changing I would like to know what rules because our rules are very straight forward in our rule book."
"Throughout the whole time I kept asking for information on the concert because initially we were going to be allowed to have our own band and then a week before they gave us a letter telling that we would be its says 'all contestants have the option of performing live with Carlos Perrote and Olewa Osain band or with an instrumental track' it also says 'contestants are allowed to have 2 instrument players or 2 vocals to enhance their performance' I didn't have anything against that, I would have work with the band. It was never an issue whether I work with the band or not. When we got there, immediately there was, it wasn't a welcoming environment, but I don't pay attention to stuff like that very much so I went over and I told Carlos that I would do my performance part track part band. He says tracks are fake, he doesn't believe that, so i said ok fine let me see what you have and we stay there listening to my song about 4 or 5 times, them trying to pick out the cords and everything and after that, the amount of times they played it my producer still had to go over and try to
give them the cords when he was trying to give them the cords Carlos kept saying that that's the wrong note. At some point you get frustrated trying to tell somebody how to play a song and they are telling you that's not the way you play it. So I said, the last thing I did was to ask if there will be another rehearsal, because ok fine if there will be another rehearsal we can do this. He said 'no, I have a lot of other artists to work with' that's his response, I said ok I'll use the 2 instrument players that I am allowed along with my track because remember we are allowed track or the band and we are also allowed 2 instrument players or 2 vocals. I opted to do that, humbly we left, I didn't want to have any problems with anybody that's not my goal it's not me against my fellow Belizean artist and musicians, we are all struggling in this together. So at that point I said ok well I am not going to risk my performance; number 1, I am not going to do that and number 2 this is ridiculous, we is it so difficult to enter a competition in Belize, why should it even be like this way; it shouldn't be this way."
And even though she wasn't a part of the September Celebrations "Song Competition" - for Melanie Gillett, she will continue to promote her song "My Belize".
"Right now it's "My Belize", that's what's happening for me right now. That song was written with a lot of passion and like I said it took me a long time just to write that song just because I wanted to put my heart and my soul into it. it was the first time I was doing a song for my country and I wanted it to be as good as it could possibly be; production wise, song writing wise, you know everything and so no matter what happens I want Belize; I want you all to hear that song and it is available on facebook - Melonie Gillett, you can go to my fan page."
Those wishing to see the competition can tune in to a repeat on Saturday evening at 6:00 right here on channel 7.