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Hotseat - Essynce

764_hotseat_essynceClaudie "Essynce" Choicy

You might know Claudie "Essynce" Choicy from going to school with her here in St. Maarten or having worked with her. Or you might know her through family and friends, or just from Out n About. However, it may be that most of us remember her best from seeing her perform on stage with her sultry voice and forever colourful appearance. You'll always find her mother Josianne Fleming Artsen in the audience in beaming support of her daughter.

Claudie grew up on St. Maarten and was into dancing; she was a member of Motiance Dance School. One day her mom picked her up and drove her straight to her new singing classes with Anastacia Larmonie. At first she wasn't sure she liked it, however, she joined the "Lollipops" and her singing career started right there and then. Many current local entertainers are from the Lollipops: BettyV, Shadow Man, Joshua Bell, Connis Vanterpool, Ray Baly, Miruchia, Alex Jack, Clara Reyes...

After completing Milton Peters College (MPC), Claudie went to study in France – Paris, to be exact. When she returned from Paris, she started to sing with Youth Waves, which she did for seven years. They performed as opening acts for various international artists and were at times the main international act when travelling. You can enjoy Essynce on Thursdays at Sapphire Beach Club "Oreos", Saturdays at Taco Macho and sometimes on Fridays at Karakter with Connis.

Where were you born? Tell me a little about where you grew up.

I was born and raised on the French side of the island in Marigot. I was very artsy; I did a lot of drawing; you'd find me making cards – usually pencil drawings and markers. I'd make my own birthday cards and holiday cards, etc.

Where did you go to school?

I started at Butterfly Kindergarten, followed by Sister Regina Primary School and then I went to MPC where I did the HAVO stream. I had a very good experience going to MPC. It was fantastic. We had a great group of friends and we had a really good time in school. My best friend Elektra and I did everything together and enjoyed every minute of it.

I heard through the grapevine that you danced in a group at some point in time. Please tell me a little about that.

Yes, that's right. We started a dance group in my first year vacationing in St. Maarten while studying in France. We would practice at the cultural centre in Marigot every day we'd meet. We would do a show once a year with the entire group. DJ Pauly was one of the male dancers; Pauly, Archi, Leela and I – we did hip hop and participated in a dance competition and won it.

Where do you currently work, what is your profession?

I studied accountancy in France. I have my degree and worked for 12 years with the French Tourism Office in Marigot as head of the Accounting Dept. However, now I am a full time performer. I've decided to devote the rest of my life to my singing career. I strongly believe that we are here for a purpose and I think everybody should find their purpose and dedicate themselves to it, and thrive in it, enjoy it to the fullest.

Being a member of the David Company has allowed me to find my purpose in my life's journey. My spiritual life is essential to my existence. Love is the greatest emotion or state of being; my mantra is that the essence of life is to love. I live by this.

You are a fantastic R&B singer. Where did you learn to sing? Did you take singing lessons?

I took singing and piano lessons from Anastacia Larmonie. I took three to four years of lessons with her and that's probably my foundation in music. She has never left my musical life; over the years, we reunited the "Lollipops" and we now do it from time to time.

I heard you performed "One Wish" with Connis Vanterpool; did you write the lyrics to that song? Please tell me a little about how this came about.

One Wish – originally called Perception – I "en prompt" created the lyrics to the melody. It happened at the birthday party of Jorien; Connis was performing with his band "Mosaic" and I improvised the song and then we recorded it later.

Besides performing, do you have any other hobbies or interests? Give us a description of a regular day in your life.

I write poems and lyrics to songs. Music is all – I listen to it.

What is your favourite type of music? Which artists do you listen to most?

I like raw music. I prefer to listen to Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzie Gelibsby, Emeli Sande, Alisha Keys, Sade and Jill Scott.

What are your ambitions for the future? Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I see myself involved with my music, contributing to other artists on their journey. Showing the dos and don'ts and helping them on their way.

If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be? What would be the one question you would ask and what would you serve them to eat?

I would invite Ella Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe and my grandparents.

I would ask them all: "What made you happy? What was the best part of it all?"

I would serve a dish prepared with love.