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Garth McDonald - Entertainer, MD

Published:Sunday | August 21, 2011 | 12:00 AM
McDonald
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Trecia McGowan, Contributor

Dr Garth 'Shaka Pow' McDonald is an easily recognisable face within two vastly different fields in Jamaica. You'll probably find him working as a doctor at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, or you might catch him on a local stage performing some of his own dancehall songs.

The 'Doc' as he is fondly known, light-heartedly gives his age as 20, but we know better. His early education took place at the Waterford Infant and Primary School, then St Catherine High School, and Kingston College. He them earned direct entry to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona at the age of 18.

Unlike some teenagers who remain uncertain about their career path even at the end of high school, he knew exactly what direction his life should take.

"I decided from fourth form when getting the transfer from St Catherine High to Kingston College. Helen Douglas, a teacher from Kingston College asked me what I wanted to become and I said a medical doctor, because I was excelling in the sciences and at that time only engineering and medicine seemed the best options," he said.

love for music

But even as he pursued this goal, his love for music and performing never dissipated.

"As far back as toddler days, I remember performing for family members and peers, so I would say I've always been an artiste. God put dat inna me, special," he said, smiling.

He credits meticulous habits as the reason for his being able to tackle the rigours of medicine at such a young age. "I used to do group study, followed by individual study, a lot of revision, repetition, and writing notes while studying. While doing this, I also highlighted the important information and revised that."

Motivation and support were also required for him to remain focused during the study period. "Self-motivation plus family and peer support, these are important. I was always at the top of the class up to the end of high school so there were too may people to disappoint."

There were others in his life who have played important roles. "My influences have been so many. My teachers, my peers, parents, siblings. All those who encouraged me or provided friendly rivalry. They're just too many," he said.

At the end of the day, he was able to achieve much, and now specialises in obstetrics and gynaecology.

"It was one of my favourite subjects in medicine because of its dynamic nature, and the fulfilment of bringing a mother and foetus safely through the journey."

In terms of his music career, McDonald feels things are getting better. He has recorded tracks such as God Bless, Book, Independent Girl with Heather Cummings, Currency, Rubba Bounce with Samboni, Move Dem up, and Splice. He has performed at major shows including Sting, Reggae Sunsplash, Teen Splash, Professionals in Cabaret, and plans are being made for Reggae Sumfest next year. "I am getting there. I'm not a household name yet but definitely a top act to watch out for."