Mark Dawes, Religion Editor
Kirk Davis, formerly known as Little Kirk. – Photos by Ian Allen/Staff Photographer
As a 14-year-old, Kirk Davis became a chart topper with his hit, Ghetto People Broke. That song helped to launch his singing career which has traversed the genres of reggae, soul and rhythm & blues. He was enjoying success as an artiste, doing tours with some of the big names in Jamaican music. Yet, he was restless.
He began to sense God speaking to him. He began to read the Bible. While on a tour in New York a few years ago, he turned the pages of a Bible in the hotel where he was staying. As he read a passage which stated that there was no repentance for sins in the grave. It shook him up. He began to contemplate forsaking life in the fast lane.
Then his grandmother died.
When she passed on last December, Davis said, he looked at her lying in the coffin, and thought, "Granny was not saved, that means she is lost."
Baptised in the sea
'Dont Deny Me', the first gospel CD for artiste Kirk Davis.
Then, while driving to a recording studio last January, he became uneasy. Davis said it was as if he heard God saying to him, "You need to change your life or you will die." He called fellow artiste and Christian, St Matthew, and told him that he wanted to give his life to the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptised. St Matthew took a pastor with him and met Davis on the beach in Hellshire in Portmore. There on January 28, 2008, Davis was baptised in the sea by the pastor.
Davis then went church shopping and quickly settled in at Greater Works International, a congregation that meets in the Red Hills Mall, St Andrew, and which is led by Pastor Andrew Scott.
Some of the seeds of Davis' conversion were sown by Stitchie and Papa San - two of Jamaica's top deejays who became born-again Christians and have since become renowned gospel artistes. Both Stitchie and Papa San had for a while been encouraging Davis to turn his life over to God.
Davis acknowledged that financial considerations had over time become a reason why he hesitated about becoming a Christian. He confessed that he was concerned about his ability to earn a living if he went gospel. "I even a talk to Papa San one time, and I say to him, 'How you a survive?' San said, 'Me will show you the way man. Leggo all of this and put God first."
But it is Stitchie that has become his main mentor in the Christian faith. Stitchie, who is also an ordained minister of the gospel, convenes a regular Bible study at his St Andrew home where Davis is usually in attendance.
Unlike so many other secular artistes who have embraced Christ, Davis has so far not had any horror stories to cite in terms of the reception he has received from his home church. He continues to wear dreadlocks, but he said he feels very comfortable worshipping with the people of Greater Works International and is given careful guidance by Pastor Scott. "They love me there, man. I feel comfortable," he said.
Davis, however, is not done with secular shows. He sees such events as opportunities to proclaim the gospel. "Me will go on a secular show in order to draw people to Christ," he told The Gleaner.
Davis, formerly known as Little Kirk, last June launched a gospel album Don't Deny Me. When it came out, someone asked, "How is it that you have put out a gospel album so soon after getting saved? Is it that you were not making enough money in the secular world?" He responded stating that he is okay financially because of gigs he has had touring mostly in Europe and Japan. His main motivation, he explained is: "Me go through a whole heap of things and the only thing the Father ask is to give Him thanks and praises and I think that is a very simple thing."
The gospel album features dancehall artiste Beenie Man, who is his half-brother. The two teamed up on a track called If a Neva God. Predictably, some in the Christian community criticised Davis for including his non-Christian brother on the album.
His response is, "Beenie has a lot of influence and lot of people look up to him as a role model, idol. They idolise Beenie Man. When you have Beenie sing about Christ, you never know who that draw."
Asked if he trying to influence Beenie Man to become a Christian, Davis said: "Well, me talk to him. Him know the right thing, you know. I try tell him and him dey pon, 'Yeah man, Jesus is the way', and him a do him thing, same way. I not forcing anything on him."
Davis, 37, pays tribute to his younger sibling on his album jacket. He wrote, "To my brother, Beenie Man, thank you for giving me the opportunity to travel around the world with you performing. I pray that you and the other secular singers and DJs will give your lives to Jesus Christ."
As he carves out a niche among lovers of gospel music, Davis is concerned about negative vibes he has sensed as gospel music artistes relate to their peers. He said, "I get to realise that the Christian artistes fight against one another too. Me can tell you, man! We need to come together and work together. We need to try and get the word out there to the people them. Most of the people on the secular side show more love than the Christian."
As he steps confidently into the future as a gospel artiste, he is keen to heed a piece of advice offered him by Stitchie, who warned him that because he is now a Christian, some will try to use him, but he should remain humble.
Davis has been married to Everette since 1999. The two however have been together for 20 years. The union has produced two boys and two girls. The children he has with his wife, Davis proudly said, are his only children.
Key facts about Kirk Davis
Kirk Davis had a lot of chart toppers in his career, many of which were cover versions.
His chart toppers included:
Ghetto People Broke
I Don't Want to Lose Your Love.
I Need a Ghetto Gal Tonight
Girls and Girls
I Will be There
Heal the World
Can it be me
In his career, Davis recorded nine (secular) albums and more than 200 singles.
He started recording in 1984.
He grew up in Waterhouse, Drewsland and Craig Town.
He attended Maverley All-Age School and Holy Trinity Secondary.
Last year, his album One More Chance was number one in Kenya.
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