Gospel Head - Surviving between stage shows
Entertainment is big business and once an artiste has established himself, he can expect to become financially stable by performing at shows locally and overseas to supplement what he might get from record sales, if anything.
The same can hardly be said for gospel artistes, though, whose purpose goes beyond entertaining a crowd. Instead, they seek to save souls for the Lord.
It is even more difficult for young gospel artistes who are just seeking to establish themselves and are not employed otherwise. How do they survive?
They are, no doubt, faced with the same temptations as non-spiritual persons and are certainly faced with the same challenges to pay bills and to survive day to day.
Huge gospel shows in Jamaica are few and far between and each show can accommodate only a certain number of artistes. Then there are small concerts here and there, which offer opportunities for young performers.
In between shows, there are challenges to stay the course.
Gospel Head, whose real name is Cleverton Morrison, has been through the initial stages of being an artiste and has reached a level of recognition, but still faces survival challenges on a daily basis.
He, however, finds a way to survive when there are no shows at which to perform
Morrison burst onto the gospel scene in 2010 with Sin is Like a Tall Building and later had success with Pray Fi Dem, a collaboration with Morgie, and Through the Eye of the Storm, with Morgie and Second Chance.
While he hasn't had a hit for a while, his name is still alive in gospel circles and he gets shows now and again.
He spoke with Family and Religion about surviving in the off season. Faith, he explained, is the key.
"How do we survive off the stage? Well, as a gospel artiste you have to be a good saver because we have bills to pay, but we're committed and we say Christ will take care of us," he explained.
He added: "We survive off our CDs and our royalty. Royalty is not much, but sometimes we get royalty, and God provide a show in the midst of the storm, so we continue doing the work and God provide because Him say if Him provide for the birds in the wild, He will provide for us; so that's how we survive."
Gospel Head describes December as "concert time" and last month, he did a number of shows, including shows in Trelawny and Clarendon.
"God anoint me and send me out there and the people them love me bad, so anywhere Gospel Head go, people enjoy themselves and enjoy the ministry."
He was asked, about the young gospel artistes who are not as established and have no CD sales or royalties to collect.
"Before Gospel Head buss, I was coming from where a lot of these artistes coming from, who love the ministry. you have to have a love to do gospel songs because there is not a lot of money in gospel songs and when you start making money, it's not much.
"Some artiste who start out like me, my encouragement to them is to hold on because God will bless you with a show. You might do a show and somebody come and bless you with an envelope. so if somebody invite you (to perform) and you don't have any money, you should go just the same because you're building your ministry.
"The established artistes might make good money, but the young ones (should) just keep holding on and keep trying. don't give up."
advice to young artistes
With that solid advice to young artistes, Gospel Head said he is now looking forward to a successful 2016.
"I'm tentatively set to perform at Hague Agricultural show in Trelawny on February 9. I also hope to go overseas and, when I return, I will continue doing the work. I'm just looking forward to positive things, more music and souls to save."
Gospel Head explained that he has an anointed gift.
"When I go on stage and hold the mic, nuh care how yuh light bill high and yuh water bill high, yuh might a hide from yuh landlord, when Gospel Head done, yuh a go home with a smile because God bless me with some song fi mek people forget them problems.
"Some artistes come with a serious ministry, but if I do a serious song, you have to laugh because God put some joke inna it same way. That's my ministry. Gospel Head is somebody to make you laugh and forget your troubles and trials. Christ said our joy is the strength, you know, so that's me."