Interview with Motto

The ‘Dennery Segment’ started gaining major traction in 2015. In 2018, it catapulted with great help from Lashley ‘Motto’ Winter. Hailing from Grace, Vieux Fort, Lashley, a ‘super-producer’ and soca artiste, at 23, had accomplished the unimaginable. Now an international act, Lashley ‘Motto’ Winter has a lot to be thankful for. He’s gifted, in the face of opportunity, humble and most of all: proud to be Saint Lucian.

On Tuesday April 11, I sat down with the producer for an in-depth interview. His story, undoubtedly, is one worth telling. He was free-spirited, confident and jovial. It was my first time meeting Lashley, (who famously goes by his stage name) but it felt like I had been around him for quite some time.

I soon discovered music, initially, was second-place in his life, a surprising fact indeed.

“My first career choice was track; I wanted to be a track star in the Olympics and music was always the second choice for me. I always loved running and even participated inmarathons. I got tired of it,however, after a ligament injury,” he shared, adding that the injury affected his ability to perform, which left him frustrated.

“It’s the kind of injury where you’re trying to run fast and it hurts when you’re not performing to your full potential so I just graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree and I took music full fledge,” Lashley, then a student of Barton College, said.

As a child, he loved beating drums.

“I did that a lot,” he said, adding: “none of my family members were into music. I’m the first person to bring a music vibe to my family.”

He continued: “I’ve been living in Brooklyn for about eight years.I left Saint Lucia in 2008 or 2009 and when I went to the United States I didn’t have any friends at first. I downloaded the FL Studio software on a little laptop I bought and I started doing beats and started sending it out to various small artistes; the first type of beats I was doing was ‘Dennery Segment’. It was not called that back then however.”

The artistes he worked with, then, would later grow in the industry.

“Songs like ‘Pork Sauce’ by Soca Bandit, ‘One Drop Talon’ by Dub Master J, ‘Shak Shak’ by Cookie, Mad Ele, Crocodile and Ally Kyatt, all these people that started the movement for the ‘Dennery Segment’, I worked with them. These were my productions. I kept on going and then I realized that if I’m doing all these beats I should try singing too, so I did,” he said.

His first song was called ‘Y U No Love Me’, a soca track he (naturally) produced himself.

Like many other creative geniuses, he had to work with the equipment he had at the time. For recordings, he used a webcam microphone as he did not have money to buy the right equipment. Later, he bought a microphone. The artiste delved into various genres of music including soca and reggae, in an attempt to discover who he was as an artiste. After realizing that reggae and dancehall would not be as successful as soca in Saint Lucia, he focused on the ‘Dennery Segment’ in which he found a home and eventually would become most famous for.

His breakthrough came in 2014, by way of ‘Bend Dong’.

“The song was on the Revolt Riddim by Satish Mathurin (Jammin Records) and they released that riddim with Mighty and Subance and a few other artistes from Dennery; I actually went on late,” he shared.

According to the artiste, Subance’s ‘Chiney Whine’ was the most popular song on the riddim at the time. Later, however, Lashley’s ‘Bend Dong’ would pick up immensely. The artiste followed up with a remix of the song with Problem Child and Mr. Legz, to appeal to a wider audience. Later he would go on to do the same with popular single‘Forcé’; the remix ‘Force It’ featuredLavaman, Hypa 4000 and Loose Cannon.

“At the same time I released it, I dropped a repacked album of ‘Force It’ riddim. The original had local artistes and the remix had Patrice Roberts (‘All As One’), Shal Marshall (‘Dip’) Marzville and Problem Child (‘Toc Tic’), MrLegz(‘Bend Over’) and the ‘Force It’ remix; so basically bringing it back on a larger scale. That’s one of the riddims that said this is the sound of Saint Lucia,” he said.

Later he would release a groovy soca track, (‘Born Whiner’) although he knew it would not be as popular as his previous releases, to prove his versatility.

As he released songs, he released albums under his production label ‘Team Foxx’.

“Mostly all Saint Lucian artistes have worked with Team Foxx music, for instance: Mata, Miigos, Blackboy, Mighty, Subance, Freezy, Cooyah, Ezra D’Fun Machine andKisha, but my main guys are Blackboy, Mata,Miigos and the others.Whenever I send them the riddim they will do their thing and send it back,” he said.

This year, he released two albums.

“I released the GwadaRiddim featuring BunjiGarlin (‘Go Ask YuhMudda’), Fay-Ann Lyons (‘Touch It’), MrLegz (‘Must Wet’), Skinny Banton (‘Aye’), and myself and Fadda Fox on ‘Shell Dong Dat’. Then we released the ‘PimPim’Riddim featuringMachel Montano (‘Showtime’), Skinny Fabulous (‘Push It’) and Lyrikal and myselfon ‘Di Party Lit’. The last single I did for the year was ‘Take Jam’ featuring Shal Marshal and Hypa 4000. Basically this year is the year that the ‘Dennery Segment’ really stuck,” the singer-producer said.

It’s been an awesome season for Lashley who has worked with some of the biggest names in the local and international market and he’s just getting started. Saint Lucians were thrilled to discover that the artiste produced Machel Montano’s ‘Showtime’, one of 2018’s biggest singles.

Says Lashley: “The ‘PimPim’riddimI would say is one of the biggest out of Saint Lucia so far because of the mass that it reached in such a short period of time. It was definitely one of the biggest riddims for Trinidad carnival and Jamaica carnival that just passed and the rate it’s going at it’s like one of those riddims that cannot die out.”

The riddim, however, was initially created for Vincentian artiste Skinny Fabulous.

“He was supposed to be on the ‘Force It’ riddim that I repacked but it did not happen because of various production problems that we had. I said I’d do another riddim for him the following year. At the same time he heard the riddim he said Machel would like the sound and that’s how that happened. The GwadaRiddim on the other hand I just sent it out to my fellas. I met BunjiGarlin in Trinidad, he liked the sound and his wife liked it as well so she went on it,” Lashley explained.

The artiste also performed alongside Machel Montano at various shows (an idea he pitched to the artiste). He also took part in Trinidad’s International Soca Monarch Competition held in February 2018 and qualified for the semi-finals. He’s done with competitions however.

A star in his own right, Lashley has come a long way. From ‘Y U No Love Me’ to hits like ‘Bend Dong’, ‘Force It’, ‘Shell Dong Dat’, ‘Guttah’ and more, to collaborations with household names. He has over 71, 000 subscribers on his YouTube channel ‘Team Foxx’ (formerly 09lashley) and a number of his music videos have passed the one million mark.

A past student of Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School,the Boys and Girls High School (Brooklyn New York- Diploma), Monroe College (New Rochelle, New York- Associate’s Degree, Information Technology), Barton College (North Carolina- Bachelor’s Degree, Mass Communication), this Saint Lucian music producer, singer, videographer and photographer is doing it all.

After he leaves Saint Lucia (he’s currently on a mini-vacation) he’ll be travelling the globe to perform. He’s worked hard to get to where he is and for Motto who absolutely loves what he does, it feels so good.

It’s the year of the ‘Dennery Segment’and soon this segment will take over the world.

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