A Return To Music
Mike Remie performs at the Richard Stoute Teen Contest, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center, Barbados.
As I wrote on my entertainment Column of this magazine, I am happy to tell you that I have made the leap, and accomplished my dream of recording a song on September 12, 2020. It is called Eternally. It will be available for sale on Amazon, YouTube and iTunes. So be on the lookout for this love song. Updates will be posted on Facebook and other media sites.
ANTONNE “Mike” REMIE’s Bio
As a boy, Antonne “MikieMike” Remie sang in Bay Primary boys’ School choir. Music teacher, Mr. Rose who had just come around with a tuning fork made him coo. This resulted in Antonne ending up as lead singer of the choir. Soon afterwards, he was privileged to perform on Rediffusion on Christmas Day. He was also introduced at that time to another Mr. Rose, owner of Val Rosa’s Sports Club, who had attended the end-of-school concert where he heard Antonne sing. With permission from mom, ‘Mike’ was allowed to perform for the club. He also performed for the YMPC Sports club, where he was backed by musical group, The Imperials, and was very well received...Needless to say, Mike was smitten by the singing bug from then on.
On Saturdays Antonne started attending the Children’s Party with Aunty Olga and Joe Tudor, to sing. Piano player, Keith Campbell, was always on hand to provide the music.
Again with mom’s blessing, Mike’s dad would take him to attend Junior Club at CBC on Thursdays with Leroy Sisnett and Studio Party on Saturday nights. This was a non-competitive talent show. By then,Mike’s dad had realized his son’s interest in singing and so every Tuesday night he would take Mike to The Blue Room in Marhill Street. There, Mike was able to see such entertainers as Michael Wilkingson, Herman Ford, Ken Jemmott, Tony Fatchild, Terry Prescod and his idol, Richard Stoute. Mike was also to privileged to see singers such as Norma Stoute, Richard’s sister, Mickey Dee, Jeffrey Greene, Valence Eastmund, Frankie Brown, Michael Young and Tony McGregor, who later became Tony Rivera and groups such The Draytons, with Lew “Jiggs” Kirton, The Jukes, The Marvels and The Opels. Mike later did a stint at Coney Island with the Soul Kings.
After leaving the Children’s Party at Rediffusion, Mike and three of his friends, Anthony “Moto” Smith (now Tony Rivera), Jerry Smith, his cousin, and David “Tails” King. formed a group, which they named The Twilighters and played at Junior Club. Coincidentally, Mike and his other singers realized that there was already another band named Smokey Burke and the Twilighters, which was formed by popular Bajan Singer, Smokey Burke.
During our interview, Mike told me that he actually learned to play drums by sight. He explained how he learned to play by watching people such as Boo Rudder, of the BRC, Ronnie Cumberbatch, of the Fantastics, and Rannie Levine, of the Outfit, as these were his three favorite drummers. And so, after his Coney Island performance, he took up drumming.
This newly discovered talent soon proved lucrative for Mike. He was told about a drumming position in Club Zanzibar in Nelson Street and auditioned and got the position. From there he moved on to Club Tropicale, where he also served as drummer. To this day, Club Zanzibar is still open.
Mike developed different interests and decided to pursue other means of earning a living. For a while, he worked as a Longshoreman in the Bridgetown Harbor. So even though there was no more drumming or singing for Mike at this period in his life, he maintained a keen interest in entertainment and attended almost every entertainment event that was occurring on the island. In particular, Mike attended every single one of Richard Stoute’s Teen Talent shows from the very first held at the Hilton, to the yearly contests held at all the major hotels all over the island until he left Barbados for good.
Mike told me that he was one to be always up front and center, always the first to arrive. In doing this, he was fortunate to see many international entertainers who visited the island…Huge entertainers, such as Brook Benton, Diana Ross and the slupremes, Lionel Ritchie and the Commodores, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Joe Tex, The Meters and more, and from the Caribbean, he was able to see Mark Holder and John Jones of Tomorrow’s Children, who, I am happy to say sang one of my favorite songs of my childhood, Poor Man. I admit that I felt a bit of nostalgia while listening to Mike relay his experience.
Mike did not continue musically until he migrated to the United States. At a club named Nero on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, the call went out for a drummer. Not surprisingly, Mike was eager to step up to the plate.
I asked Mike what would he say was his biggest achievement. He did not hesitate to tell me that his biggest achievement in his career was when he became manager at popular Manhattan Hotel, the Milford Plaza. However, he now works for a large banking establishment, which he also considers as a major achievement.
Mike went on to explain that while working at the Milford Plaza, he performed for a Christmas Party at the hotel. Fortunately, his manager heard him sing and was fascinated with his singing. He was almost immediately introduced to some major players in the music industry in New York City, who gave him the opportunity to stage a performance on Broadway. Mike performed at two huge venues.
As a Professional Banker with a part-time professional singing career, Mike says he performs mainly Rhythm and Blues and Soul. He has also won a number of professional singing and Karaoke competitions…In a singing competition which was promoted by the Milford Plaza on Broadway in New York City, and with the finals at the Millineum Theatre, Mike won the First Prize of $5,000. Then in Brooklyn he also won First Prize in a number of Karaoke competitions that were held by a couple of popular social clubs.
I asked Mike why he is popularly known by the name “MikeyMike”. He explained to me that he was called MikieMike as a child and the name stuck with him.
Mike is very humbled by some of his idols who inspired him to sing. As such, he wants to recognize them by giving a big “Shout Out” to Bajan greats such as Aubrey Mann, who resides in Canada. To Lew “Jiggs” Kirton, who resides in the United States, who Mike proudly told me has been a big inspiration. He really admires the complete determination that Lew has to do what he does; to Richard Stoute, who Mike spoke about with much admiration; and to his friend, Shirley Stewart.
Mike boasts an impressive archive of memorabilia from every single Bajan artist of the 60’s and 70’s.