Shanice Sewell on her craft and the Christian journey
Hardship of the Christian journey is almost common knowledge when we consider the testimonies of the saints. But the struggles don't only lie in their ability to keep the commandments, but also in their earthly pursuits of making a better living for themselves.
Shanice Sewell, a young talented woman of St Thomas, has always been a lover of the performing arts. So, it was no surprise that she has gone the route of becoming not only a gospel artiste, but also an actor in local plays.
The 22-year-old told Family and Religion that she has been recording and performing songs since 2013 and began acting professionally a year later and in her words, 'It is harder for Christians to strive in the industry, especially here in Jamaica.'
"I mean, there is somewhat a community here for gospel music, but even in that same community, it is very difficult to get in and to be acknowledged as an artist or a performer," she said.
Sewell, who has been a Christian for five years, revealed that the gospel arena is not quite what she had imagined.
"You know, once I was having some deep thoughts to myself and I was reflecting on how I truly enjoy doing gospel music and how I'm glad I chose to stay in this genre, because there must be a lot of sharks out there in the secular world. But the sad reality is that there are also sharks in the gospel fraternity! Sharks like links, every man to himself and strangely religious barriers (Different religious beliefs, doctrines, etc.)
"It's really scary, you know. And as a girl who came out of a parish that isn't so developed to make dreams like these come true, coming to the city to discover these sharks in the gospel fraternity, it is discouraging," she said.
There are those who also believe that the same goes for Jamaican plays as Christian roles are scarce and therefore harder to obtain.
"Well, personally, I don't have much experience in seeking roles. I strongly believe that I am somewhat blessed in that department, 'cause I was offered a role in a small production and, since then, doors have been opening for bigger roles," Sewell admitted.
And, while she is gradually excelling in drama, she admits that despite the setbacks and hurdles that she has experienced in music, her ministry, as she calls it, has groomed her Christianity significantly.
"Going to different churches and performing at different concerts and so on, I have learned about something called 'spiritual warfare'; something that I had to experience to understand. I was very young in the faith when I became aware of it. I also experience a level of peace and fulfilment when I minister, especially that feeling of being broken up before the Father. It was ministering through song (that) I had these beautiful experiences which always seem to get better and better.
"My music is mainly about praise. It is always about love in abundance for all to listen and experience. I personalise my music and I have a personality that does not encourage bashing any belief or perspective, but rather to encourage you to listen and relate and, in turn, be lead by the spirit of God to make the necessary change in life.
"A nuh mi fi get the glory at all at all. I'm just the vessel carrying the message, so I draw a line between who a person is and who the enemy influences them to be," she said.