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Dawn-Mari stepping into her own

TRE GREAVES, [email protected]

Dawn-Mari stepping into her own

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WHEN DAWN-MARI Springer was first introduced to the nation, she was just two years old. Then she was playing a supporting role as all eyes and ears were fixated on her sister. But now fifteen years later the shoe is on the other foot. Well, the mic is in the other hand.

Before the sixteen-year-old unleashed her vocal chops and dazzled audiences at Honey Jam last year and its sibling show Honey Jazz this past January, her sister Ashli Springer was tugging at heartstrings with her singing abilities.

It matters not that the Springer Memorial student does not remember the moments when her family was featured in a SUNDAY SUN article dated November 25, 2001, and when Ashli was a top pick at the National Independence Festival for the Creative Arts (NIFCA) and stole the headlines in a DAILY NATION article on November 8, 2001, on Ashli’s silver awarding-winning performance of If We Hold On Together and His Eye Is On The Sparrow.


Flashback: Above, a young Dawn-Mari Springer sits on dad Winslow. At right is her mother Kathy while sister Ashli sits in the centre. 

Today, however, Ashli now finds joy in a different line of work.

“When I sang in NIFCA I had people offering me recording contracts but I was more interested in science,” said the Globe Finance employee.  “I’m working in finance which does not make any sense,” she joked, but she said a change was necessary.

“I used to be someone who said I never wanted to work in an office, because I love labs, but I do enjoy what I’m doing now.”

Ashli said her sister’s passion to pursue music as a career outperformed hers. “I love music but I didn’t have the drive and the love that she does to want to be a part of it.”

When Dawn-Mari is not on stage performing she can be found at voice training with veteran vocal trainer Norma Bowen. And the support of their mother and father and Ashli’s encouragement has driven the Honey Jam alum to strive for perfection.

“Once I heard Ashli sing and saw the newspaper clipping, I was like ‘Wow, Ashli really captivated people when she sang’ and from then I knew wanted to be like my sister,” Dawn-Mari said.

WEEKEND BUZZ recently spoke with the two sisters at their Vauxhall, Christ Church home. It was clear to see that they shared a strong bond.

They also share a love for God, as they both grew up singing at Emmanuel Baptist Church where their first stages were set.

As a result, their innate talents were also recognised early. According to the newspaper articles Ashli was three when she first impressed family and friends at an outing. 

Though Dawn-Mari, who lists Adele and Sam Smith as musical inspirations, recalled she first started singing at age 7, Ashli, now 24, said Dawn-Mari was humming on key before then.

“We realised from early that Dawn-Mari had a gift. She has an ear for music. She could hear something once and she would just recall it and she’d always be in the right key, tone and pitch.”

She recalled their mother once sang an original lullaby which Dawn-Mari picked up and sang word for word.

“And that freaked out everybody. I don’t think she was six months yet, and everyone was like, ‘that’s Dawn-Mari’?”

And much like the audiences at Honey Jam were thrilled by her performance of I Could Only Imagine, the girl who “loves getting dressed up and taking pictures”, finds enjoyment in spreading the gospel.

“Whenever I sing gospel in a secular setting I just think of it as me preaching his word and letting people know how good He is and how far He brought us.”

“And Honey Jam allows me to do that,” she added.  In addition she said she enjoys the opportunities the platform has given her including meeting Allison Hinds, Liv (formerly Livvi Franc), as well as the many friends she has gained along the way.

In a few months’ time, the budding gospel singer will be sitting her Caribbean Examinations Council exams. 

This is another area where Ashli has encouraged her to take seriously.

 “I see a lot of young people and I say, ‘Wow, really, that’s your ambition in life?’ It’s sad but we are very supportive of her in her music and we are also realistic in that this is a very challenging field to be successful in because there is always somebody new coming on the scene.

“I told her ‘Yes, go for your music, but you are not going to be one of those girls that all you have is music. Make sure you have something else to fall back on,” Ashli said.