A Long Way from His Boy Band Past
by Imogen Reed
He has come a long way since his time in the 1990’s boy band, Lo’Profile, and with the release of his album ‘Lifeology 101’ Winston is setting out his stall as a serious artist, with a voice full of soul. He describes his music as “a fusion of smooth hip hop beats and harmonic R&B.” If that is the kind of music you are after this record certainly does not disappoint. The cleanly structured tracks are not a million miles away from his Lo'Profile roots, but there is something much stronger and more sincere in the music. It speaks in volumes from life experience and this gives the record much greater gravitas; a real inner energy which takes some time to access, but is rewarding when you get there. This is a record that you can sink back into your favourite leather sofa and listen to without wanting skip a single track.
Lo’Profile to high ambition
There is no doubt that his experience with Lo’Profile was a defining moment in the career of Winston Warrior. As a result of being part of the band he was projected into the limelight through a couple of big hits and then major tour dates with Queen Latifah and Mary J Blige. The ephemeral flame of the band was, as is all too often the case, quickly expunged and discarded by the record label. Once the band hit trouble and the record company decided to discontinue with them Winston realized just how little control he had over his career. “When the forces of circumstance took away the deal that we had on the table we had nothing. We didn’t even own our name,” he recalls.
Turned to education
Disillusioned Winston turned his back on the music industry to focus on his education. He successfully completed a business degree and began work with the intention of becoming a corporate hot shot, but the lure of the studio proved too strong and he came back to making music, older, wiser and with more soul. He co-wrote all of the material on the album which was a lesson learned from his earlier experiences in the music industry. He described being in a boyband as being like drones so this time around he wanted to ensure the music was an expression of himself
On his album notes he states, “This isn’t a fairytale. This is my story. What took years to create, and an instant to destroy...”. He is investing much of his life experience into this record with the expectation that he will tell a story, and relate a tale which needs to be heard. And certainly this is what you get. The music is detailed and intelligent. It sounds and feels much bigger than an independent production. It comes from a team who obviously know how to extract the full depth and breadth from a studio.
'Keep Movin' is the defining track on the album
The album opens with "Keep movin," a track Winston describes as his anthem; a description of how he lives his life. “I put it on the album first because it really talks about my story and I think it could inspire other people.” Indeed if you follow his YouTube blog that has preceded the release you can see that he is a man full of focus and drive, constantly working on all aspects of his music. Despite the elevating buoyancy in his soulful voice he continues to use voice coaching to ensure every note is delivered to perfection. He describes all the tracks on the album as his favourite but "Keep Movin" is his inspiration.
The album develops slowly with the next few tracks; "Winner," "Walk with you," and "Elevator" each of which demonstrate a melodic simplicity that is the essence of good easy listening music. They are more than just inoffensive background music and withstand rewinding and listening again. The album really picks up with tracks like "Crossroads" and "Willing 2 work 4 it." Within the music and composition there are clear evidences of influences like Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross. Particularly in the debut single which has reached 35 in the billboard charts, not bad for someone making it by themselves who they claimed was too old to be of any interest to a major record label.