Leading Vincentian artistes and community figures have been paying glowing tribute to Vincentian Cultural Ambassador Winston Soso, otherwise known as “The Rolls Royce of Calypso,” who died on Sunday morning, July 18.
Evan Lockhart, Soso’s son confirmed to Caribbean Life on Monday that his dad died at State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center and University Hospital of Brooklyn.
Top Vincentian calypsonian and fellow Cultural Ambassador Alston “Becket” Cyrus, renowned as the “ABC of Calypso,” also told Caribbean Life on Monday that Soso, whose legal name was Trevor Winston Lockhart, died a few days after his 69th birthday.
Becket said Soso, who was “one of the top soca artists in the world,” had “a long and valiant battle with illness.”
He said Soso, also a former national football (soccer) goalkeeper in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was the composer and performer of his signature “I Doh Mind”, “one of the greatest soca hits of all time.”
Becket noted that Soso had many other big hits, including “How Some Men Love Dey Women,” also called “Big Bottom”; “Ah Feel to Party Tonight,” “Rude Girl Posse, “Come Ley We Go in The Back and Fool Around,” “Congratulations,” “Don’t Throw Stones” and “Too Much Corruption.”
Soso was made a goodwill, cultural ambassador by the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in November 2014, Becket said.
“Nicknamed the ‘Rolls Royce’ by his numerous fans and many radio jocks, Winston was a dynamic performer,” Becket said. “He performed in all of the major soca countries in the world.”
He said Soso was “an outstanding member” of the defunct Clymax band in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for which “he penned and voiced the mega hit, ‘Dianne.’”
Calypsonian Cyril N. “Scorcher” Thomas, also a Vincentian cultural ambassador and former Deputy St. Vincent and the Grenadines Consul General to New York, said Soso was “a patriot in every sense of the word.
“In sports, music or national fundraising, he was front and center — always ready to give, always ready to serve, also never had a negative thing to say about anyone,” Thomas told Caribbean Life.
“When he could lend a helping hand, he did it freely and willingly,” he added. “Soso loved SVG (St. Vincent and the Grenadines). He had a special place in his heart for the island of his birth.”
Thomas said that, in 1986, he, Soso and Becket, along with calypsonians Cauldric Forbes and the late Walter Porter, formed St. Vincent and the Grenadines Entertainers Guild of North America — “a group that fostered the musical aspirations of young Vincentian artistes here in the Diaspora.
“The more experienced artistes would share their knowledge with the youngsters to guide them through the cutthroat labyrinth of show business,” Thomas said. “Many young artistes benefited from that altruistic venture, and SVG became a household name in the international world of music.”
Carlos “Rejector” Providence, president of the Brooklyn-based Dynamites Calypso Tent, the lone Vincentian calypso tent in the US, said that “it is with profound sadness the Dynamites Calypso Tent New York extend condolences to the family, friends, fans and the calypso fraternity on the passing of one of our own performers and standard-bearer, most humble and venerable icon, Mr. Winston Soso.
“We pray God will strengthen his family in this time and accept him into the place of eternal peace,” Providence, president of the Dynamites Calypso Tent, told Caribbean Life.
Hailes Castello, a New York-based Vincentian calypsonian, entertainer and disc jockey, said he had “admired” Soso from a young age and even tried to imitate his singing style “but could never duplicate it.”
Castello said he had shared the stage with Soso at many venues in North America and in the Caribbean.
Earl Bennett, president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Calypso Association, said St. Vincent and the Grenadines has lost “another gem in the person of Trevor Lockhart, aka (also known as) Winston Soso.
“His sweet, smooth and melodic voice rightfully earned him the name Rolls Royce,” he said. “’Sos’, as he was also popularly and affectionately known, contributed significantly to the musical and cultural landscapes of SVG and the wider world.”
In June 2020, an informal Brooklyn-based group calling itself the “Friends of Winston Soso” stated a GoFundMe page, appealing for community support for Soso, who had suffered a minor stroke and was on dialysis treatment.
The all-Vincentian “Friends” comprised Allan Doyle, owner of San Souci Studio in Brooklyn; Adrian Bailey, a renowned Vincentian musician; and Laverne Munroe, a retired registered nurse.
Stanley “Luxy” Morris, a Vincentian sports ambassador, said Soso was his captain and goalkeeper in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Football Team, and was very good friend.
“Soso was one of our very best custodians, bar none,” said Morris, a former captain and manager of Team SVG in the Brooklyn-based Caribbean Soccer Cup, adding that Soso was also “the custodian” for the newly-formed Avenues United (soccer team in St. Vincent and the Grenadines), and that Soso rendered his goal keeping services to the National Football Team from 1972 to 1976.
Marva Cato, Soso’s very close friend, who lives in Beachmont, Kingstown, the Vincentian capital, told Caribbean Life that she had trekked to New York, for five weeks, to visit Soso while he was hospitalized, and that she had last seen him two days before his demise.
Cato said she departed New York on July 17 only to receive the sad news early the next day that Soso had passed.
“It’s a loss to me,” said Cato about Soso, who was born on July 14, 1952. “We visited each other. Even though it was a long-distance relationship, we look forward to the time that we had with each other.
“I was sorry to see him suffering the way he did,” she added. “But God has a plan for all of us.
“Though we will miss him, we know he’s out of all pain and suffering,” Cato continued. “We cannot forget him. His legacy will always remain with us, and we have to cherish what he has left with us.”
Evan, said he was “numbed, to be honest,” about his dad’s passing.
“I was the only one at home taking care of him,” he said. “I saw him battle kidney failure, prostate cancer, multiple heart attacks and respiratory failure. The cards were dealt against him. I felt I had to watch a final war that I knew he will never win.”
Soso was the only child for his mother, Olive Lockhart, who migrated to Trinidad and Tobago, when Soso was a teenager.
Soso had many other children to cherish is memory.
Evan said funeral arrangements are yet to be finalized.