Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Kevin Downswell goes ‘All The Way’

Published:Saturday | May 7, 2016 | 5:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
Kevin Downswell

Gospel singer Kevin Downswell is getting ready to launch his third album, All The Way, on June 4 at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew. For him, this is a living testimony about the way he has given of himself to the ministry and as a husband.

In a one on one with Family and Religion, he opened up about his career, marriage, and how God has been there for him every step of the way.

"Life has a way of taking you to school. There is a vast difference with the things I know now in comparison to just four years ago. So, my inspiration has come from just living daily, the ups and the downs of my journey, the tears and the smiles, the vulnerabilities and the strength and presence of God that cause it to all make sense," said Downswell on the inspiration for his latest project.

Downswell, who said he is now at a "good place" in his life reflected on the journey to get there.

"Looking back at all the things I've been through, growing up in the inner city for most of my teenage years, and not being privileged to have even some of the simplest things in life; seeing my mom fight her way to ensure that I made it through school, and the list goes on," he said.

Downswell said he realised at an early age that his situation was not meant to break him, but he saw it as a tool from God to shape him into the man he is today.

From as far back as 10 years old, Downswell felt the hand of God in his life.

He recalled a situation where he could have lost his life in the inner city had it not been for divine intervention.

"While walking home from school one evening, I heard a voice say, 'Run, Kevin, run'. I immediately looked around and saw a guy looking quite suspicious, walking quite briskly and anxious. By the time I ran off and was barely closing in on my gate, I heard a barrage of gun shots. We later found out that the men in my community were chasing after someone who had just robbed an innocent woman of her purse. That was the same guy who was behind me," he said, adding that with the narrowness of the lane, had he been in line when the shots were being fired, it was likely he would have been hit.

21 YEARS

This year, Downswell celebrates 21 years of walking with the Lord and the moment it all started is something he said he will not forget as he knew it was time to "get out of the valley" he was in.

"I saw my family and friends around me struggle to put food on the table. I knew that it was not just education that would have broken me through, but God who was bigger than all these walls. I knew only He was able to lift me out and deliver me for good," he shared.

But he soon found out that accepting Christ as his Saviour in his teenage years would not come without its challenges. He said he had to learn to "walk with Him". There were times when he fell along the way and made a lot of mistakes but he was determined to continue the journey, and so he got up, confident in the love that Christ has for him.

Downswell, who has been married for eight and a half years is also an ordained evangelist.

Although he admits that his ministry takes up a lot of his time these days, he ensures his wife, Marsha, does not miss out on quality time with him. He also credits God and the Bible for allowing him to be a good husband.

"When I was in my early 20s, I asked God to teach me how to love, because I never had the continual presence of my father around to teach me how a real man should love a woman. The Bible, God's word, taught me how to be gentle, and how to listen twice as much as I talk. I also learnt how to control anger and to be humble," he shared.

Downswell also ensures that he and his wife make decisions together and he keeps a mental image of his priorities.

"I keep her close to me also, so that even in ministry, especially travelling overseas, we are with each other as often as possible," he said.

He said he has also learnt how to put others needs above his own, resulting in his being able to take the negative residue of his past and replace it with God's love and ways.

Downswell, who hails from Smithfield in Westmoreland grew up in "many places" such as Sav-la-Mar, Hellshire Park, Maxfield Avenue, and Central Village among other places.

The JosÈ Marti and Camperdown High School past student graduated with honours at the University of the West Indies as a biochemistry major.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com