Validation album receives nod of approval from gospel veterans
KINGSTON, Jamaica— It was an evening of high praise and worship at the media launch and listening party for the soon-to-be released Validation album by Sterling Awards Male Gospel Artiste of the Year Johnmark Wiggan and Imperium Gospel Limited.
The two-hour event which was held on Monday at the Liguanea Golf Club in Kingston, was emceed by veteran broadcaster Nadine Blair and saw renowned gospel ministers Kevin Downswell and Jermaine Edwards in attendance.
Immediately following the opening prayer, the first track on the album, ‘Reggae Worship’ was played for the audience. The catchy four-minute praise tune moved those in attendance to dance and sing along with ease.
However, it was track number 11 titled ‘Feel Good’ that stole the evening. Audience members were awestruck at Wiggan’s masterful use of an otherwise risqué dancehall sound to communicate the narrative of true joy being found in Christ.
In giving his remarks, Downswell pointed to ‘Feel Good’ as a potential crowd favourite to Christians and non-Christians alike.
“It was a great experience listening to music tonight. As I said to John, that song (‘Feel Good’), it’s really very edgy but it’s gonna connect to some people who are not too churchy, it will really connect. It was a blessing sitting in on some of the sessions, listening to some of the music and hearing John think and help to say, maybe not, maybe so. That’s what we’re for. The best mentorship is from those willing to be in the shadows and allow others to be in the light. I’m always reminding him, make sure the honour goes to God always,” Downswell said.
As for Edwards, he stated: “I’m so happy I could make it tonight. One of the most important things that you found out is that the validation comes from God and the affirmation is through men. Sometimes we look for validation from man, but God already gave us the answer and he sends people from everywhere to affirm and confirm…People like you weh constantly sing mi song, you validate me, through God. One of the most important things is validation from God and confirmation from people. Mi proud a yuh bredda, a far you a come from, mi proud a yuh, and I’m honoured to be standing right here.”
The artistes also commented on their own journeys throughout Jamaica’s gospel landscape and offered words of wisdom to the young musicians.
As the night ended, Wiggan, the originator of the Validation album gave a tear-jerking yet joyous reflection on the birth of the project. He explained that, over time, he took lessons from different human influences towards his own journey of validation. The affirming voice of his father, the early music of Jermaine Edwards, friends, and mentors such as Blessed Messenger, Rondell Positive and Rhoda Isabella, all helped him gauge and understand what he believed to be the voice of God speaking throughout his life. Paying keen attention to craft, he shared that he continued to develop the technical skills needed to write and sing songs which speak to the issues of the present generation.
The Validation concert will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2023, at the Swallowfield Chapel, Kingston. The album is set for release on all major streaming platforms the day before the event.
The Validation album is a 15-track compilation of songs across multiple genres such as reggae, dancehall, blues, and Christian contemporary music. The album features collaborations with gospel artistes such as Kevin Downswell, Blessed Messenger from Trinidad and Tobago, Alicia Taylor, Montay and Jhenelle Grant.