Glendon Jones using reggae to get youths closer to God
HE HAS BEEN asking God to place in his heart and mouth the lyrics necessary to carry the message of the Gospel, and his prayers are being answered.
Glendon Jones, known among friends as Brother Glen, is in the final stages of work on his debut gospel album and, having come a long way from his days as a budding dub artiste in the Revodubolution competition, now wants to use his talent to win souls.
“When I was in the world, I took part in Revodubolution and performed a few times in the Frontline night club on Bay Street. Since being saved six years ago, I have been asking God to put into my mouth and my head lyrics to carry the message so that young people, who might not go to church or tune into certain radio stations, can relate to my songs,” said the reggae gospel artiste.
“I want to catch the youths because they are considered lost. They do not go to church, but by hearing my message they can relate to it and grow from there,” he added.
The Vincentian-born Jones has been writing songs since his school days at the Garrison Secondary, and has written a few for other artistes over the years.
As he recalled, if any incident occurred at school, he could write a song about it and then sing it in his infectious DJ “dub” style.
Jones is still a work in progress, and is being inspired not only by his strong faith in God but by the encouraging response from friends and workmates. “They love it, and some want a copy of the CD when it is finished,” he told WE.
Of Brother Glen’s album of a dozen-plus songs, six have been already produced and engineered in Jamaica, and he now has plans to work with local producers as well.
“I want to finish the project before year-end and do a formal launch,” he stated. “So far I have taken two tracks to the radio stations: Run De Race and Jehovah Jireh.”
The former is a collaboration with Jamaican dancehall gospel artiste Gallimore, and speaks to the race which each Christian must run. It basically compares the gaining of Salvation to a lifelong race where one must endure to the end. It’s not a sprint or quick fix, added Brother Glen.
Jehovah Jireh, translated from Hebrew as God My Provider, is a song that denotes total dependence upon the Almighty. “Don’t mind your economic situation, just trust God – this is my experience, but it is also relevant to others, especially in these recessionary times,” was how he put it.
The album, entitled Road To Damascus, will feature tracks highlighting issues such as marriage and survival in the midst of emotional and economic storms.
Road To Damascus, the title track, is still to be recorded and takes its context from the Apostle Paul’s revelation in the Book of Acts.
“Personally,” said Jones, “it’s that point where Jesus intervenes in your life, when you cry out to Him after having had enough. The song is about my Damascus experience – everyone has it, whether it’s a battered wife, alcoholic, drug addict….”
Jones said he had always held a strong belief in God but like most youths, bowed to peer pressure. Yet, his greatest fear remained the possibility of dying without being saved – facing Judgement and not being covered by the Blood.
“Then one Sunday my girlfriend invited me to church, and I went along to accommodate her. The Spirit of the Lord met me there and has not left me since,” he recalled, noting that the church, Power In The Blood, is where he and his girlfriend – now his wife – have remained.
“What I encountered there changed me. We were married there on July 25 that year and exactly a month later we were baptized together,” he said, as his face lit up at the memory.
A full-time house painter, his influences in reggae gospel include local singer, writer and producer Njeri, De Warrior, as well as Jamaican DJs Nicholas, Prodigal Son and Gallimore.
“My [Christian] walk has been challenging at times but more and more God has revealed Himself. It’s a learning process. I have no regrets. It’s a joy to walk with God and see Him cause things to unfold each day,” said the father of two.
As for his recording, the process has been enlightening.
“One of the gains of artistes working beyond their own countries is to feed off each other’s cultures. For example, I learned a whole lot in terms of my approach to dancehall music while in Jamaica. By the same token, others from outside Barbados can learn much from the way we play our music, including ragga soca,” he explained.
After this Damascus project, he plans to minister wherever the Gospel takes him.
“ In fact, I wouldn’t mind my music playing on the secular radio stations if I can get the DJs to play it,” Jones added.