Sunday 25 October, 2020

Friends remember Devon Matthews

Devon Matthews' death has come as a shock to his friends, co-workers, fans and everyone in the soca industry. 

Since he passed away after collapsing backstage at Tribe's band launch in the early hours of Sunday morning, accolades have been pouring in for the 36-year-old singer.

Devon has been described as a warm individual who loved to joke and have fun. Here are thoughts from people who he spent a lot of time with before his passing. 

Ella Andall, calypsonian and collaborator on "D' Journey"

I was very honoured to sing with Devon, I liked the song, for one, it was carrying him some place, he had something to say to the world and I could identify with that. It came at a time I needed to be a part of those lyrics. He was very calm, an “ah we person”. He was very kind, straightforward, very warm. He was all embracing, wanting to do what he wanted to do. This is very shocking.

Anson Soverall, producer

Devon is the reason I am doing soca today, that is undisputed. He saw the talent in me as a producer even when I was doing other genres, he was Mr Soca. He had a lil foresight cause according to him every Trinidadian producer ends up doing Soca if they want to be relevant. He stuck with me for two years. I was doing hip hop and everything in between and every day he used to say you ready to do soca now and I just couldn’t do it.  I tried my hand at one and he get kicks with the drum pattern and he would say yuh have to add vibes, more dynamics and one day it just clicked and I was able to do it and from since then every year we would try to put out one major project together. We were just looking for that hit and it so ironic that “Journey” is his biggest song and we just got it. It’s kind of sad cause we didn’t get to fully bask in it. We were working on a song, which is so ironic because it is called “I remember”. He came here with an idea for a song and it is about him remembering good times, is a real tear jerker, he was waiting for me to finish it. Every year, he will call me around this same time and say wha we doing. I am definitely gonna finish the song. I don’t know how because I just had a chorus and a few verses. Devon has no children so he has to live on in the music now.

Fay Ann Lyons, soca artist, co-founder of The Ground Empire

Devon was not just an artist he was like a lil brother, he was one who would come and eat by the house, lime by the office, if he had a personal problem or just stress, he would call and chat. For us, the loss is not just a fellow artiste but someone we were close with. He toured with us at Orlando Carnival, his first in a long time. Even the promoter who did the event was commenting on how funny Devon is, it was just fun and for us this is just like something totally happen out of the bluest blue in the world, we definitely didn’t see that coming. He was the goofball in the group, who makes everyone laugh, and has the whole thing light and funny and he not there again. We were in contact every day, working on a new song and I talked to him about changes in the song, asked him how he was doing. I am racking my brain to see if there was anything I should have said. We feel sad but we feel comforted in that we don’t need to play catch up. We actually had a couple ideas from his death to do something from a health perspective and music perspective. We will be launching the #DM campaign, DM is his initials but it means to Do More. Do More for your health, your children, your life. We will launch something to encourage people to get checked.

Jaiga, singer, host, DJ, Ground Empire member

I was personally in his space for a long time, but I’ve been around him for the last year and a half with Young Kings and Soca Monarch. I was there on stage and was instrumental in the whole preparation. The last year and half we have been close-ish. Since Synergy days we were around, we kind of share the same space for years but when he came on board the Ground Empire thing we shared a lot of times together. I have known him over 15 years. When his dad died last year we were all around. I was a frequent visitor to his studio and I would talk politics with his parents. He was a big support for his mom after his dad died, she was with him a lot. I last spoke to him on Friday, he sent me a voice note about how I sticking and I need to record. I listen to that a million times. The last thing he did was what he loved doing and he was surrounded by friends.

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