Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Brotha George has a message for Jamaica. It's time to find the way back to the Lord.
George Wright, a former secular singer who found Christianity just about four years ago, desperately wants to break into the Jamaican market where he can reach the youth with his music and lead them back on to the path of righteousness.
"Jamaica is a blessed country. It wasn't like it is now, our parents were doing the right things, but the parents today are not doing those things that they need to do to spread the word of the Lord," he said.
He is hoping his album Heaven Bound will help bring Jamaicans back to a place where peace and harmony reign. The album that is being distributed by VP Records was released in the summer of 2012 and has been doing well in the United States and the United Kingdom. Wright is hoping it will experience similar reception here in Jamaica. The album was produced by Sidney Mills of Steel Pulse fame on his SPI Music label. Mills also works with a talented up-and-coming gospel singer, Faith Berry, who has a couple of singles out - Cry Out and I Quit.
Heaven Bound features the standout song Back Them Off, which won Song of the Year at a gospel awards ceremony in the Bronx, New York, last year. This year, Wright intends to embark on promotional tours to boost album sales and, more important, spread the gospel.
Wright grew up in Jamaica, but migrated to the United States in the 1980s where he enjoyed a solid music career performing at concerts and dances in New York and Connecticut.
The foundation for his career was laid about three years before he migrated when Ansel Cridland of the group The Meditations taught him how to sing. The Meditations were a reggae group that had a solid run in the late 1970s and early 1980s, backing singers like Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs and Jimmy Cliff. They scored their biggest hit in 1976 with Woman Is Like a Shadow.
George said his brother Winston Watson, a member of the group, and Cridland, inspired him to become a singer.
For the next two decades, Wright pursued his career producing songs like Secret Admirer that he said gained him recognition both in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
In 2008, he was invited to sing at a friend's wedding and it was there that his life changed forever.
"A friend, Dennis Salmon, asked me to sing at his wedding and I sang a song called Journey. Dennis invited me to church after that and, from there, I started to feel the sensation of Christ." Within three months, Wright was a fully devout Christian.
Over the next four years, he produced four award-winning gospel albums - Rescue Me, Worship with Christ, My Soul Is In Your Hands, and just last summer, Heaven Bound.
Hear My Plea from the Worship with Christ album, a duet that he did with Terry Ann Douglas, won the Best Duet award at the Atlanta Gospel Music Awards, a few years ago.
Song of the Year
At the recent Love Gospel Awards in the Bronx, Heaven Bound won him Artiste of the Year and Back Them Off, a song from the album, was named Song of the Year.
The title track from Heaven Bound, he said, speaks about seeking redemption so that you can keep worshipping God. Back Them Off is about "rejecting iniquity, bad-minded people, that we don't need to keep friends with those people because they are a distraction."
It's a message Wright believes Jamaica needs right now.
"When I was growing up, there was a thing called Good News class where people from different countries came and talked about Christ. Kids these days don't have time for God," he said, acknowledging that the tough economic environment contributes to the issues young people are facing, but urged them to seek comfort in the Lord.
"What we have to do is put God first, because he is the Author of our lives," he said.