Marion Hall - Motherhood and Ministry
"My Jesus walks on water. My Jesus calms the sea. He's a healer and a restorer - just take one look at me. Just look at me!"
This is a line from one of the songs from Minister Marion Hall's upcoming album. Formerly known as 'Lady Saw', she has taken a new lease on life and is gearing up to minister to the masses.
"On December 14, 2015, in my room in my house, I heard when the Lord said, 'Evangelist Hall'. I was back and forth in the room, talking to the Lord and the Lord talking to me, saying, 'You are now my servant who will be ministering on my behalf.' So that's what I'm doing," she recalled to The Sunday Gleaner.
Those who miss her music can rest assured that more is coming and must come to terms with the fact that that content is being motivated by God. "I'm ministering on His behalf. I'm His minister, His servant, His vessel. Wherever He sends me, I'll go," she said.
Since committing her life to God, the former dancehall star has returned to Jamaica, where she kicks off the promotion of her latest album, His Grace.
"The first album, thank God for it. I think He was giving me a taste of what was to come because this album is country, bluesy, a little mento and praise and worship. It's a powerful album. I love it."
I'm Gonna Fast, the first single from the 15-track project, was released on Friday. "This song is not a typical gospel song - it's not a gospel song. It's a fun song for single ladies in the Church. It is fun, bluesy, and country. It's like Alabama blues. It's a song about women - as soon as them get saved, they want a husband. I went to church with it a few times, and it tek off inna di church!" she said.
As is customary for the performer, she laid out a few lines.
"I'm gonna fast and I'm gonna pray.
I'm gonna ask God to send the right man my way.
He should be anointed, and filled with the Holy Ghost,
One of God's appointed - fellas, you better take note!"
The freshly minted gospel singer has already visualised a video concept for the single. "The ladies would be under these old-time hair dryers, reading magazines with the curlers in their hair and the man dem all dapperly dressed, just fashion out. Even for a poolside scene, I'm thinking we should have some cotton dresses in yellow, pink, white, blue - some long glasses of fruit punch with coloured straws."
Hall was very excited and animated as she spoke about the album she has been working on for the past two years. "I put all the hard drives in a pretty bag, and I just leave it there. But sometimes, God starts moving you to a different place because He wants you to do some things. I didn't decide to put it out. I was working on it before, but God wanted it now," she said adamantly.
She delivered some lyrics from another song called I Gave It All Up, singing a capella her favourite verse:
"I gave up on the Devil because the Devil is a liar.
I gave up on him because he wanted to sit in the seat of the Messiah.
I gave up on him because he wanted to stop my praise, my worship and my prayer.
I gave up on him because he couldn't give me my true heart's desire.
And since I gave up on him, I'm connected to the holy raging fire."
Dancehall vs Gospel
Hall explained that Christianity was her saving grace. "Without His mercy, I don't know where I'd be. Maybe I would have been locked up. Maybe I would have been on a stage and say something like what I have stored up. Maybe I would kill somebody, or somebody would kill me," Marion told The Sunday Gleaner.
Though she has put the dance hall life behind her, there are lessons learnt that inform her approach to her restored life today.
"When I was Lady Saw, I was quick to bite. As soon as somebody say something, I attack. Maybe it was pride. I couldn't leave it alone and let it pass. But now, I realise I'm a different person. The way I used to write in dancehall, I don't think about it because my mind doesn't go back there. I haven't heard a song from then - because I haven't listened to radio, I don't listen to TV, so I don't have no information. I make myself available to connect to God."
She recalled a creative process that was hinged on chain-smoking. "That's what I used to do, what really got me there. But now, I think about God and it's easy. I don't have to write them. They just come to you; God just speaks to you. I could make album after album. It's so easy," she said.
In writing dancehall music, the singer used to hide her books from her children. "I used to hide my books and pray they wouldn't get into it, but now, I can just leave everything out. It's good to be around children and not have to worry about what they'll hear and say."
Family life and motherhood
Last year, on Mother's Day, one of Hall's daughters joined her mother in the faith. "It was the best day of my life!" She explained that her children's reaction to her transition has been positive. "They talk about it, saying since I did what I did, there's a calm in here," she told The Sunday Gleaner. Hall has raised three children, including a niece who is now in the sciences and one daughter, who is a doctor, both living in the United States.
During the interview, Hall was continuously bombarded by her young nephew Sheldon and grandson, Khaleem. Despite his relation, Sheldon copies his younger cousin and has taken up the practice of calling her 'Grandma'.
"Dem just respectful. When I come home, dem respectful of me inna di place. When them hear mi a get loud up deh, and dem hear tongues - when the Spirit tek ova - dem know seh she doing what she doing."