Acclaimed gospel singer Kevin Downswell, has decried the overwhelming number of songs being released in Jamaica, which are glorifying lotto scamming and witchcraft.
The artiste who is gearing up to release two albums this Saturday, July 1, one titled Grace and the other, The Shift, said that he had not intended to do a double-album, but that with the degeneracy in the music, a second album was necessary as an ‘antidote’.
“We intended to do just one album, but when you look at the state of our country … the Bible says faith cometh by hearing, and a lot of things that are being heard, that are filling the space these days, are not good. And people have no idea that sometimes they reproduce what they hear and subconsciously do it,” Downswell told The Star tabloid during a listening event last week Wednesday.
“There’s so much ‘scamma’ songs, there’s so much ‘oil’ songs, a lot of stuff … is like these songs just penetrate the atmosphere. We need songs that will help to get people’s minds back into being stable, minds back into recognising hoping again,” he added.
Downswell, who hails from Westmoreland, grew up in the Smithfield community.
The singer was born on July 24, 1981 and attended Unity and Ferris primary schools in Savanna-la-mar, before moving to Hellshire Park in St. Catherine where he attended the Port Henderson Primary School. Amidst the many challenges he faced as a child, especially financially, he was always at the top of his class in school.
According to his biography, the “well-mannered” Kevin, would walk diligently for two miles to school each day and 2 miles back to a community with no electricity.
However, he was unperturbed and, would crouch under the faint light of a kerosene oil lamp to ensure that his homework was complete and to be ready for exams.
Downswell attended the Melrose Primary and Junior High School and despite being an excellent student, due to financial constraints, Kevin was unable to sit the Common Entrance Exam to enter high school. He later sat the technical entrance exam and gained a place at Jose Marti Technical in 1993. After graduating from Jose Marti
with 6 CXC’s and went on to do Upper Sixth Form at Camperdown High School in Kingston.
In 2003 he emerged as a rising gospel artiste when he entered and won the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Gospel Song Competition.
In 2005, Downswell was ordained to the office of an evangelist, the same year he graduated from the University of the West Indies, Mona with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry. He ventured into full-time ministry and discarded his desire to become a medical doctor.
Now an ordained evangelist, author, motivational speaker and international recording artiste, he is at the helm of Kevin Downswell Ministries where he is leading with much success.
In 2005, he had his first major hit Naah Bow on which he collaborated with DJ Nicholas and Jermaine Edwards. The song won the 2006 Marlin Awards for Best Reggae Recording of the Year and has become an anthem to youths across the Caribbean.
In 2008 he released his first studio album Close to You, which was lauded as ‘one of the most successful debut projects’ by a Jamaican gospel artiste. He made the charts that same year with his title track Close to You. The album quickly gained steam worldwide, hitting the top spots on charts in the US, UK and Canada. Four years later he released his sophomore album The Search Continues, which catapulted his ministry and presence on the local and international gospel scene.
The hit single You make me Stronger has become an anthem for gospel enthusiasts and fans all over.
Downswell earned many accolades for his work in the gospel ministry including the award for Male Artiste of the year by the New York-based Love Gospel International Awards; Star Award for Gospel Artiste of year and Love 101 FM Engage Alien Award for Artiste of the Year.
He has also been nominated for the Marlin Award; Atlanta Gospel Music Award; Paramount Gospel Music Award for Best Male Vocalist; E.M.E Award; the International Reggae & World Music Award among others.