‘This is my CD, these are my songs, praising my saviour, Still Standing Strong”.
COMING SOON Monday 29th February 2016 The words of the old hymn, “On Christ the solid rock I Stand”is the revelation for my survival and the preservation of my hope in Christ and His purpose for my life. Even when I could not see where I was going, or how it would turn out, somehow He kept His hand on me, guiding me mysteriously until I found myself in a place that felt and seemed familiar.
Still Standing Strong is album that virtually created itself. I did not set out to complete an album, I just enjoyed voicing and recording lyrics and over time my material built to the extent that I had enough to create album. In doing so, there were many more songs that could have been added and the track list has changed over time. But I feel that the collection is assembled with help from God so that it forms a complete story of my journey in itself. I read an article about Nina Simone today. It was called “To Be Free”, the Nina Simone story. What stood out for me was the quote that said “Nina Simone was as powerful and complex a person as the music she played. Nina defined her music herself, and titled it too! She called it “Black Classical Music” and it resists all definitions - that was the line for me in the piece (it resists all definitions). Its Jazz, rhythm and blues folk and gospel.
The Still Standing Strong material does not fall into the ‘typical’ bracket of the reggae gospel genre, in which it sits. It has been hard to define and the music is very diverse from track to track. In the making of the material, many well informed individuals offered their knowledge and expertise in terms of what might needed to be done to change, adjust, update etc the material and I truly respect their advice and opinions and yet, I also have to balance this with my inner convictions. As an artist, I have neither the desire nor capacity to replicate much of what I hear in my genre. I can only be me and do me, and believe that the Lord knows what He has given me, and the where’s, when’, why’s and how’s. Even if Still Standing Strong was not a commercial success bringing RTI back to me, I believe that it will be a ministerial success bringing glory to the kingdom of God, and edification to the hearers.
Music's legacy in my life January 13, 2015 It's hard to recollect a time in my life when music was not there. I grew up in a household of several brothers and sisters as well as my parents and they all had an appreciation for this amazing artform. God bless the days of having one TV in the house and only three channels. It meant that we all used to sit and watch Top of the Pops in the evenings (together) and hear what tracks were new, what was in the top 40 and who was at number one. Even the pop songs that sounded corny at the time, somehow are memorable tracks to me now and in my playlists. I don't think this is me just being sentimental or nostalgic, the music from back then has a certain quality to it that makes it worth listening to again and again. Born in 72, I had the privilege of growing up and hearing the sounds of Motown and that RnB era, the disco era, the funk era, (old school) hip hop, Ska, Reggae, Dancehall, Soul, Rare Groove, Lovers Rock. Acid, Garage, Jungle and the list goes on. Calypso and Soca etc. That is just the names of the genres without even mentioning the artists yet! As an artist now, I find that the presence of all these genre's are present in my music, and in a way it's feel right. It is as if I am honouring the legacy of all those artists who have gone before and created the amazing tapestry of what we have of a musical legacy today.
This is the second installment for my blog about fathers, as we move towards Fathers day. The second father figure in my life is a man of God, who mentored me and supported both my spiritual and social development. He did not grow up with his father and probably had to figure out a lot of things for himself, which makes his impact on me even more impressive.
I was privileged, at that time in my life, to have the input he gave, as what I gleaned from my natural father was more based on his example, principles and ethics, rather than what was actually said. What I did not receive was the intellectual development.
It is only as we grow that we become aware of the true value of things and also about what things are indeed important in life. I think that there are large numbers of people who grow up, as it were, without a guide. We have to try and work things out ourselves. Sometimes this means making several mistakes, which could have been avoided, if only someone was there to tell us and teach us. When someone does take the time to deposit into your life, what he or she is doing is increasing your capacity and value. This is what this spiritual father did for me. It is undeniable that I have benefited from his input and I remain grateful to God for what he used to do in my life.
Where your father perhaps was absent, God is able to place another male in your life, who will take a genuine interest in you and support your growth and development.
Here comes a song which celebrates the role and function of fathers. From my perspective, similarly as with men in general, the role of fathers seems to be hard to sum up and yet the absence of fathers seems to be so detrimental upon our society. I have had 3 father figures in my life and each of them have left positive and indelible contributions. In this blog I want to briefly share about the first figure, my (natural/birth) father. He is a man who I have grown to respect immensely, simply for the person he is. His values and ethics, his strength in the face of his own disappointments and adversities. His example of contentment with his own lot in life and his limitless generosity towards others; even to those who were neither kind nor generous towards him. He is an amputee, having lost both his legs through health complications, but he still stands taller than many. He is illiterate (so says the dictionary) but he is wiser than so many. In conclusion, you will notice that the title of this blog is called 'Fatherless'. This is not because I am without a father, but because 1) I realise how unfortunate I would be if I had not had his example to follow 2) I hope that those who read these words and relate to the title would either find encouragement in what they too experienced or find hope in this and the next 2 blogs on this theme.
Does ministry have to be forfeited at the cost of entertainment. Is it possible to be built up spiritually while enjoying yourself. Is this something that we should be seeking to do as believers. Or is this just being over spiritual?
The entertainment industry is booming on so many fronts. Music, video, music videos, movies, IPlayers, IPhones, On Demand services. Smart phones, tablets, Kindles and the list goes on. So many things that seek to secure our attention. While these items are fast becoming necessities, even the necessary devices are carrying elements of entertainment.
Greater emphasis is now being placed on entertainment and its place in modern society, probably than ever before. How should we as Christians view this (need of/place for entertainment in our lives)? What should our attitude be towards what is presented to us and before us?
I find the words of (Sir/Lord JOHN REITH, 1889-1971; Managing director, BBC 1922-1926), worthy of a mention here. Reith summarized the BBC's purpose in three words: 1) educate, 2) inform, 3) entertain. (Notice the order of function).
Lord Reith also went on to say. "He who prides himself on giving what he thinks the public wants is often creating a fictitious demand for low standards which he will then satisfy".
Entertainment in this time seems to be increasingly mingled with frivolity. Vanity of vanities might well be befitting here. It seems to be empty and void of anything beneficial or meaningful. So much of it is contrary to godliness and the wholesome words of Jesus. Paul tackled this issue masterfully in 1Cor 10. Why not have a read of it and tell me what you think?
When I completed the Flesh War project, I did it more so in obedience to God and because of my own challenges, however the more that I think and meditate on this message, the more that I see it's relevance. Christians are not the only ones preaching. In fact the world is daily preaching. The media, the movies, pop culture is preaching. They are all delivering a message, a code of conduct and a lifestyle. I have friends that are not Christians, who are also saying the same things to me. Then on the other hand I have Christian friends who ain't saying anything. This society is disintegrating from a moral standpoint, and we all just seem to be just going about our daily lives; business as usual. I know that is not the case, but there is a seriously loud silence that is present in this present culture. Can you hear it?
In writing this blog I am reminded of the story "The Emperors New Clothes". Without going into the depths of the story, it is ultimately about how people firstly put up a facade and then keep it there even when they know (and know that others know) it is not real. Ever since the fall of man in the garden we have been putting on our emperors clothes of fig leaves. This is the sentiment that the prophet expresses in Isaiah 28:20. Most people prefer to be pretend over being real. Often when you are real people can't handle it, they get offended, misunderstand you or (mis) judge you. Often this is because they are more comfortable living in the fictious than facing the facts - after all that's easier to do......for some. But there are some people who want to be at one with who they are within, as well as with who they are to the outside world. Are you one of them, or are you still walking in the emporers fictitious clothes?