JIS News

Music, especially Gospel Music, provides an excellent platform for promoting the values and attitudes that are needed by Jamaica and the entire world in order to build more caring and loving societies, as well as relationships that are based on mutual respect and understanding, said Industry and Tourism Minister, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba. She was speaking recently at the album launch of local gospel artiste, Shirley Willis.
“The album we launch today is meeting an important need that is being felt by people all over the world – young and old, rich and poor. It is the need for a deeper meaning to our lives that can only be filled by spiritual means,” the Minister said.
With this, she noted her satisfaction with the high level of youth involvement in spiritual activities, adding that it was integral to the society’s achievement of lasting peace and harmony.
She further noted that the Ministry was pleased to be associated with the staging of “Fun in the Son”, the religious Spring Break, as it was wonderful to observe the way in which the event had grown from its “mustard seed” beginnings into a strong tree in whose shade, youth from all over the world were coming to be spiritually refreshed.
“I truly believe that the involvement of our youth in spiritual activities is integral to our society’s and the world’s achievement of lasting peace and harmony,” she said.
Continuing, the Tourism Minister noted that as tourism evolved from the three S’s of “sun, sand and sea” into the three E’s of “emotions, experience and education”, events like “Fun in the Son” were useful in helping to enhance Jamaica’s comparative advantage in world tourism.
In commending Ms. Willis on the launch of her first solo gospel album titled “Trust Him More”, Mrs. Assamba urged her to continue setting high standards for the entire music industry, adding that she had always sought to maximize the use of her God-given gifts.
“The Government fully recognizes the great potential of top-quality music and entertainment for strengthening Jamaica’s economy,” she noted.This, she said, was being piloted by the Entertainment Sector Policy that sought to foster, encourage and facilitate the development of a globally viable Jamaican Entertainment Industry and to “preserve our people’s creative expressions”.
The album features 14 tracks and was produced by Dean Frazer. Most of the songs have a traditional sound, as the influence of Willis’ love for hymn book songs was evident. Willis, however, still managed to drop in a couple tracks on the album that have a reggae flavour, sprucing up the album’s overall listening appeal.
Having spent 30 years as lead vocalist in the popular local gospel group The Grace Thrillers, Willis is confident of the success of her new solo project, and said she had no fears of venturing out on her own, as God was always with her.
She is best known for her time with the group, having produced hit songs including “I Must Tell Jesus”, “Can’t Even Walk” and “I Wanna Hear the Story”.

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