Music executives promised more money, more fame and more awards. After five years as a solo recording artiste, producers were beginning to take notice of Jermaine Edward’s massive musical talent. They saw a bright future ahead of him and painted a picture of glitz and glamour. He only had to do one thing: stop singing about Jesus.
Faced with the choice of giving up gospel for secular music, Jermaine took some time to examine God’s thumbprints on his life. The offer was tempting, but he was certain that more than anything else, he wanted to honour God. His decision to commit his talents to spreading the gospel, inspired the song Make You Smile, which would go on to win Song of the Year at the 2010 Caribbean Gospel Marlin Awards.
Born in St. Andrew, Jamaica on July 22,1980, to Bishop Rowan Edwards and Pastor Janet Edwards, Jermaine grew up surrounded by Christian teachings. His ear for harmony was apparent from an early age, so Bishop Edwards put his reluctant son in charge of music at his church. Before he was ten years old, Jermaine was playing the keyboard at Sunday services and crusades where his father preached. He was later ordained Minister of Music at Light House Assembly. Inspired by his praise and worship sessions, the congregation encouraged his progress as a musician.
Like his brother and sister, he was very involved in his parent’s ministry but admits that for many years going to church felt more like keeping an appointment than an act of true fellowship with the Divine. As a teen, his Christian allegiance was born out of compliance rather than conviction. He hungered for intimacy with God and began a journey for a deeper relationship.
His stewardship of his church’s music ministry confirmed his musical gifts and he began to seriously explore possibilities in the music industry. In 1997, he recorded an album as a member of the gospel group Living Lights. Jermaine says his study of a young David and King Saul was instrumental to him embracing the call on his life. When he reflected on how melodies from David’s harp chased away the evil spirits that tormented King Saul, he became convinced of the power of music and resolved to use his talents to bless others.
His first album ISLAND WORSHIP: A Jamaican Experience, was a collection of traditional worship songs; well received by local audiences. This 2004 album was followed by ISLAND WORSHIP 2: A Closer Walk in 2006. Tracks on this second album were inspired by his quest to draw closer to God. DESTINY, his reflective sophomore album released in 2009, won five awards at the 2010 Caribbean Gospel Marlin Awards: Song of the Year for Make You Smile, Album of the Year, Reggae Vocal Performance of the Year, Engineered Recording of the Year and Producer of the Year.
Often described as a Reggae Gospel Artiste, Jermaine pays homage to Jamaica’s strong musical heritage but is not constrained by it. Energetic or soothing, his style is influenced by a variety of musical genres. He enjoys spending time in the studio testing new creative concepts, and developing new sounds. He also works continuously to expand his competence in front of and behind the microphone. Today, Jermaine voices, mixes and produces all his songs under his label ISLAND WORSHIP.
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