Grammy-nominated gospel singer Jekalyn Carr will use her musical talents to empower Cayman’s youth this weekend.
The Cayman Chapter of the Northern Caribbean University Alumni Association is hosting ‘Gospel Fest 2019’ at the Lions Centre on Sunday, starting at 6:30pm. The event is designed to raise funds for scholarships for Caymanians to attend the university and to inspire and motivate Cayman’s young people to achieve their full potential while maintaining positive core values.
On Thursday, Carr appeared as a special guest at the awards ceremony for students attending Cayman Academy School, held at the Kings Seventh-day Adventist Church on Walkers Road, where she shared her inspirational message.
On Friday, she will join representatives from more than 50 youth organisations across Cayman to speak at the private Cayman Islands Grand Court Youth Convocation from 3:30-6:30pm.
During an interview with the Cayman Compass this week, Carr shared stories about her career and young life and her message for Cayman.
Her whole goal, she said, is to push Cayman’s youth into their own destiny so they can live a prosperous life.
“It’s to let them see who they are and the potential they have to be successful in life,” Carr said. “Despite how they are, despite where they come from, even some who feel like they come from unfortunate situations or backgrounds.”
Carr listens to inspirational messages and music to help her re-group in the times of her anxiety and stresses.
“Nobody has a perfect journey,” she said.
When Carr fell into her destiny, right away she knew it was what she was called to do. She wanted to give people hope and inspire them through her gifts.
The road to stardom
Carr has been singing since the age of 5. She is an American singer, songwriter, author, motivational speaker and preacher and was honoured by Ebony magazine in 2014 as one of the ‘POWER 100’ – the top 100 most influential people in the world.
In 2010, at just age 13, she released her independent song, ‘God Has a Promise Over Your Life’. Two years later, at age 15, she released her first single, ‘Greater Is Coming’. This single got to number 3 on the Billboard Gospel Chart, starting a chain of chart success which saw her later live albums ‘The Life Project’ and ‘One Nation Under God’ debut at number one on Billboard Gospel Albums Chart.
When Carr was 16, she won her first Stellar Award. When she was 18, she was nominated for a Grammy Award. This year, she was nominated for two Grammy Awards and won three Stellar Awards.
Her most recent single, ‘You Will Win’, was released in 2017 and stayed at number one on the Billboard Gospel radio charts for six weeks.
Beyond singing, Carr has also got acting skills. Oprah Winfrey took notice and got her a part in ‘Greenleaf’, the TV series on OWN.
Carr’s favourite song is one of her own, ‘You Won’t See the Wind or the Rain’. In her words, it means you don’t know how God is going to make a way for you.
Carr spends quality time with family. She loves going to the movies and participating in various activities, noting that her parents are her biggest influences in life.
“They have been there to see me grow and become productive,” she said.
She said they never pushed her to do something she was not called to do and that she didn’t want to do. It is her faith that influences her work and drives her.
“You have to keep going and keeping pushing, especially when you have a big vision or big dream,” Carr explained. “Starting out, you don’t know how it is going to work out, but when you have faith and believe in God, it makes things a little bit better.
“You’re not supposed to live in failure and defeat. At some point, that champion in you has to arise and say, ‘No, I am a champion, I am victorious, I am a winner.’”
Carr said in order to build one’s self-esteem, one must stop comparing oneself to other people.
“You have to recognise who you are in your identity and be very confident about that,” she said. “You may not look like someone else, you may not have the voice of the next person, but you have what God has given you. So, therefore, use what you have; let God make it bountiful and beautiful.
“You have to be bold and strong-minded when it comes to what you want to become successful.”
The future looks bright for the young singer. She is expanding her horizons to include a cosmetic line that will be launching soon and although there is no man presently in her life, she feels that patience is key to success and having her own family some day.
“When we wait on God to orchestrate how everything is supposed to be, it goes a bit smoother. Just wait on God,” she concluded.
Tickets for the concert at the Lions Centre are $15 pre-sold and $20 at the gate. Children ages 10-and-under are free. Gates open at 4:30pm and the concert starts at 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased from a number of local retailers including Funky Tang’s, Valu-Med Pharmacy, Bellagio Salon & Spa and Campbell’s Auto Repair.