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RUURAL EXPRESS - Carlene Davis urges students to stay in school

Published:Saturday | November 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Sixth-form male students flocked musicologist Dr Carlene Davis after the lecture. - Photo by Shanique Samuels
Tommy Cowan and Dr Carlene Davis with students after the lecture. - Photo by Shanique Samuels
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Shanique Samuels, Gleaner Writer

Renowned gospel artiste and entertainer Dr Carlene Davis is encouraging students to stay in school and get an education before they take on music as a career.

"It is very important to stay in school and get a good education. There is nothing worse than an uninformed entertainer. You have to understand socially what's going on around you, and when it comes to show business, you must know that 90 per cent of show business is business - the show is just 10 per cent. The key is to get an education so you can always be in the know about your career and the opportunities that are available for you," she said.

The gospel artiste and her husband, Tommy Cowan, were sharing their experiences with the sixth-form cohort at Clarendon College on Tuesday. They were invited as this year's guest presenters at the fourth staging of the annual John McMillan Memorial Lecture. This year's lecture was held under the topic 'Music as a Business and the Evolution of Jamaican Gospel Music'.

Davis brought her own experience and first-hand knowledge to the fore as she shared with the students how she made the transition from secular music, during which time she released 15 albums, to the present gospel era, having only recently released her 10th gospel album titled Dripping Blood.

She said her turning point was about the time she was diagnosed with cancer in 1996. "That experience of cancer led me to Him. At that point, I decided to run to God and stop running away from Him. There was nobody else I could run to," lamented the now-ordained minister of the gospel.

In his presentation, Tommy Cowan spoke of his experience working with Bob Marley and his music and the impact it had on many and how it may have radicalised and motivated the people of Rhodesia in Zimbabwe to "get up, stand up" and fight for their independence.

However, Tommy is concerned about the popular music of the 21st century and its impact on young people.

"I think we are in a dangerous place where our music is concerned as our music nowadays is being used for the wrong things. The music industry is a serious industry, and music educates, so we have to be careful what we feed the youths."

Crossing over from secular to gospel music was an experience for the musically inclined couple, but they overcame the obstacles and have blossomed into the Glory Music Recording Studio Productions from which the popular gospel concert 'Fun in the Son' (an international event) now flourishes.

rural@gleanerjm.com