One bible scripture completely changed Jahziel “Jahzy” Daniell’s perspective on life.
The gospel singer/radio presenter toed the line between a religious and secular lifestyle for years, going to church on Sundays and working on urban radio throughout the week.
Hovering between the two worlds, however, often left him feeling conflicted. That was until one day, during his third reading of the Holy Bible, a passage in the book of Revelation forever changed his life.
“Since I’ve known myself it’s been spirituality and music. As I grew older I found that at times they conflicted. I was actually an on-air presenter on the #1 Urban Radio station and it was by this time I had already read the Bible, one chapter a day, from cover to cover about three times,” the animated singer started saying during a WhatsApp exchange with the Kitcharee on Wednesday.
“I was in Revelation one day. Some know John 3:16 but Revelation 3:15-16 basically says if you are lukewarm God will vomit you out,” he continued.
“For me it was very vivid yet awakening as I was actually living a lukewarm life based on the conviction from the Holy Spirit. I was reading scripture yet not sold out on what I was reading,” he said.
The University of the West Indies Biology and Chemistry graduate said he first started reading the Bible in 2004 as a form two student of Queen’s Royal College, after being given a copy of the holy book by this father. Music was also a part of his early upbringing being the grandson of music historian Alvin Daniell and the nephew of iconic reggae DJ Lion King.
“Eventually music and my spirituality conflicted, but they converged. I left urban radio and party life as such. I was now able to share the message of Jesus via reggae, dancehall, soca and hip-hop as an announcer on a new gospel frequency. I’m now using these genres to perpetuate the gospel as not just an announcer but a recording artiste. It’s fulfilling and purposeful,” he said.
A solemn time
This Easter is a solemn occasion for Jahzy for more than one reason. He usually uses the period to reflect on the life, death and resurrection of his lord and saviour Jesus Christ which is sobering in itself. But the added challenges of the ongoing global pandemic has called for even greater introspection, he said.
“The pandemic affected so many things. Firstly, condolences to all who have lost loved ones due to this virus. My daughter was born right before the lockdown, so on a personal level, my wife and I bonded with her. We still managed to keep our jobs and God provided.
“I work in media so it was unique for me. I was still out there from time to time giving updates and even bringing hope in a most uncertain time. What affected us a lot was not being able to visit our relatives. They wanted to see our daughter and that was difficult. But we had to do that for mutual benefit and for the country’s benefit,” he said.
Jahzy said he was productive during the lockdown periods of the pandemic, however. He released his debut album HOME last year, the first virtual album to be launched locally during the pandemic.
“Done in early May it reached over 30,000 on online platforms. I can recall doing a dance challenge on social media that went viral for a song I did with Marc Isaacs entitled “Dancey”. We got submissions from USA, Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, St Vincent, Germany and more. This seemed to have brought a lot of joy in such a painful time. I also got an award for work done at GMATT (Gospel Music Awards of Trinidad and Tobago) put on by Celian International and Music TT,” he said.
Heartbroken over rise in violence against women
Jahzy says he is truly heartbroken over the recent rise in violent acts against women in T&T. The emotional singer said the recent horrific murders of Ashanti Riley, 18, and Andrea Bharatt, 23, has greatly affected him as a new father.
“What’s happening on the island is heartbreaking. I remember my belly churning when I saw Andrea Baratt’s dad discovering his child’s body. I felt it from a dad’s perspective as I am a new dad. I cannot feel what he felt but boy is he strong. I want to say that he is an inspiration and I pray the Lord keeps him,” Jahzy said.
In the same breath he issued a call for men to stand up and be better fathers, brothers, sons and husbands.
“I really want to call on fathers to step up. I personally think that if the men stand up, especially the fathers then we can see a positive change. I call on the men to introspect and be accountable especially in our actions toward women and our nurturing of generations,” he said.
Music has a role to play in not only soothing hearts and souls, but also in helping to foster the right kind of thoughts in the minds of men, Jahzy added.
“There is a new song from (gospel act) Brandon Best entitled “Accountable”. I believe music has a strong role in society. To me, words are powerful, thoughts are powerful and music is such a powerful vehicle to carry these messages that can inform behaviour. Think about it, I know for me I can repeat a line from a song for days, just ask my wife,” he said with a wry smile.
Jahzy says he is determined to practise what he preaches and be a living example of someone who sends only positive messages through his music. He challenged other artistes to be more conscious of the messages they are sending through their music.
“I’d say aim for positivity, one can still share their story and point persons, especially the youth in a positive direction.
“My music can challenge norms and I seek to bring it from a biblical perspective, one hinged on the principle of love. Because God is love. And I can still grow as an artiste. It can get you thinking about this God, this love and challenge change or even challenge one to be better as we all are a work in progress,” he concluded.
Follow Jahzy’s love movement @Jahzy on Youtube/Spotify/iTunes and @jahzythevoice on Instagram.