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Hezekiah Walker to headline Fun In The Son

Published:Monday | June 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Hezekiah Walker - Contributed

Grammy-award-winning international gospel sensation Hezekiah Walker will headline the 12th staging of The Best Dressed Fun in the Son, set for July 12 at the Portmore Mall Park, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Walker, known for his hit Every Praise, will be travelling to Jamaica with members of the award-winning Love Fellowship Choir and is expected to rock the 13-acre park with his spiritual anthems and upbeat, infectious, hand-clapping songs.

That song saved the life of a 10-year-old American, who, on being abducted sang Every Praise continuously in the back of the vehicle, until his kidnappers were impacted and released him.

Over his almost three-decade-long musical career, Walker - who is also the choir director and a pastor - has collaborated with renowned artistes such as Justin Timberlake, P Diddy and the late Whitney Houston.

He has recorded more than a dozen chart-topping albums and became the face of the black gospel choir with the classic hits Souled Out, Grateful and I Need You To Survive.

Speaking about his upcoming 14th CD, Azusa The Next Generation, Walker said the project is dedicated to persons who have influenced his life, particularly his father, the late Bishop Kenneth Moales.

STRONG PARENTS

The gospel icon credits his parents with influencing, not only his musical career, but his understanding of the Word.

Hezekiah Walker knows firsthand of the church's power to transform lives, as his story began in the notorious crime-ridden Fort Green project of Brooklyn, New York where his parents raised him and his three siblings.

In spite of their surroundings, they were immersed in church.

At age eight, Walker began to sing in the church choir.

His father died when he was 14 and his mother died suddenly seven years later on her way to church. After she passed, a despondent Walker quit his job and two months later he was out of money and faced eviction.

He began to pray and during that time wrote his first song, using the melody from D.J. Rogers' 1975 R&B song, It's Alright Now. The new verses centred on his trials and tribulations and grew into the hit I'll Make It.

It was in 1985 that Walker formed the Love Fellowship Choir with approximately 12 members and recorded the I'll Make It LP live. The album rose to No 12 on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart when Sweet Rain Records released it in 1988.

Among his many awards and accolades are two Grammys for Best Album by a Choir or Chorus in 1994 and 2001. Between 2001 and 2014, he received 14 Stellar Awards for the choir, including the indivi-dual James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hezekiah Walker will share the stage at Best Dressed Fun in the Son 2014 with local gospel acts like Minister Carlene Davis, Goddy Goddy, Kevin Downswell, Kereen Gregory, Jermaine Edwards, Papa San, Bishop Everton Thomas, the Young Ambassadors and Tasan Thompson. International Evangelist Andrew Palau will return to minister the Word.