Wednesday 30 September, 2020

Motto expands repertoire as brand grows in soca

Lashley  'Motto' Winter

Lashley 'Motto' Winter

He has made his name as the premier producer for St Lucia’s Dennery Segment but Lashley Winter, known in the biz as Motto, doesn’t want to be pigeonholed.

That’s why he will be releasing two groovy soca riddims for Trinidad and Tobago’s 2019 Carnival.

“I don’t want soca audience to be used to me just doing Dennery Segment and slack vibes. I want to broaden my audience. Not everyone wants to bend dong my girl bend dong. I want to cater for those who just want to go to the fetes and sip on their rum,” he told Loop during a recent visit.

It won’t be Motto’s first foray into slower beats. In 2016, he did a song called Born Winer on the Utopia Riddim. His two new riddims for 2019 will be called the Jamish and Ole Ting Riddims. Jamish, featuring Motto, Skinny Fabulous, Lavaman, Destra and Alison Hinds was released on Thursday.

So far, Motto, named after the Motorola ringtone, has released one fast-paced riddim, the ASAP Riddim on which he has a song called ‘Pick Your Position’ with Skinny Fabulous and plans to release two more: the Simon Says and Vice Riddims. The 24-year-old producer who did Machel Montano’s 2018 hit ‘Showtime’, plans to work with the superstar again for 2019.

Though he is very popular in his native St Lucia, Motto wants to become a household name in Trinidad and Tobago.

“I think T&T is the mecca. There is a lot of attention and opportunity that could happen with me being established in Trinidad as an artist and producer,” he said.

Living in Brooklyn, New York, Motto has plans to penetrate the US music industry but not necessarily with soca. He said he just wants to be as innovative as possible.

Given his rise in the Caribbean music scene in a short space of time, it certainly seems possible that Motto can penetrate the American music scene in no time.

Funnily, music was not on Motto’s vision board when he migrated to the US in 2012.

While waiting to enrol into college, he started meddling with a music programme he downloaded out of boredom.

“I have no family knowledge in music, it was just trial and error,” he said of his musical education. “What I have learnt thus far is trial and error as far as learning to write, mixing and mastering, learning chords and arrangements of music, vocal training, notes, harmonies, octaves and styles of vocals, different instruments to use,” he said.

“I was not following music, I was just doing it for leisure, I was studying school,” said Motto, who went to the Boy and Girls High School in Brooklyn, and then Monroe College in New York where he got an Associate Degree in Information Technology. He also achieved a Bachelors in Mass Communication with a concentration in video production from Barton College in North Carolina.

Motto was heavily into his nascent track career at the time and was on an athletic scholarship.

He said his track career was going really good until he tore a ligament in his groin which lasted his entire senior year.

“I felt as much as I love running, this track thing won’t work out. I was doing music at the same time I was doing track so music became my plan B,” he said.

While at school, Motto did the Force It riddim and sang Bend Dong on the Revolt riddim produced by Satish Mathurin of Jammin Records. After he graduated he decided to do a Bend Dong remix which featured St Vincent’s Problem Child and Grenada’s Mr. Legz in order to penetrate the soca market.

Even though he wasn’t well known on the soca circuit, Motto reached out to some regional artists.  He initially contacted Mr Legz to get Mr Killa for the remix but the fellow Grenadian was already flying high with ‘Roly Poly’ so he put Mr Legz on the riddim.

“Problem Child from the first time he heard the song, he was very open, he didn’t feel like I was too small to work with him. He went to the studio the day after. We made the Bend Dong remix happen. Problem child sponsored the music video for the remix and he really showed me the various part s of the how the industry works. I appreciate everything he has done for me,” Motto said.

That was in 2015. He said the remix ‘damaged’ St Vincent in 2016 and helped to ignite his career.

The Force It riddim was also released in 2015 and was initially released with only St Lucian artists for St Lucia’s creole week called Jounen Kweyol.

“I told Problem Child we should repack the album and bring it to Trinidad for 2017 so we worked with Patrice Roberts, Shal Marshall, Mr Legz and Lavaman,” he said.

That riddim introduced T&T to Dennery Segment and spawned Shal’s hit Dip

In 2018, Motto followed up with Gwada Riddim featuring Bunji Garlin and his wife Fay Ann Lyons, Barbados’s Marzville and Stabby and Mr Legz.

Then he released the Pim Pim Riddim which became the biggest album of the year thanks to Machel’s song ‘Showtime’ which was written by Skinny Fabulous.

“Skinny Fabulous song on the Pim Pim riddim was originally supposed to be on the Force It riddim but he sent the vocals late so we couldn’t feature it on the album. I said I will do a new riddim for you. I couldn’t stray away from the sound of the Force It riddim too much, so I had to save a few elements: the kick, drum pattern, the BPM to create the Pim Pim Riddim. It was the sister of the Force It Riddim,” he said, explaining the origins of the hit riddim.

Motto also sang on the riddim, a collaboration with Lyrikal for the song ‘Party Lit’.

Even though he has made his name as a producer, Motto loves performing. Shy and reserved off stage, he said on stage his wild alter ego emerges.

“I like performing and I like singing. I love to spread the love of soca music, I love the reactions I get from the fans, it is a good feeling to just come on stage and see people wilding out. I also love production, love creating, love thinking out of the box.”

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