As one of the most innovative soca bands to come out of Barbados, Krosfyah has managed to redefine the whole genre, forever changing the way the music is played and presented. Armed with an exuberant sound that adds touches of reggae and R&B to the soca mix, a funky and decidedly urban look accented with baggy pants and bandannas and a magnetic stage presence, the group grabbed the attention of an expanding international audience and never let go.
Lead by the charismatic, smooth-voiced Edwin Yearwood, Krosfyah (Yearwood, Anthony Bailey, Sherwin King, Elvis Edwards, Khiomal Nurse, Sharon Darlington, Morris Cassell, and Corey Jordan) remains one of the most popular soca bands ever. Not only do they serve up the essential high-energy, hip-winding sound that's the foundation for soca, but they add lyrical depth and soulful ballads, which is unusual for the genre.
Formed in 1989 in the working-class neighborhood of Clapham by lead singer/songwriter Yearwood, drummer Bailey, Michael Agard, and Felix Forde, the group started out playing cover songs on the Barbados hotel circuit. Searching for a chance to play their original music, they were selected to represent Barbados at a showcase in Trinidad and knocked the audience out with their fresh blend of soca and reggae. Emboldened by the response, Yearwood decided to broaden their appeal and change the group's image. He changed the spelling from Crossfire to Krosfyah, to represent the way it's pronounced in the Bajan dialect. Although most soca performers are middle-aged, he added baggy clothes and combat boots to the group's look to appeal to a younger crowd.
Krosfyah's debut release in 1994, Ultimate Party, served notice that the band was going to shake things up. It helped them when they won the Band of the Year title in Barbados and 1995's Ultimate Dance Party-Pump Me Up remains the biggest-selling CD in the soca genre. It produced the hit single "Pump Me Up," which became an anthem for Caribbean youth and was certified gold in Canada. 1995 was also the year that Yearwood won a triple-crown victory of "Party Monarch," "Road March Champion," and "Calypso King" at the annual Cropover Festival. It was a feat that had never been achieved before, but Yearwood had already established himself as a trail-blazer.
In 1996, their release Aim High continued to expand their audience, producing the hit "Wet Me." 1998's Hot Zone garnered major-label support when VP Records released the album, which showcased Yearwood's lyrical and production skills. 2000 garnered the compilation The Best of Krosfyah. ~ Rosalind Cummings-Yeates