Music playing on Jamal’s mind
By Natasha Beckles | Sun, May 06, 2012 - 11:20 AM
When you meet Jamal Slocombe, it is clear that his maturity and professionalism are well advanced beyond his years.
The Coleridge & Parry School student who turned 15 last month is serious about his singing, his education and his interest in helping young people.
When he met with the SUNDAY SUN one evening last week at his St Peter home, the fourth former said he had been singing for almost eight years and, like many vocalists, had started out in the church.
“A family member had died. I was young then and I was a bit anxious and I wanted to sing but no one really knew that I was a singer. However, they gave me a go and they were very impressed,” he said.
The Peace Ambassador continues to sing in the church, blessing the congregation of St Philip The Less Anglican Church in Boscobel, also in St Peter, with his voice.
Admittedly not a fan of “new singing”, Jamal favours traditional, jazz, soul and gospel. He attributes this to the music his grandmother Pauline Hall played at home.
“I’m a fan of old music like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. My grandmother would play singers like Dolly Parton and Whitney Houston,” he said.
Currently being vocally trained and mentored by Carlyn Leacock, Jamal has also had the opportunity to work with Kareen Clarke, Toni Norville, Ria Borman and Ronnie Morris.
He has performed at a number of shows, including Mum This One’s For You, the Sandy Lane Gold Cup, the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) Championships and the NIFCA Gala. At the age of nine he represented his parish in the Spirit Of The Nation show.
Last year, he made it to the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) semi-finals with a song written by teenager Tremaine Wilson, the son of disc jockey Verseewild.
Jamal noted that music has had a significant impact on his life.
“It has built my confidence, being on stage in front of thousands of people,” he said.
The teen noted that whenever he goes on stage he tries to send a message of peace and to cause others to feel the presence of God.
Not resting on his accomplishments to date, Jamal, who is learning to play the flute, has a few projects in the pipeline.
“I have an upcoming performance at Soca Jazz and Kareen Clarke is co-writing a song with me.
“I’m also doing a short film and it will feature some of the popular faces on the music scene and social scene in Barbados,” he said, declining to provide further details.
Aside from his own singing career, Jamal is managing director of Dolce Barbados, a non-profit production and management venture run by young people, solely for the benefit of young artistes, including the upcoming Ellimac and the SunRize band.
Unsurprisingly, Jamal has a Plan B just in case singing “doesn’t work out”. He wants to be a journalist.
“I’m going to do mass communication at Barbados Community College and then go to City University London,” he said confidently.
It may seem like he has a lot on his plate but Jamal said he has found a way to balance all his activities.
In fact, he said there’s room for “lots more work”, including an extended play (EP) recording which is in progress.
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