Members of Levy's Heritage, the group which won the recent Jamaica Festival Gospel Song competition, said they are "elated, ecstatic, humbled and blessed," to have their song chosen for 2012.
Organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), the contest was won by Ovando Levy, Oneil Levy and Oshin Levy, who performed the winning entry, 'One Touch', at the National Arena.
At the end of the show, the trio drove away with a brand new 2012 Nissan Versa, donated by GraceKennedy, a Trophy, a Gospel CD collection from Music Mart, telephones from Lime Jamaica and gift baskets from GraceKennedy and Excelsior Biscuit Company. Producer of the song, Mr. Grub Cooper, copped the prize for the best arranged song.
The eldest of the trio, 23 year-old Ovando tells JIS News that Levy's Heritage was formed in 2005 by their mentor and father, Lubert Levy, who was the 2004 Gospel Song winner.
Ovando is a third year student of the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts; 19 year-old Oneil is also a student of Edna Manley; while 16 year-old Oshin is a JCDC prodigy, as she was the most outstanding vocalist in the JCDC Junior Festival in 2004. She attends the Holy Childhood High School and is the Assistant Children's Choir Director of the Kingdom Builders Open Bible Church.
Mr. Levy says their father encouraged them to sing together. "He was the person who joined us together in 2005, and from then until now we have been ministering and going places," he says.
He points out that they have shared the stage with some of Jamaica's top gospel artistes, such as Goddy Goddy, their father, Chevelle Franklin, Kevin Downswell, and DJ Nicholas.
"We won the Maja award competition in 2006 and won the title 'Junior Gospel Stars'," Mr. Levy adds.
He tells JIS News that 'One Touch' was written by their father, after he had an inspiration on a prayer mountain. "My father envisioned 'One Touch' as a song that could transform lives as well as change and reach the hearts of many who are going through a lot of situations in their lives," he says.
Relating their experience during the JCDC Gospel Finals, Mr. Levy said it was difficult as it required preparation, dedication and sacrifices to get where they are presently. However, he says that a family "that prays together, works together and stays together will make it through any tough times."
"The road leading up to the finals was very hectic, but it was a learning experience. We had training from top trainers in Jamaica and we learned how to pronounce words and how to flow and how to use the song that we have to impact the audience," Mr. Levy says.
"We believe that if we put out 100 per cent and put God first in whatever we do, we will reap the rewards," he adds.
For the future, Mr. Levy tells JIS News that they want to produce singles, and to use the opportunity given by the JCDC to put Levy's Heritage on the global map, while training and mentoring young persons.
"We want to train other persons to become winners like us. We also want to go into grooming, and production ministry, and to visit the different communities and schools to encourage and minister to individuals," he explains.
He is advising persons interested in becoming a part of the gospel ministry to be dedicated, persistent, make sacrifices and work hard.
"Don't be afraid to sell yourself, perform on free events and enter different competitions just to get your name out there," Mr. Levy advises.
He says the competition has been fundamental for years and it is a great platform for the future. "They teach you, groom you on how to perform, and how to bring across your song," he notes.
The group will be making appearances at Jamaica Praise on Sunday, August 5 at the National Indoor Sports Centre, Kingston; at the Jamaica 50 Independence Grand Gala on Monday, August 6, at the National Stadium, and other events for Jamaica 50 celebrations.
By Jodiann Reid/Elaine Hartman Reckord (JIS PRO)