Member Spotlight: The Caribbean Crew

Posted by Mary Ellen Skawinski on February 13, 2014

Close your eyes and imagine digging your toes into soft, warm sand. The cool ocean spray mists your face as you sip on a most delicious tropical cocktail. All the while, the sweet sounds of traditional Caribbean tunes carry you off— quite literally— into the sunset…

Now as more winter weather barrels through the nation, that proves nothing short of a torturous fantasy. But it was one I nevertheless attempted to relish in, as it seemed to come with the territory of interviewing award winning Caribbean musician Creig Camacho. Read on to find out more about how the founder and frontman of The Caribbean Crew turned his sunshine daydream into a wildly successful business– and became one of GigMasters most highly decorated members along the way!

Small Starts, Big Payoffs

Hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, the birthplace of the steel pan (or steel drum, as it’s commonly called), Creig felt a natural pull toward the instrument. While in college, he gathered a ground of friends and fellow island natives and started a steel drum band. Their first gig? Creig laughed, “We played at a little bar off campus called ‘Crazy Wings.’” Hey, even the most successful live bands have to start somewhere! But playing gigs within the local circuit didn’t last long, as Creig discovered new markets for his music. “When I started The Caribbean Crew around 2003, it was with the goal of targeting the wedding and corporate markets,” he noted. “So I needed to find a way to get my name out there to those clients, and that’s when I started going on the Internet to figure out how.” He explained that after seeing GigMasters pop up on several searches, he decided to give it a shot. In the years following, his band went on to get booked by a slew of Fortune 500 companies, a list that now includes Microsoft, Bank of America, GE, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and JetBlue, to name a few. Oh, and let’s not forget the Super Bowl. In 2005, The Caribbean Crew was asked to perform at the concert preceding Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Florida. And that was only the start of the band’s continued success.

 

Find Your Hook

Winning over the client is a critical first step in securing any gig, most industry professionals might agree. That’s why when you make that initial follow-up call after placing your bid for a gig, it’s important to have a hook in hand to reel in the client. What’s a hook? I was told, "It's what really distinguishes you from your competition. That’s what you want to communicate to the client.” For Creig, this meant honing in on his band’s most notable accomplishments, like the fact that they’re, well, one of the most decorated performers among the web’s largest database of event industry professionals. That's pretty "hook"-worthy! And he couldn’t be more right when it comes to this sales pitch. Your hook is often what will win you the gig over your competition.

Stay On Top of Trends

When I asked Creig how he keeps his band relevant in this ever-changing entertainment industry, his answer was two-fold: never stop marketing yourself and never stop improving your product. “You need to continue to have a presence. So if you have that Twitter account, that Facebook page, a blog, you [need to] take the time to put up posts. And in terms of our product, we constantly update our repertoire… So that nine times out of ten when a client asks us if we can play a certain song, my answer is ‘yes.’” In addition to making sure the band can play a wide range of traditional and Top 40 songs, Creig insists they stay on top of trends. Of course, this professional musician takes trend watching to a whole new level: “I go back to Trinidad every year for Carnival, and it’s not only to get all the new material, but it’s to see what the new trends are for our culture and music.” Resting on his laurels is clearly something Creig has never been a fan of.

Being that the band comprises elements of reggae, calypso, and soca music, blending today’s trends with each genre’s traditions is no easy feat. Yet it’s one of the many talents Creig has developed after more than 20 years of experience entertaining crowds of all kinds. He shows us that hard work and dedication isn't all that it takes to make it big. You need to then pair those habits with a solid understanding of your market and the trends that drive it. Only then will you possess the ingredients necessary for substantial success. Just ask Creig – he and his 10-time award winning band ought to know!

So go on and pop a little umbrella into your mug of cocoa as we jam out with The Caribbean Crew…

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