Brent D. Hoyte is known for his unique Virgin Islands rhythm ministry that is becoming more popular across the Caribbean region that fuses soca, calypso, and reggae with the word of God. He has played, musically directed, and produced albums, for many local and international Gospel artists. We had the chance to sit down with the Music Man himself in an exclusive Life & Style interview.
1. What does music mean to you and how long have you been a musician?
Music is my living and how I make my living; it’s my inhale and my exhale. It’s my peace, my joy, and my escape. Professionally, I have been a musician for 10 years. But, I have always been obsessed with music. From 3 years old, I had a habit of playing on my mom’s pots and pans.
2. I’ve heard you can play almost every instrument. Which instruments do you not play?
I do not play the flute and the violin. I haven’t played the harp but I am pretty sure I would be able to play it. Brent was challenged by the interviewer to make a track with every instrument he can play and that challenge was accepted.
3. What’s the goal of your music ministry?
I play with a band called High Frequency Band and our biggest thing is that everybody is for their generation. You have Susan Best and her generation, you have the Clark Sisters and Shirley Ceasar and their generation. You’ll realize that we don’t have someone trying to captivate our generation with the Virgin Islands soca. That genre wasn’t there in the Gospel and we decided to put it there. Remember gospel is all about the message, it’s not about what genre it is. People naturally gravitate to the sound and when they come we just give them the word, even though; sometimes we do get bashed for using the Virgin Islands soca.
4. What is your response to someone who bashes your style of music?
Honestly, I don’t respond because I have witnessed people who have bashed it be front and center whenever we are playing at a venue. My thing is, with the VI soca, we try to make sure that we cater to each generation, especially ours. We are in a generation that appreciates rhythm and we are suppressing people by saying that this music is like Jam Band or satanic. The Bible says, “a soft answer turneth away wrath” or “be quick to listen and slow to speak” so sometimes we just have to let it play its course and let God work on them.
5. What has the experience been like ministering with international artists?
It’s an awesome feeling. When I was 18, I had my first opportunity to play with an international artist. It was Vashawn Mitchell and I remember wondering, well how can I play for Vashawn and I’m a young guy? That didn’t make any sense to me but when he heard the band playing he was blown away and that boosted our confidence. It also reminded and showed me that even though God is giving you all these opportunities, you still have to humble yourself so that your gifts will make room for you and I thank God for that.
6. How is the international artist experience different to working with local artists?
My local artists help me to realize that these international artists are local artists where they come from. Honestly, for me, some of our local artists are better than these international artists in terms of ministry and vocal ability. We should take care of our locals, be there for them and watch them elevate. They are international.
7. What was the purpose behind producing your own Music, Brent Hoyte’s Live Arrangements and where can we get it?
Believe it or not, my first love was drums and bass but everyone kept calling me to play the keyboard so I decided to do live arrangements to keep my instruments still in practice. They are a way for me to express myself and be myself. You can find them on Youtube and Soundcloud and I am actually working on an album called Ear Food Vol. 1 to be released before June which will also feature other local musicians and artists.
8. You’ve hosted or ministered at a number of events locally, what was done recently and what is to come?
We have done so many things. Last year June we did my 25th birthday celebration and brought in Positive and Sherwin Gardner which was a huge success. Then we ministered with Jekalyn Carr and on December 31st we made history in the Caribbean and brought 10 churches together on Old Years Night. We then started the year with an After Glow Concert followed by Oneyke’s Live Recording which was awesome and is still being talked about. Coming up on March 9th we have the first Brent & Friends Concert which will be an incredibly epic event at Save the Seed.
9. What advice can you give other young musicians or persons interested in music ministry?
First things first, invest in your time and invest in the people you surround yourself with and keep away from negative energy. You can develop your skills through experience but if you decide to go to college, make sure it is going to help you advance your skills. Always invest in your skill.