Fed by a marching band 600 members strong, Dontae Winslow meant business. Seven area high-school bands joined Missouri Southern State University’s marching band on Sept. 3 to accompany Winslow for the debut performance of the song “300 Trumpets Hit the Sky.”
The single was released on iTunes later that evening, capping a busy 48 hours of work to make it possible, said Brian Fronzaglia, director of athletic bands.
“We went into the recording studio at Victory (Ministry & Sports Complex) to record individual tracks, and then record our full band the next night,” he said. “The mass band performance was recorded and after halftime was over, we sent the recording off for some final touches and the single dropped that night.”
It marked Winslow’s second collaboration with the Missouri Southern band, after performing with them during a 2014 halftime show.
An accomplished jazz musician, Winslow has worked with artists such as Justin Timberlake (included as part of the band for the singer’s “20/20 Experience World Tour”), Jill Scott, Christina Aguilera, Lauren Hill, Common and Snoop Dogg. As a producer/songwriter/arranger, he has worked with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and Keyshia Cole, among others.
He recently performed on and arranged the horn parts for Dr. Dre’s new album, “Compton,” which serves as the soundtrack to the hit film “Straight Outta Compton.”
“I was inspired by the movie ‘300,’” said Winslow of the song he composed. “I wanted it to be a story of sacrifice that uses the culture elements of marching band style, jazz, classical music and R&B gospel mixed with hip-hop/trap music.
“I wanted the words to be uplifting and inspiring , to help kids believe in themselves. I know how hard it was for me to struggle to make it where I am today.”