Wednesday, 26 October 2011
GET LIFTED: DJ Nicholas turning up the ‘Volume’ on dancehall gospel
Over the course of his career, DJ Nicholas has wooed the masses with his unique blend of dancehall-spiked hallelujahs and thought-provoking food for the soul. Now, the appealing gospel star is ready to take fans and new converts back to school with his brand new release, School For Volume, another spirit-lifting sample of the ministry-oriented journey he’s making. He dialled up TALLAWAH to talk about finding purpose in his ministry, why the church may never fully buy into dancehall gospel and what’s most important to him at age 31.
TALLAWAH: What’s the best thing about being a gospel entertainer in latter-day Jamaica?
DJ Nicholas: The best thing is that you’re not just performing, you’re ministering as well. You’re imparting something meaningful to people. For me, that’s very fulfilling because it means you have a purpose.
TALLAWAH: The new album takes a sort of educational approach. What inspired you to go in that direction?
DJ Nicholas: The idea of school is line with the theme of most of the songs on the album. When I was putting together the album, I saw where the songs were headed; most of them had a kind of school concept about them. For example, I have songs on the album like “Holy Ghost Gym,” which could be about P.E. class; “Divine Mathematics,” which is about Maths class and “Bad English,” which could be about English class. So the songs encompass the whole school setting. And I am about teaching the gospel to people.
TALLAWAH: You’ve put out three albums now, established a record label, and are married to a wonderful wife. What else do you want to do before you hit age 40?
DJ Nicholas: Well, there are a whole heap of things I want to do. Right now, I am involved with a lot of youth activities and school devotional projects, which I hope to continue. I am a deacon in the church, but I’d love to become an evangelist or pastor. But I’ll leave that up to God to decide. Overall, I’m a very ministry-oriented person, and that is the path I am planning to pursue.
TALLAWAH: Do you find that the local church is now more open to reggae/dancehall gospel than in years past?
DJ Nicholas: Yes, slowly we have seen changes, but I don’t think the entire Christian body will ever fully accept it. Some people were raised a certain way, and they’ll never change their views. But there are some [in the church] who never believed in it before, but are now more accepting of it.
TALLAWAH: Your middle name is Vacianna. Did you get teased about it growing up?
DJ Nicholas: (Laughs). No. Most persons never knew my middle name, except those who were very close to me. Even now, a lot of people only know me by my stage name and my last name, which is Eccleston.
TALLAWAH: How are you planning to close out the year?
DJ Nicholas: After the album launch in Kingston [on Saturday], we are hoping to have some partial launches and performances in Costa Rica, Cayman and Guyana.
TALLAWAH: You’re about to celebrate your 31st birthday. What’s most important to you moving forward?
DJ Nicholas: God comes first and making sure that my lifestyle is pleasing to him. Family and my ministry comes next.