Born Rupert Charles, Rupee is a standard-bearer of soca—a frenzied mixture of soul and calypso bred in Trinidad and Barbados. In November, he hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow soca sensation Kevin Lyttle when he releases his U.S.-debut CD, 1 on 1, which makes a strong case for soca’s propulsive yet melodic charms.
“I come from biracial parentage,” Rupee says. “My father was black Barbadian, my mother white German.” Rupee traces his hybrid style to his parents’ clashing musical interests.
1 on 1 is an apt title, as an introduction to both Rupee’s eclecticism and his sensitive singing style, deployed in the sweet, romantic single “Tempted to Touch.”
“The world is ready for soca,” Rupee says. “This has been something lying in wait for quite a while.” 1 on 1. Atlantic Records; November 30.