Ah call for dis!
That declaration from gospel singer Joanna Williams-Joseph, also known as Kingdom Artiste, has been on repeat in many a Christian household ever since the release of her hit single, “Call for Dis”, nine months ago.
Williams-Joseph attributes her musical success to her personal spiritual growth in finally being able “to let go and fully trust in God”.
“Joanna is a very strong, determined person and learning to relinquish control for me has been the most difficult thing I ever had to do. It’s me recognising that my soul is worth more than life can offer, and because of this, I let God’s word direct my path,” the Moruga-born singer told the Express during a virtual exchange yesterday.
“Musically, my journey has been nothing short of amazing,” she chirped.
“It’s me living my purpose, doing what I was created to do. I’ve seen God use me - someone society wrote off - to change lives, encourage hearts and draw people closer to Christ Jesus.
Getting spirituality and musical direction in sync is crucial to the success of a gospel artiste, she said.
“Music is not just me singing a song. The Holy Spirit guides my music. From writing, to which producer I’ll work with, to timing of songs being released. Basically, my music is ministry, fulfilment of purpose, which governs the bigger picture from works to rest.
“The message between the two is simply this: I can make music, but without the leading of the Holy Spirit, all my doings will be in vain. So it’s safe to say that without Christ, I’m nothing,” she smiled.
A time to reflect
Williams-Joseph says she plans to do a lot of self-reflection this Easter weekend. It’s a time she believes everyone should be acutely aware of the selfless act of Jesus Christ and examine their own lives to discover what personal sacrifices they are prepared to make. It is also a time for family, she added.
“Easter, to me, is reflecting on the sacrifice Jesus would have made for me. It shows his selflessness towards humanity. It also gives me the opportunity to examine my life and the willingness I possess to sacrifice for him.
“I’m also trying to watch as many of the movies with my family, but I’ll definitely do less moving around, in terms of visiting relatives in respect of the pandemic,” she said.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has posed several challenges, both financially and logistically, for the talented singer. She maintains however that she has taken many positive life lessons out of the experience.
“I’ve learnt how to make do with what I have and appreciate the little things in life. Most importantly, I’ve learnt how to trust God and truly take him at his word. Financially, I couldn’t have made it without the providing arm of Christ Jesus. I saw him come through for me so much so that I believe I ate more during the lockdown than when things we normal,” she joked.
“Creatively, it was difficult,” she continued more seriously.
“I just stayed in prayer, allowed God to take over my writing and when he saw it fit, he made way for meet-ups to take place. Honestly, hope in Christ was what got me through. Knowing that he is in charge made all the uncertain moments but a far thought. Knowing that he already won kept me wanting to praise him through music,” she added.
Women must be revered
Williams-Joseph says she has been deeply pained by the rise in violent crimes against women in Trinidad and Tobago.
Several demonstrations and vigils have been held throughout the country following the recent murders of Ashanti Riley, 18, and Andrea Bharatt, 23. Bharatt reportedly never made it home after taking a taxi to her Arima home on January 29. The court clerk’s semi-nude body was discovered a week later off a precipice in Aripo. Riley went missing in similar circumstances on November 29 last year. Her nude body was found on December 4 at a watercourse in La Canoa, Santa Cruz.
Earlier this month, bakery supervisor Adeina Alleyne, 36, was allegedly hacked to death by her husband, Dwight Waldropt, at the couple’s San Fernando home, in full view of their three children, ages seven, two and three months. Waldropt was found hanging by a cord tied to ventilation bricks in the washroom area of the building.
Williams-Joseph argued that real change can only be achieved through a biblical understanding of the place of reverence a woman should hold in the hearts and minds of men.
“As a woman, it brings me so much pain to read these gruesome headlines. I think that the only way violence against women will stop is when those who commit these crimes understand Christ’s blueprint for women. A woman is to be loved as Christ loves the church, but one would only know this if they are taught the word of God.
“I’m saying that crime against women will stop only when the man understands her purpose and his duty to her. It’s sad and my heart goes out to all those beautiful souls that left us,” she said.
Music is a potent vehicle to carry those very messages, she says. Unfortunately, popular music is often pervaded by too many negative voices. Willams-Joseph says she plans to actively do her part to change that equation, one song at a time.
“We seem to live in an age where music and negativity seem to walk hand in hand. My music, and by extension my ministry, hopes to break that link between negativity and music and create a positive, uplifting playlist for all. If we flood the airwaves with positive musical messages, then negativity has no choice but to go.
“For me, my mission for the remainder of 2021 is to flood the airwaves with music that boosts the souls of mankind. My goal is to do a lot of street ministry. I believe that church is like my gas station, the real work is out there. I plan to do a lot of evangelical work, taking it one step at a time, with Christ in front. My mission is to save souls,” she concluded.