As we sit down to talk about life, soca and, in particular, his new album, you cannot help but notice the tall, elegant and masculine stature of Grenadian artist Lesly ‘Brother B’ Modeste. With a mystifying, calm aura, smooth, coffee-coloured skin and teeth like piano keys, in the animal kingdom he would easily be a black panther or jaguar. It’s no wonder the girls go wild when he hits the stage.
Over the years, Brother B has consistently delivered big hits, including Whine And Go Down, St Marks Day and Ah Little Wine. Full of talent, 2020 is about to see him unleash some of his most meaningful songs to date.
Proudly born and bred in St. Mark’s Parish, Modeste’s stage name stems from when his older brother, who at age two desperately wanted a brother, was so excited at Lesly’s birth that he wouldn’t stop saying, “Brother, brother” all day. The ‘B’ was added by a community who described a bold and brave manner. Modeste expressed to me how the locals could see his talent from a young age, and would tell him, “You’re gonna make it.” His endless passion for music would especially lead him to make songs to uplift his village, he says, because it was considered ‘grampor’, meaning poor. This spurred him on to fight against the odds – and to highlight his village through his music.
Currently in London to record and shoot videos for the upcoming album, Lesly tells of his 13 years in the soca arena. This year, he says he’s especially “Heavily motivated with a boost of inspiration to do great things again.”
“We are all here to do something great and it’s important to call upon the creator; we have the secret inside ourselves so the human side of things should never phase you.” Stating that he always likes to “keep it real”, it’s from this moral and spiritual stance that the title of the album Complete stems. The title is a direct reflection of how he feels at this stage in life. He says, “Who am I fighting? I’m not fighting anyone. At one time I really wanted to be popular, but now I feel growth. It’s a journey. With everything I have done and achieved, all the places I have been and all my blessings, right now I feel complete.”
Modeste has also tried to capture the different styles of soca. As he says, “You have your jump up and whine crew, jab jab crew etc, so I want to give them a piece of everything.” He explains of the song Fighter that it reflects that the music arena is not an easy one, it’s not all smiles and acceptance. He’s never been one for following the crowd, saying, “If you follow a crowd, who’s leading it?” He prefers to be an individual, staying true to himself.
The song Behind The Truck is about Brother B making the people that have grown up around him and his fans feel happy. There’s also a collaboration on the album with Guyanese artist ACE, with a song about their wonderful Caribbean cultures. The song entitled Legends Tribute speaks for itself, as Modeste pays homage to all the Grenadian greats who have passed; they may be gone, but they’re not forgotten.
Always conscious of his lyrics, Modeste says, “It’s not always about the sexual innuendos; plenty artists believe it sells more music.” Complete reflects his growth and maturity and his now being at one with himself – something that is more than evident in his company. His spirit exudes warmth, love and peacefulness, making him a great ambassador for Grenada and soca music. One thing is for sure: Brother B is in a league of his own.
Follow Brother B on instagram.com/brotherb11