Davis finds glory on billboard

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

Thursday, July 30, 2015

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CARLENE Davis has had a number of highs in a 40-year career. This week, she chalked up another milestone.

Her Dripping Blood album, released by VP Records in March, is at number three on the Billboard Reggae Album Chart, behind the much-touted The Cure by singer Jah Cure.

It is Davis' 10th gospel album and her 25th overall. Not even in a fruitful secular career did she have a Billboard entry this high.

She told the Jamaica Observer that that is what makes Dripping Blood's rise even more satisfying.

"The fact that this is my first gospel album to make the Billboard chart is proof that God is still in charge and it's in His timing and it's good that we are doing this with VP Records. I've been on that label for over 30 years," she said.

Dripping Blood was actually launched in late 2014 by Glory Music, the company operated by Davis and her husband, Tommy Cowan.

VP credits Davis' strong performance at the recent Jerk Fest in Queens, New York for its second wind.

Davis, who is in her early 60s, said she and her husband took a different approach to production for her first set since 2009's True Worship.

"There are many things that we did differently. For example, Jon Williams' musical arrangement of the title song was a choice we made because we saw where he had the ability to musically structure and complement the vocal arrangements between my singers and the Church On The Rock Choir under the direction of Andrea Hinds," she explained. "This album took us five years to complete. With every album we do, we always strive to give our best, no short cuts and our choice of musicians including co-producer Dave Green brought fresh energy for this time."

Davis recorded inspirational albums before becoming a Christian, her first being Jesus is Just a Prayer Away in 1985. She was among a wave of secular acts who went gospel full-time during the mid- and late-1990s.

Her secular career produced chart-toppers like Old Friends Do and Dial my Number and was still going well at the time of her conversion.

Davis had no fear of falling off the musical map when she began recording gospel songs.

"When I recommitted my life, my confidence shot to another level. I came to know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," she said.

Carlene Davis performs Sunday at the Pro Denbigh Gospel Extravaganza in Clarendon.

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