Young soca sensation Nailah Blackman has been nominated for one of the 2018 Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) Awards – the Viewers’ Choice: Best New International Act.

She has been named among ten international acts for the award.

On her Instagram account yesterday, Blackman expressed excitement at having been nominated, writing: “OMG OMG!! I’m so excited! I’ve just been nominated for the BET Awards 2018 International for Best New International Act!

“I’m the only Caribbean artist representing in this category. I am not just doing this for my home land Trinidad and Tobago but this is for the wider Caribbean and most importantly I’m doing this for Sokah/Soca Music!

“Winning an award like this will get our music and our culture recognised! This is what I always wanted to do, stand so proud being West Indian.”

Blackman ,who has given fans soca hit songs such as Sokah, O’Lawd Oye, Baila Mami, Badishh, Dame Lorraine, Dangerous Boy and Workout, will compete with other world artistes for the award, among them MC Soffia (Brazil), Miniola (Nigeria), NOT3S (UK), Prince Waly (France), Sik-K (South Korea), Sjava (South Africa), Takeamic (France), Iamddb (UK) and Kwesi Arthur (Ghana).

Anson Soverall, one of Blackman’s managers, said yesterday: “We knew about the BET shortlist nomination, but of course, at that stage you are not allowed to say much. You are not supposed to say anything or else you can be disqualified. Then, we kept our fingers crossed to make sure she got nominated. Then we found out just now via social media because they tagged us. They sent an official e-mail as well.”

Blackman was born into music: her grandfather, the late Ras Shorty I, was one of the founders of soca music, and calypsonian Abbi Blackman is her mother, and part of the extended Blackman musical family.

Blackman is an accomplished musician, not only classically trained in voice but also in various instruments including the guitar and keyboards. She is also a songwriter.

Last year she shot into the limelight with Work Out, a collaboration with Kees Dieffenthaller, a track that has received over eight million views on YouTube.

Her latest, Badissh, features Jamaican rising star Shenseea and has also received multi-million views.

Should Blackman win the award later this month, she will join other local artistes who have captured popular international awards in the past, including Anslem Douglas, songwriter of the internationally acclaimed and Grammy Award-winning hit Who Let The Dogs Out, and recently a Black Canadian Award winner; rapper Nicki Minaj; singer Heather Headley; and soca superstars Bunji Garlin and Machel Montano, who won Soul Train Awards in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Bunji’s song Jungle Bae was also featured in the Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U album, which copped a Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronic Album in 2016. And of course Calypso Rose (McCartha Linda Sandy Lewis) who won a WOMEX Award in 2017 and the French equivalent to the Grammys, the Victoires de la Musique Award for World Music Album of the Year in 2017.

Dieffenthaller lauded Blackman’s nomination. He said: “It’s awesome to see Nailah continue to grow and carry her original style with her wherever she touches. This is just the beginning for her and soca music. It’s important for us as an industry to support each other so we can collectively place our music where it ought to be. Vote for her and make the dreams reality!”

Contacted yesterday, Bunji said: “First of all, congratulations to her. I guess it will be an exciting time for her. I know what it was like when I was nominated for an international award before. There is a certain kind of fullness that you feel, a good feeling.

“She now has to make that feeling work for her and go the distance. She’s got to take the moment and strike the iron while it is hot.”

The awards show comes off on June 24 at 8 pm.
-Newsday TT