Minister Blessed not 'chicken' about winning souls
Believe it or not, before the gospel music industry knew him as Minister Blessed, Matthew Blake went by the name The Anointed Chicken.
But his gospel music is no joke. Since 2005, Blake has been winning souls. His performance and song-writing career began when he was still a teenager.
"While attending Wolmer's Boys' School, my peers noticed that I loved to eat chicken right throughout the day, every day," Blake told THE WEEKEND STAR. "I used to write songs about how much I loved chicken." Soon, Blake had the nickname Chicken. Still in high school, Blake became involved with a performance crew called The Blessed Group. The group eventually dissipated due to the members migrating.
"The group had become so popular that I was still getting calls to do events. It became weird for me to be at events and be announced as 'The Blessed Group' when it was me alone going on the stage," he said. His long-time nickname and the fact that he was a born-again Christian spawned The Anointed Chicken name. But he went with Minister Blessed, stemming from his former group's name. Like many Jamaican gospel performers established in the late '90s and early 2000s, Blakes was motivated by the conversions of dancehall artistes like Papa San and Stitchie. He said the conversion from secular to gospel opened his eyes to music as a tool for ministry as opposed to mere performance and entertainment.
Minister Blessed recently concluded his successful celebratory concert trilogy. Blake, in partnership with friend and US-based gospel artiste Sean Lypher, held the third event, We A Come From Far: The Grand Finale, last Saturday night at the Covenant Life Christian Church.
"This event was a testimony depicting our struggles and successes in the music industry and the Christian journey and is relatable to our colleagues and fellow believers who are also coming from far in their own way", Blake told THE WEEKEND STAR. The concert experience began in October 2014, planned by Blake to celebrate his birthday. The event was held at Chaser's CafÈ in New Kingston. The following year, Blake partnered with Lypher to host a second concert. That one was held at CafÈ Bamboo. This year, performers were supported by a live band.
"The live-band experience brought it to a new level. We were able to connect with the audience on a more intimate and dynamic level," he said. The event featured Christina Roshay, Deejay Sticko, ZJ Venus and Florida-based gospel artiste O2DR (Ordinary).