Prayer Warrior' takes JCDC gospel title
Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
On Sunday, Keneisha Smith's Prayer Warrior song was adjudged the winner of the 2014 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Gospel Song Competition, and her road to victory amounts to a great testimony.
Briefly put, her father is a practising deejay and a sound system operator, and she has performed with him on several occasions, before giving her life to the Lord. But Smith, who loves her father dearly, wanted to continue performing with him. "So mi say yuh know what God, mi still want to sing with daddy but mi want to do reggae gospel. And then He gave me, 'I am a prayer warrior for the Lord'."
The song made its way to the 2014 Jamaica Gospel Song Competition. And at the national final, with a large house in tow, it was selected as the winning song and received the sectional prize for Best Lyrics. Smith was also adjudged the Best Performer for her electrifying and energetic execution style.
Second place went to Orville Sutherland's Cool Shade, while Adrian Dell's Blessed and Highly Favoured was awarded the third-best gospel song for 2014.
Other winners of the evening were Aneisha Walker, who won the People's Choice Award (A recording single courtesy of Music Business Technology Trainers) and Anischa Sinclair received the Spirit of Praise Ward. The latter was selected by the contestants themselves.
Well supported by backing band Evolu-tian, and vocalists In One A-Chord, as their backup singers, the finalists including Stacy Ann Brooks-Kristos, Chavan Nelson, Jerome Welch and the group Servants, gave great renditions and interpretations of songs from a list of popular Jamaican gospel artistes, in segment one.
A change in costumes for all, including emcee Markland 'Action' Edwards and members of the band, the contestants returned to perform their original songs. They wooed the judges with optimum use of space and energetic gestures. However, a few tried too hard and instead produced screeches, unlike the melodious sounds that emanated from the CD.
Joan Flemming's set
Later, as the judges deliberated, Joan Flemming, the guest artiste for the event, took the audience to church. No spoken testimony, the veteran vocalists delivered songs such as He Will Guide Me and He's My Conqueror. She was brought back to the stage twice by Edwards and still maintaining her get-up-and-dance momentum, performed Its Gonna Bring a Bam, Bam and Maasa God ah God.
As programmed, Smith performed once more as the winner. She was joined by the other contestants who, in a show of solidarity, also sang solo parts of Prayer Warrior. She later described the relationship with her fellow contestants as a good one. "Honestly I love them so much. I pray for them daily. Yes I may have won this year, but God is going to bless them before the year ends. This is not a normal year for any of us who entered the competition and they will see the manifestation in their investment in the Kingdom of God," declared the member of the Holiness Christian Fellowship Church.
The 2013 Jamaica Gospel Song winner Howard Brown completed the line-up of performers on the uplifting gospel show.