Nadine Blair:keeping the gospel in the media
This year is incredibly significant for Nadine Blair. She is celebrating 25 years in media, 40 years in gospel music, and turns 50.
"It's an amazing thing. I look back and I am blessed to be here to be present to be in my right mind," she told The WEEKEND STAR.
As a broadcaster on LOVE 101 FM, a regularly booked emcee and an active participant in Jamaica's gospel music industry, Blair, who leads the gospel group Perpetual Praise, has dedicated the greater part of her life to ministry through media, and has been reaping the benefits.
"In 2000 I was at church leading worship and a deacon came up to me and touch me on the shoulder, and said praise and worship is finished," she told The WEEKEND STAR. Blair said that she felt like she was suspended in a moment, as she was just getting started. "I know I have something else to give," she said, recalling those feelings 16 years ago. Then the question came to her, by way of what she believes to be God's voice asking "Why don't you have an extended night of worship?"
"I sat on that idea until about November 2001. Then, I went to Dub Awards Week where Michael W Smith came out with his worship album, and I thought 'where I have seen this before?'", she said. It wasn't until March 2002, that Blair has decided to approach Reverend Al Miller and ask for use of his church, Fellowship Tabernacle for an extended praise and worship session. "And he said ok no problem!"
This saw the birth of the chorale group Perpetual Praise, a collective of mentorship, growth and performance. Now, Blair and Perpetual Praise enjoy international accolades and attention as a gospel music group. Kevin Downswell, Judith Gayle and DJ Nicholas are among some the current top gospel artistes who have served as members of Perpetual Praise.
Blair told The WEEKEND STAR that years ago, she took on the responsibility of arranging the bookings, rehearsal time and even recruitment. This is now done by a committee, headed by her sister Novia.
The group only has four original songs and the broadcaster would like them to do more - to serve as na historical account of their constant evolution. Two of their original songs, Latter Rain and Send Me, have been nominated for The Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards 2016. "When asked how she balances work with performing with Perpetual Praise, she laughed then paused thoughtfully. "I don't know - God."
"What I do for my work, it ties in with what I do with my ministry. Fortunately, because of where I work, it's a nice marriage," Blair told The WEEKEND STAR. "What I do on radio is ministry," she said, indicating that her day job is not 'just that', but also complements her faith and her works. "I have not gone anywhere and not had someone tell me that my prayers in the morning are a blessing."
Each morning, between 5 and 6 a.m. live on air for about nine minutes, Blair takes time, offering unsolicited words of prayer for her listeners. "My sister called me and said you need to pray for the people and help them command their day," she told The WEEKEND STAR. "People are so busy, they don't get a chance to pray."