Q&A with MOTTO… Soca Producer & Singer

At 24 years of age, Lashley Wendel Winter more affectionately known as ‘Motto’ to the soca world is a young, but multitalented name in the industry right now. Hailing from the Helen of the West, the vibrant, new aged soca artist has been dominating from 2014, hitting the airwaves with hit singles and major riddim albums.

Born and raised in the south of St. Lucia, Motto is not ashamed to let people know he is from the community of Grace, Vieux Fort. Motto attended Babywins infant school, then Plain View Primary and finally Vieux Fort Secondary before moving to New York to further his education.

Though his musical career would at the time begin showing positive signs of growth, Winter would not let up on his schooling. He would from the year of 2009,  continue his education at the Boys & Girls High School in NYC, graduating then earn a Associates Degree in Information Technology at Monroe College ( NY ) and finally Bachelors in Mass Communications at Barton College located in North Carolina, USA. During this time he would also excel as a long distance, track star for about 6 years, earning medals and other accolades in running parallel to producing and singing.

Motto’s involvement in music began around 2009 when he produced beats under the name “Fox Productions” for underground artists in St. Lucia, which would at that time become very popular on the island and even the Diaspora. His early days as a producer would assist a number of these artists in becoming recognized as local entertainers. From the background Motto would assist in the productions of local hits as early as “Shak Shak” by Cookie, “One Drop Talon” by Dub Master J, “Pork Sause” by Soca Bandit to new day tracks such as “Piwat” by mata & Miigos, “Push Back For Me” by Blackboy, “Haydi” by Ezra, “The People Man (TPM)” by Kisha & Mata. Motto also works closely with local artist such as, Mighty and Subance, Freezy, Messi, DBoy and Mac 11, the list would go on and on, he is the king of local productions.

He would continue relentlessly, sometimes voice a song or two on his own riddims. It would be an international collab on a local hit riddim released in 2014, originally titled the “Tanbou Nou Riddim” that would change the ‘Local Performer/Producer’ status, to an international one.

Motto’s active part on the local music scene would not only ensure an international audience, but would also foster the birth of a genre. Winter’s early days in the music scene was part of a movement which would then morph into what’s now internationally known as the Dennery Segment or Lucian Kuduro.

‘Bend Dong’ as a single would do well in St. Lucia and the diaspora. Motto’s entrepreneurial skills would, in 2016 earn him a remix to the mega hit ‘Bend Dong’, and a hit that would not only change his life, but put the ‘Dennery Segment/Lucian Kuduro’ movement on the map and finally cause a international attraction to St Lucia and St Lucia soca music .

Using that moment, the young entrepreneur would not only land another major remix of one of his local hits ‘Forcé aka Force it’, but would also garner the attention of Trinidad’s soca stars Patrice Roberts and Shal Marshall who would join other artists like  Lava Man, Hypa 4000, Problem Child and Mr. Legz on Motto’s 2017 repackaged album called the “Force It Riddim” who made a massive impact in carnival’s around the world and changing soca music forever with the new Lucian sound.

Winter had no intention of losing momentum after that. His collabs would further attract the attention of soca guru’s Machel Montano, Fay Ann Lyons, Skinny Fabulous & Bunji Garlin, who would engage the young producer and jump on his 2017/2018 hits ‘Pim Pim’ and ‘Gwada’ Riddims. Motto producing for these well-known names would help excel him further as an artist as well, producing hit songs on those same riddims, namely “Party Lit” ft. Lyrikal from Trinidad and “Shell Dong Dat” ft. Fadda Fox out of Barbados. His third hit 2017/2018 single would come off as a collab titled “Take Jamm” ft Shal Marshall, Hypa 4000 on the Soca Panda Riddim by Ransum Recordz out of St Lucia. Under the new company name ‘Team Foxx Music’, Motto would proceed under Ruby Jemm Entertainment’s management on a 2018 Trinidad Carnival promo tour, alongside the soca king Machel Montano and his team, helping Motto hit most of the major events during the carnival season, performing, entertaining and gaining thousands of fans along the way.

Motto’s success has taken him round the US, Canada, England,the Caribbean and for the first time this year, he is set to touch European countries like Ibiza in Spain and Berlin, Germany, performing his list of hits as his fan base continues to grow rapidly.

How long have you been involved
in the music industry?

As a producer, iIve been involved in  the music industry about nine years now and four years as a professional singer. I got into music when I migrated to the US, Brooklyn to be exact. I started off with absolutely no former experience, I didn’t come from a musical family or anything. I just decided to do it, so I got all software and spent about three years learning everything about music production, mixing and mastering, learning musical patterns, vocal training-so I’m pretty much self taught.

Why did you decide to start singing?

That shift came because I felt that I could do more for myself. I realized that everything that I was producing was doing very well at home in St Lucia so I debuted with the track Bend Down on the Reverb riddim. While at home the track did quite well, it did not have the impact internationally as I thought it would have. So, I decided to do a remix in 2016 with the collaboration of Problem Child and Mr. Legz and that’s when the song and by extension made a mark on the market as not only a producer but as a singer. Then in October 2016, I released the Force It which dominated the airwaves. We celebrate Creole Day in October so I released they track at that point then re-packaged it for Trinidad Carnival in 2017 with collaborations by Shal Marshall, Patrice Roberts, Problem Child, Mr. Legz. I was really happy because Trinidad really welcomed that type of music to the Soca fraternity.

What inspires you’re creativity?

What I create has to make me dance. A song idea had to make me move, when that happens I just zone out and the rest comes naturally. That’s how all my songs come to me. I don’t spend a lot of time writing, I don’t look to other tracks or other artistes. When the vibes comes to I just run with it.

So far what has been your favourite project?

My absolutely favourite would have to be the Pim Pim diddim with Machel Montano, Skinny Fabulous and myself. It’s a diddim that’s very universal. After I created it I really didn’t think anything of it so I just had in the vault. When Machel and Skinny Fabulous heard it they loved it. Then when I realized  how the song song dominated Carnival it made me see the power in it. There are elements in the beat that the region can relate to. Then when I traveled across Europe to various Carnivals and parties I saw the way people were enjoying the vibe of the song. So that’s what makes it my favorite project.

What can be expected for 2019?

Well, right now I’m promoting a new track called Pick Yuh Position which is my first release for the season. It’s a song featuring Skinny Fabulous on the ASAP riddim which was produced by myself and Slaughter Arts Media of St Lucia . The riddim is actually going to be an album featuring various artistes and is due for release next month. Other riddim albums like the ASAP riddim, Jammish riddim and Ole Ting riddim are to be expected soon the latter two being Groovy Soca projects. Although I’m not known for Groovy Soca tracks I decided to explore my talent to introduce a bit of variation in my catalogue. And Trinidad loves their groovy so I want to make that I have something for everyone.

What do love most about what you do?

I would to say traveling the world. I really enjoy seeing new places and experiencing new cultures. I always get influenced by the vibe that I experience personally. I love the way that Soca music is uniting everybody. I just came from the Uber Soca cruise where we traveled to Haiti and it was amazing to see everybody just coming together to have a great time.


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