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‘5 star Akil’ steps into a new life

Akil ‘5 Star’ Borneo is now singing a different tune.

The acclaimed Soca artiste and former deejay has closed the door on his Soca career and is stepping through to “a new life”.

Following his baptism November 26, 2022 at the St James Pentecostal Church, Borneo affirmed there is nothing too hard for the Lord as he shared his testimony in a Facebook video post December 4, 2022. His post has since gone viral with 207 shares and 12,000 views.

Borneo told Catholic News though the decision to wholeheartedly listen to God’s call began in 2020, the “seed” was planted when he was around age eight and continued to “grow” in the many trials he encountered.

He pinpointed being shot five times in 2010 was God’s way of saying, “I have to come back to Him, now is the time.”

Borneo maintained while he could have responded to God’s call sooner, nothing happens before its time.

He remains convinced God was allowing things to happen, “because He was preparing me for a different journey,” he said in an interview February 16 at the Catholic Centre.

As Borneo tells it, he “came from Church”, having attended Church as a child every Friday and Sunday.

Borneo was born and raised in Bournes Road, Diego Martin and attended Mucurapo Boys’ RC, then Diego Martin Junior Secondary, and Mucurapo Secondary schools.

He told Catholic News he was never “a trouble maker” and “was the neatest and well-behaved” student. After finishing his secondary education, Borneo landed his first job at TruValu, Long Circular Mall, St James.

Detailing how he got his start in the entertainment industry, Borneo mentioned his father, Joseph, was a pannist and would take him to Carnival and pan events as a child. His love for music was also being discovered at an early age.

Borneo shared stories of destroying the small speakers in his mother’s radio, replacing them with larger speakers from other radios. It was his way of cultivating his passion for music and deejaying.

In his 20s, he seriously began pursuing deejaying, practising with music records until he felt he “advanced” to audition for Chinese Laundry to deejay at Club Coconuts, Cascade.

At that time, Borneo was a frequent at Coconuts with Deejay and Promoter Merry Perry as a presenter. “So Merry Perry use to bring me there to get more experience and then the bookings came.”

Borneo soon established full time residence at 96.1FM where he deejayed for ten years. However, after escaping death in 2010 while leaving his shift at 96.1, Borneo transitioned to Guardian Media’s Slam 100.5FM, which first aired in 2011.

It was at Slam that Borneo’s singing pursuits was explored. He told Catholic News singing was the natural progression from deejaying.

His first big hit ‘Partier’, written by Stevie Sealey, Emmanuel Rudder and Dale Ryan was released in 2012.

Borneo revealed though he did not anticipate the overwhelming success of his first release, he soon recognised that the “science of the stage” was unfamiliar territory.

“Deejaying, I behind or on top of a table…and you vibes and hyping the crowd. But singing, I have to actually interact…”

‘Partier’, helped him grow as an artiste, he said. “I wanted more. I wanted to be great. I did not want to be the best, I wanted greater than the best, so I start seeking. Buy a mirror and put it home [to practise]…so I had to learn by trial and error,” he said.

‘To my heart’ soon followed, surpassing ‘Partier’. Hits such as ‘Never Done’ and ‘Noise’ followed. He mentioned the catalogue of songs allowed promoters to book him for full shows.

While he was on a high from his success as an entertainer, Borneo was struggling internally.

He said after being shot; he still wasn’t close to God as he should. “It was when I start getting into business, that’s when everything start to change. He start to press on me, He was pressing, but I wasn’t hearing… Just still caught up in the world, studying all the hype and worldly flesh,” Borneo said.

He recalled a particular moment when he was invited on a popular radio station to deejay for two days. He said it was during this time, he really began to seek God.

“Because I started to get closer to God and hear Him more and I went back the next day [on radio], tears in my eyes. I didn’t know who to go to find out what it was. And I driving and tears in my eyes and I saying, ‘God, I know it’s You’.”

He admitted he did not have much counsel or persons to go to for advice. He confessed to his brother-in-law years prior that he wanted to give his life to God. His brother-in-law reminded him of that initial conversation. This was now 2022.

“I remember telling my brother-in-law that, and He used it and bring it back to me saying ‘I remember you tell me when you come from church that God told you three years. I think your three years up now.’ I said nah, three years ent up…. You know when you sweet in sin, you not studying that….”

In hindsight, Borneo knew his time in the entertainment industry was up. He vividly recalled Guardian Media suddenly terminating his employment. He had just purchased a new BMW vehicle and was receiving a $10,000 salary.

“When He pulled that plug, that was it. Everything start to happen,” Borneo said.

That same year, in 2020, Borneo was presented with a business opportunity as a business investor of Island Treats lollies. Soon after he received the rights to the business, the pandemic hit. His business relationship with then business partner took a nosedive.

“I say way, boy. And within that period, me and she start to have conflict. Level conflict. That is the one that break the back. Tears in my eyes because she walked out with the recipe. But God restores,” Borneo declared.

At that time, the product was low on stocks and ingredients as Borneo was tasked to formulate his own recipe. “You know how much lollies I waste? Sugar too much,” he said, laughing. “I said ‘Lord, You have to guide me’.”

Island Treats lollies is now available in 15 flavours at Massy Stores. Borneo single-handily prepares the iced treats from his Chaguanas residence.

Borneo admits he never received counsel from peers and now recognised that God never allowed him to get counsel “because I wouldn’t be here today. Because if I had gotten counsel, I would have been jumping up with them smallies,” he said pointing next door to Soca music emanating from Nelson Street Girls’ RC, a school he usually performed for during the Carnival season.

Borneo mentioned while the early beginnings of the business was not that “great”, it brought patience, “it shut down ego.…the Man break me down, still stripping me…. I actually denied something that was paying me thousands to come and be right down, to a place of humility. I don’t care for nothing, I just care of doing God’s work,” he said.

He explained that this new journey cost him many friends and material possessions. While he has stripped his former life, Borneo clarified he has no issues with persons referring him by his sobriquet ‘5 Star’ as it is this former lifestyle that continues to inspire people today.

He mentioned he was stopped recently by a stranger who shared that his video testimony influenced her to give her life to Christ.

“Everything I went through…I got shot five times, Soca door closed… everything that I went through, wasn’t impossible for God. And that’s what that scripture represent. He was showing me that nothing is impossible or hard for God.”

Borneo spoke of many persons wanting God’s salvation “and don’t know how to come to Him because they are embarrassed to return to Him.”

He believed his video testimony will testify there is a place in God’s arms. “My thing is that it has nothing in the world out there…I does sleep comfortable….it have real things going on… that peace surpass all understanding. Nothing in this world, wining, gyrating, can give you that peace. … I don’t want to lose that happiness. My story is not for gladness, [or] to say ‘Akil you feel you better’, my story is to bring souls to the Kingdom,” Borneo said.

Questioned on his views of Carnival now, Borneo declared outright Carnival is evil. He supported his views with scripture passages quoting Galatians 5:19–21 and James 4:4.

Cognisant his peers in the entertainment fraternity may consider him a hypocrite, Borneo explained “being in it, I didn’t know anything about it. Now that I know

the truth of Carnival and God, it is evil. I’m not compromising….so let the peers and them send their spears, I been ready,” he said.