Chevelle Franklyn — Gospel queen
Chevelle Franklyn

The Jamaica Observer’s Entertainment Desk continues with the 13th in its Child Month series highlighting some of Jamaica’s young performers who shot to stardom.

IN early 1990, Jamaican airwaves were rocked by a haunting ballad about a teenaged girl, madly in love with a married man.

The song, Here I Am — written and co-produced by Rohan Harrison and Arnold “Freddy” Edwards — was released in late 1989 on Rhage Records and distributed by Dynamic Sounds. It spent five weeks at number one on the RJR Top 40 chart and catapulted Chevelle Franklyn into the spotlight.

Here I Am was recorded when Franklyn was 13 years old and attending Spanish Town Secondary (now high school) in St Catherine. It was, however, released when she was 15.

“When I was recording Here I Am, I wasn’t thinking about (it becoming a) hit. I was more grateful to be discovering much more of a voice, I didn’t know I had,” Franklyn, who is now a minister of religion, shared with the Jamaica Observer.

Harrison, who wrote Here I Am, was the first producer Franklyn worked with. She later recorded songs for Steely and Clevie, Mikie Bennett, and Patrick Lindsay’s Two Friends label. Lindsay eventually assumed management of her career.

Prior to Here I Am, Franklyn recorded a cover of Anita Baker’s No One in The World in 1989, produced by Steely and Clevie.

The overwhelming success of Here I Am changed her life.

“I became more hopeful and my voice became my ticket to that hope. It did open doors but I had to work much harder in years to come for greater ones to open,” she said.

Franklyn was a hot ticket in the 1990s. She collaborated with Spragga Benz on A-1 Lover, his debut single for Capitol Records. She also sang on Shabba Ranks’s Mr Lover Man, which featured in the 1992 movie Deep Cover starring Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum.

Mr Lover Man shot to number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1992 and peaked at two on the R&B/Hip-Hop Tracks and Songs Chart.

Nice And Naughty was another big hit for her, as well as Mr Lover, a collaboration with Lt Stitchie, making its way to number 92 on Billboard’s R&B chart in 2000.

In 1997, Chevelle Franklyn teamed with Beenie Man for the massive hit Dancehall Queen, lead single from the Island Jamaica movie of the same name.

With all the fame that came her way, Franklyn gave it up for Christianity.

“What I was doing did not bring me enough joy. I was singing some songs that were just about self-gratification, period. Meeting some of the world’s top celebrities up close and personal made me realise that fame wasn’t all. It wouldn’t solve what I was looking for, you can have it and no peace, no joy, no rest. You can still gain the world and lose your soul. I never wanted that, plus the call of God in my life was there from when I was a little girl and I decided not to ignore it anymore,” she said.

Franklyn, who resides in Kingston, is married and continues to release motivational music.

“So far, I have released three gospel albums; Joy, which was produced by Danny Browne, His Way and Set Time which I produced myself,” she shared.

Her forthcoming album, South Wind Vol 1, is expected to be released this year.

A 15-year-old Chevelle Franklyn in the video for Here I Am
Kevin Jackson

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