Petra-Kaye Linton and manager Kamar Forrest pushing ahead in stormy seas
'Gospel is a sensitive market,' says singer-songwriter
Like almost everything in the music industry over the years, the role of artiste managers is constantly evolving. Taking a deeper dive into the ever-changing role, it is not only to manage but also to challenge the artiste, and push their messages further while equally gaining knowledge, said musician and artiste manager Kamar Forrest. He manages gospel artiste Petra-Kaye Linton. Both say it has been a voyage of discovery - learning what it takes to make the relationship successful and riding the waves together in a time of stormy seas.
There is a lot at stake for gospel artistes, and the responsibility is great, explained Forrest, who plays music for secular acts. “It is very hard striking a balance, and it is all about time management. I like to do everything ahead of time, so there’s no pressure on either of us.”
Forrest and Linton started working together in 2013, when he acquired the role of director for the gospel group Radical Weapons.
“With the group on a sabbatical, as most persons decided to focus on their solo careers, I decided to ask Petra in 2019 if she was interested in us working together, and she never hesitated,” Forrest shared.
He said that from music to ministry and also making money, both he and Linton had to learn quickly how to batten down the hatches and brave the weather, having only started working together a few months before the pandemic.
“Our journey of working together started in 2019, then 2020 just come with the heavy currents, but we capitalised on being home and being able to inspire people from where we are. A lot of sacrifices were made last year alone,” he told The Gleaner.
All of the challenges translated to the need to push the message, as well as both their careers forward. When it came to following his current career path, the musician said he turned to Jacob’s prayer to ask the Lord for guidance and to open doors before making the next step.
“One thing I admire and respect is that artistes understand my faith; some things they would normally utter out their mouths, they do not do that around me. As it relates to playing, personally, I don’t focus on the lyrics; it’s all about the rhythm for me,” Forrest said about working as a drummer in the secular space.
“I have a relationship with God first; I have a purpose. I realised early that I have several responsibilities; one is to make my artiste’s light shine, and another one is to ensure she is always on track because there are a lot of temptations and distractions,” he explained.
Linton said they have acquired bookings for virtual concerts locally and internationally. The most recent was Keep Your Dreams Alive that was broadcast live on March 27 by Canada-based Gospel Faith TV.
“I do wish for more virtual opportunities, but [I] believe she is reaching people everywhere, with her style of traditional gospel music. The gospel music industry might be deemed quiet locally, but the work is still being done,” he said.
Linton shared the same sentiment. She also pointed out that trust and faith in her relationship with God and her manager have helped her focus on making music and ministering to wide audiences.
She told The Gleaner, “My goals at this time [are] to reach the nation, and I want to win souls for the Kingdom of God, so I want Him to use me. I want to go the highways and the byways and share the word. I used to wonder how Kamar balanced his own career, while holding the group together, so I had no fear he could do a good job.”
The singer-songwriter said she has found making music that everyone can relate to, while staying true to her sound and style of ministry to be a challenge. So far, her popular single Sovereign God has over 350,000 views on YouTube, and He Is Gone, released last month, is steadily garnering streams worldwide.
“These songs are ministering to people; some of the time you going through hard times, you want to hear, ‘in the rock I hide, in the shadows, I will abide when the storms of life are raging over me, in the rock I’ll hide,’ God is still here,” Linton said.
“Gospel is a sensitive market. The types of songs I am doing are what I grow up listening to. We often hear that is bare American or contemporary songs our local artistes are doing, as if only to ministering to one audience, a lot of the times to the younger generations and leaving out the older folks. We will continue to make music to reach everybody, no matter the challenges,” she continued.