Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
With his new album Man Of God being launched this weekend, gospel artiste Junior Tucker said he hopes to appeal to some of his older fans with the album's early '90s sound. He said this new production, which is his fifth gospel album, will appeal to Christians and non-Christians.
"For the first time I have really found that balance. The music is more what the older fans are used to. It is getting a lot of response from people outside the church," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
"Any man - Christian or not - can relate to it. I am hoping it will be a strong reggae album. Musically and in style, it has that old school kind of vibe. It has that kind of '90s dancehall feel to it but with the message of Jesus Christ on top of it."
Strengthening his point, Junior Tucker said the album also has a remake of his popular secular song Love of a Lifetime called King of a Lifetime.
As a secular artiste, Junior Tucker had much fame and fortune. His rise to stardom began when he was only five years old. Soon after, he had songs like Happy and Some Guys Have All the Luck.
By 12 years old, he was signed to Island Records and was touring the world. And, at 14, he got a recording contract with Geffen Records, USA. At 23, he signed to Virgin Records UK which produced hits like Don't Test and Sixteen.
In 1991, Junior Tucker was released from Virgin Records and returned to his roots to pursue a career in Jamaican dancehall music that led to songs like Love of a Lifetime and Move Along.
In 1996, Tucker began singing gospel songs like I Pray and Praise His Name. But it was not until 1997 that he publicly confessed his faith and was baptised soon after.
Tucker said he would be lying if he said he didn't miss anything about his secular career, as in a financial crunch he does miss the gains that came from it.
"But do I miss it in terms of the music or the tension or the popularity or going after that fame? No, I don't," he said.
He said the joy, peace and fulfilment that he gets from being a pastor, worship leader and minister are far superior to what he earned from a secular career.
While he is not making the big bucks that he used to, he said "I have never gone to bed hungry. God has always provided."
Man Of God, Tucker explained, is much deeper than any he had previously done.
"This one I believe is really more of a testimony, more of a deeper album. This came out of a two-year rough time when God was the only source to pull me through. It is a truer, open, honest testimony," Tucker said.
The reggae gospel album has collaborations with artistes like Papa San and Dawn Martin. It has 14 tracks, including songs like Saturday Morning, Still In Love With You and I Belong To God.
It was scheduled to be launched yesterday (Saturday) at Waltham Park New Testament Church of God and today (Sunday) at Family Church on the Rock, Montego Bay, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Based in Florida, Tucker said he felt it was right to launch the album in his homeland.
"Jamaica is always home. It felt like the right thing to do," he said, noting that the musicians who worked on the album are located in Jamaica.
His last local appearance was at Freedom Test in the summer, and Tucker believes he will be well received.
"It's a whole heap of love. I always try to come with an agenda, which is to worship God. It's always good and I love it here," an excited Tucker told The Sunday Gleaner.
While he loves Jamaica, he said living in Florida with his four daughters and wife has really stretched him as a person.
"It's been really good. It has really stretched me. I left Jamaica as just a gospel artiste. I have become much broader than I thought I would be. You couldn't tell me that this is what I would be doing. I give thanks for what He is doing," said Tucker, who is expecting a son in January.
After the launch of the album this weekend, Tucker said he would be going to places like the United States, the Caribbean, Canada and the United Kingdom. He said the CD will also be available in stores, iTunes and on his website www.juniortucker.com.