Monday, 10 March 2014

ART AND LIFE: Oozing wisdom and bliss, Carlene Davis counts her many blessings

FACE VALUE: "It's like I've only just begun," shares the iconic songstress.

After more than two decades in the game, singer-songwriter Carlene Davis still has the capacity to surprise even her most diehard fans, rendering the National Anthem in fluent Japanese and dipping into her catalogue for a handful of her tunes recorded in the Eastern language, on the occasion of Saturday's Japan Festival, which drew a mammoth crowd to the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston.

Then there's her luminous beauty, a striking mix of youthful glow and sunny disposition — and that relentless energy for what she does professionally that's about to birth yet another record, her most personal album to date. What else is foremost on the music legend's mind these days? Family, the sheer beauty of commitment, and staying true to herself as she grows older and wiser. 

TALLAWAH: When it comes to your recording career, the word evolution doesn't even begin to describe your trajectory. 
Davis: I'm always exited because music is my background, music from all different languages. In my past, I've done songs in Japanese, which I'll be singing tonight. I've done songs in Spanish and French. When it comes to music, it's the message that you put into it. So I'm very excited about what's happening in my life and in gospel music. 

Speaking of which, when can fans expect some new spirit-lifting tracks from the Carlene Davis hit factory? 
I'm getting ready to release a new album by April. I'm in the final mixing of my last four songs. I've been in the studio for the past four years working tirelessly. We've yet to come up with a title, but it's a set of songs that God has laid on my heart. Songs that I have written, my husband has written, and my daughter has written. So I'll be doing a collabo with my daughter, Naomi. She's been singing and writing as well. And I have a collabo with Papa San and with Jabez. So I'm really looking forward to getting it out there. People have been asking me. They're anxious and I'm anxious about it too. 

People constantly remark on your fresh-rose appearance for a woman well into her 50s. How do you respond? 
There's a scripture that says 'He renews your youth just like the eagle.' And I believe that I am one of God's eagles that's soaring to new heights. It's like I've only just begun. There's always talk in different quarters that when you get to a certain age you're called a veteran. But a veteran is someone who hangs up his saddle, hangs up his or her microphone. Well, I've not hung up my microphone, and I'm always ready to work and to write every day, and just ready to inspire and encourage someone. 

How do you manage to stay so upbeat and optimistic in the face of all that's going on? 
It's my spirit of gratefulness. I was diagnosed with cancer in 1996, and here I am today being able to witness that Jesus is the same one that heals you today and will heal you tomorrow. He has prepared me, preserved me to be his voice, to really reach the lost, especially the younger generation. 

You and Tommy have been together for ages upon ages. What's the secret to a solid and lasting union like yours? 
First of all, it's commitment. After you fall in love, it's commitment, no matter what happens. The vow says 'Till death do us part' and 'In sickness and in health.' That's what commitment is. There are challenges, there are disagreements, but that doesn't change the fact that we love one another. Disagreements are inevitable, but we can come to a full understanding because at the end of the day, we know that it's about living this life together.

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