Sat | Mar 17, 2018

Humble start for Jamaica-born R&B artiste

Published:Wednesday | June 15, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Kerissa Spencer
Kerissa Spencer
Kerissa Spencer

Kerissa Spencer's story is one of humble beginnings, sorrow and joy.

Her mom, Odetta Sophia Williams (Charmaine), gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in April 1998 in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Like many young, single mothers, Charmaine was determined to provide the best for her daughter.

Charmaine, a phenomenal singer and songwriter, introduced Spencer to a wide genre of music and artistes, including the likes of Tupac Shakur, Beres Hammond and Luther Vandross.

Spencer's career started as early as six years old, when she started writing poems. She entered and won the teen competition for Miss Ocho Rios and Miss St Ann, Jamaica.

Sadly, Spencer's mother passed when she was 12 years old. It left her devastated and heartbroken, but being part of a strong Jamaican family, she was expected to deal with it.

However, no one saw the scars it left on her. Of course, those feelings came out in other areas of her life and she became rebellious.

Spencer became pregnant at age 15 and it became a mission of three family friends to get her to Canada to be with her dad, who had married and emigrated to Toronto.

Spencer's life in Jamaica was taking her down a bad road. Being with her biological dad, was her only way out, or so they thought.

She arrived in Canada pregnant, cold, hungry, broke and even more broken. Life with her dad was very hard and though he loved her, his new family was unable to bear the burden of taking care of a teenager who was pregnant and needed plenty of resources. During her first year in Canada, the only thing that kept her going was her music.

She escaped the hardships by signing at a community center to pursue her music and focused on having her baby, her dreams and making her mother proud. When things could not get any worse for Spencer, she found out her baby was born with a hole in her heart and had to have heart surgery.

By God's grace, she made it through and has written, recorded and released her first single, All Night. Spencer is currently in studio working on her debut CD.

She entered Toronto's Rising Star in April 2015, performed at York University in Toronto, Canada, and at Kingston Music Week 2015.

In February 2016, Kerissa audition for The Voice and travelled to Washington, DC to record her single, Turn Off The Lights.