Gospel Spotlight : No J'cans in Reggae Gospel Music

October 07, 2016
Jermaine Edwards
Jermaine Edwards
Jermaine Edwards

Jermaine Edwards, popular Jamaican gospel artiste-turned-label executive doesn't see the value in submitting local gospel music material for international awards consideration.

The list of this year's nominees for the Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards uncovered a stark absence of Jamaicans from the Reggae Vocal Performance of the Year category.

"It's not that we are not being picked. It's there being nothing to pick from," Edwards told The WEEKEND STAR. "It's not popping like it used to be. How the Marlin Awards work, you have to submit your songs via 10 CDs."

Edwards explained that the songs are sent for people to review, and based on quality and decisions from the board of people, a selection process takes place. "You haffi pay some entrance somethin' and pay the FedEx cost. Then if you get

nominated, you have to deal with your own hotel and stuff."

Held bi-annually, The Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards is a celebration in honour of the region's outstanding gospel music contributors. It was once called The Bahamian Gospel Music Marlin Awards but expanded in 2000 to include other Caribbean countries and recognise other genres of Caribbean music. This year, awards will be distributed in more than 40 categories, including New Artist of the Year, Producer of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year. Songwriters, producers, engineers, managers, and other industry professionals are expected to attend a full weekend of events in February 2017, which will include the Marlin Summit, the Marlin Fest and Concert, and the hosting of the Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards ceremony.

Contrary to Edwards' claim of Jamaicans' disinterest, 29 of this year's 41 categories include Jamaican gospel artistes. They have garnered consideration in many of the genres of music recognised by the awards committee, including Dancehall Recording of the Year, Hip Hop Recording of the Year, and Calypso/Soca Recording of the Year. Jamaican nominees include Carlene Davis, Papa San, Nadine Blair, Lynette, Gray Patch, Glacia Robinson, Chris Da Ambassador, and Adiel Thomas & Ministry.

"I entered in 2010, I think, and won the most awards for the overall categories - Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Producer, Male Vocalist, Songwriter, and other stuff. But after that, I had no interest in submitting any. Mi have 'bout 10 on my TV stand."


Island Worship


Instead of submitting material to awards committees, Edwards is busy at the helm of the Island Worship record label. First to sign with Island Worship was Rondell Positive. Other acts under the care of Edwards' label are his group iWorship; young singer Christina Roshay; the evangelical Kevin Heath; and newcomer, just a few months signed, Ray Soul.

"A compilation coming next month with all label signees," the label exec said. "Dah one yah a go be a very big one. We have some big things in the pipeline," he continued, mentioning a major event in December, though he was tight-lipped on the details. All he would say was that it would be "the ultimate experience".

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