Lashon Brathwaite was only 11 years old when he was inspired by his cousin and decided to try his hand at playing the drums. It was actually this decision which set him on the course to becoming the professional drummer he always dreamed of being.
The 20-year-old told Bajan Vibes he was so captivated by his cousin it was the one thing which helped him to focus while attending church.
“My older cousin Daveny Brathwaite was the person who inspired me to want to play the drums. He played on Sundays at the Brereton New Testament Church of God; I would see him play and watching him play was the only thing that helped me as a young child to focus in church and not do stuff that would result in ‘licks’.
He added: “Daveny taught me to play drums. He put aside a day a week and helped me through the basics until I got it on my own and could begin to learn for myself. I also gained even more knowledge coming up through secondary school under Lowrey Worrells.”
Lashon has an Associate Degree in Music from the Barbados Community College (BCC). He credits the tutelage of ace musician Roger Gittens for guiding and helping him to attain the degree. He also speaks of others whom he is influenced by and who have played a part, directly or indirectly, in his musical journey.
“My influences locally came from Petra Welch and James De Lovell, who I had the honour of being tutored by as I proceeded through the music programme at BCC. Some international drummers that I admire are Sean Wright for his incredible language around the kit, Sarah Thawyer in how diverse she can be and how she flavours the different genres and Matt McGuire who brings a sort of new age feel to the scene.”
The former Christ Church Foundation School student said that throughout secondary school his subjects of choice were sciences and music. He studied music under the head of the music programme as well as other well-known musicians.
Lashon confessed that he has a strong preference for funk music. “I like funk because of the energy and the heavy back beat groove and strangely enough, I also like to manipulate it as odd time grooves as well.”
And although Lashon has not as yet created any original music, he has done and continues to do covers specifically over tracks made for drummers which he posts on Instagram and other social media channels.
“My musical goal is to develop amazing feel while grooving and being locked in with anyone I’m performing with as well as to have incredible language in my instrument. I also want to bring something new and unique to the table.”
The drummer has performed at the National Cultural Foundation’s (NCF) Pan Fusion and also We Gatherin’ event specifically in St Lucy. Popular artistes he has had the pleasure of performing with include Hashim Durant, Mylon Clarke, Ch’An, just to name a few.
Lashon is a member of the musical youth band Altered 5th. “Altered 5th was born from the Ricky Brathwaite ensemble which I joined in my final year of the programme. As students, it was a class, but then we wondered about being a band. We got the opportunity to give it a test run outside of BCC at the Mosaic show held at the Frank Collymore Hall through our pannist Judah Goddard. We believed that what we felt on stage, performing with each other, could go so much further.
He explained: “The band was formed and the name Altered 5th chosen. Altered 5th is a musical term for a chord and fittingly the band has five members. The band members are: Jazz Gittens on keyboard, Elyan Gordon on bass, Zukeli Innis on saxophone, Judah on steel pan and myself on drums and occasionally, you would see pianist Danielle Brathwaite and bass player Gavin Millar.”
While he enjoys his times with the band, becoming the musician he dreams to be has not been an easy journey. “I have to constantly believe in myself. I took the leap of faith to do what I do today. It is by no means an easy road because it will test everything about you on a regular basis, from your confidence to your patience, all the way to the will to keep pushing.”
He continued: “My advice to anyone wanting to become a musician is that there will be plenty of challenges ahead of you, but nothing is impossible. If you really want it and you’re willing to put in the necessary work, you can accomplish it. The only thing between a dream and reality is the work you put in to make it your reality.”
Lashon believes, though, that in order for present-day and future generations of musicians to thrive, opportunities in the music industry must be created. “I honestly believe we have many amazing individuals with amazing talent whether it be natural or gained over time. But, in Barbados, there aren’t a lot of opportunities where people get the chance or feel comfortable enough to showcase their talents. I also believe the music industry can be a lot better and more stable than where it is this present day.”
The musician confessed that his second career choice would be that of a veterinarian simply because he loves animals.
Lashon said he likes to spend quality time with his closest friends. He attends various events, preferably those that have live bands. He also enjoys going to the beach and even practicing.
“I live to make every moment matter and to cherish them. I aim to be happy in everything I do; to be authentic and be myself. I strive to always be positive and kind,” the drummer said. (IMC)