Born and raised in East Trinidad, Yankey Boy got his nickname in the streets of Pinto, Arima after spending 2 years of his childhood living in NYC and returning with a “New York swagger”. But, don’t be fooled by his nickname OR New Yorker vibe, Kevon Heath is far from a Yankee. In the nature of a true Trini, he is an avid player of Steel Pan, the National Instrument of Trinidad and Tobago.
Kevon, a former Arima secondary pupil, was no rookie in the Pan business; copping 3 Pan Championships and upholding a major role in the Defense Force Pan Team. With his raw talent, it was no surprise when he received a scholarship to the University of the West Indies to read and write music. Once at UWI, Kevon learnt to play most instruments that he came across.
Yankey Boy’s first major hit, “Head Nice”, was a joke gone well! Thanks to his personal friend Lyrikal– who gifted him the riddim, and his love for liquor, a playful joke became a hit! The first time he heard his song on the radio Yankey went into a bar and brought everyone in that bar a drink in celebration. Proving that his success was far from good luck, he had another major hit on his hands with “Bartender”! A tune that flooded the radio stations and DJ crates notably in NYC, Miami and Trinidad. Along with a radio presence, Yankey Boy was also working on his unforgettable stage performances.
Let’s take a minute to focus on Kevon Heath the man rather than Yankey Boy the musician. Kevon will be the first to admit that he wasn’t initially a fan of soca music. But, that changed after being surrounded by the likes of Makamillion, Lyrikal and even Patch over the years. Kevon explained to us the ongoing mathematics that has worked for him continuously; “10% Talent, 40% who you know (Networking), 50% Marketing”. Most people can relate seeing that some of the most talented individuals are not being recognized because they don’t get the opportunity to network and market themselves as a brand. But Kevon’s rising success did not come without any obstacles. With success comes media attention, and with that, the rumors began.
Believe it or not, every line in his song “Rumors” is very much true. Yankey Boy did find his girlfriend in bed with another man; he did in fact get a flat tire on the notorious Beetham Highway in Trinidad and of course, he consumes puncheon on a weekly basis. Kevon explained the “horn” situation as him walking into the bedroom and seeing a random man buckling his belt while his girlfriend was basically speechless. He was even bold enough to refer to Kevon as “Yankey Boy” and give him a high-five on the way out. Kevon lost that night, but he woke up in the morning victorious. Heading to the studio with the experience fresh on his mind, Kevon initially directed the entire sound around his ex, and then felt that he shouldn’t give her free publicity. That very next day Kevon recorded his massive hit “Rumors”.
Recently, Yankey Boy has given us “This Carnival” for Carnival 2016 and continues to live by his personal slogan; “too positive to be doubtful, Too Optimistic to be fearful and too determined to be defeated”.