Claudelle Clarke remembers Otis Wright

Sunday, May 18, 2014    

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CLAUDELLE Clarke, a contemporary of gospel singer Otis Wright who died May 6, says he stood up for locally produced Christian music at a time when Jamaican producers and disc jockeys preferred sounds from their American counterparts.

Clarke, known for gospel favourites such as Just As I Am, I Saw The Light, God Is A Mountain and That's Enough, told the Jamaica Observer that she knew Wright for over 40 years. They both recorded for producer Sonia Pottinger's High Note label.

"Otis started doing gospel in the early 1960s. He was living in the United States back then but always came to Jamaica to do his recordings, but we had to listen to the Americans' music and I knew we had good singers in Jamaica," Clarke said from her home in the US.

She added that herself and Wright shared a spiritual connection.

"When Otis and I got together for concerts it was oneness. We always encouraged and supported each other's ministry."

The St Elizabeth-born Wright started his career as a pop singer. After becoming a Christian, he recorded traditional gospel songs like Man From Galilee, Some Day, Stand By Me and It Soon Be Done which were also popular with a secular audience.

While he took his music and religion seriously, Clarke recalled Wright's sense of humour.

"He'll say a one line that makes you laugh until you cry," she said.

Wright died from renal failure in New York City at age 73.

The funeral service for Otis Wright, who is survived by five children, takes place May 30 in New York.

— Cecelia Campbell-Livingston



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