Star power gospel
Producer Morris tells of dream show for God
The first ever Queens Of Gospel music event, which combines the extraordinary talents of a specially selectedarray of local and international singing stars, will come to the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex on February 21 and 22 next year.
Organized by Gold Coast Records, the producers of the annual prestigious Barbados Music Awards, the Queens Of Gospel features a jaw-dropping cast of Grammy Award winners CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child and Erica Campbell of Mary Mary. Together, these icons have won 19 Grammys and have sold over 100 million records worldwide.
Executive producer Ronnie Morris says the once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza brings a level of star power to the Wildey Gymnasium
over two days that could rival any gospel –– or secular show, for that matter –– staged anywhere in the Caribbean.
The Barbadian cast is also awe-inspiring. Former Richard Stoute Teen Talent winner Laurianne will perform her smash hit Believe, as she showcases on the night just days before jetting off to the United States for a major tour. Gospel legend Sister Marshall, award-winning songstress Toni Norville, BMA nominee Neesha Woodz and the event’s hostess Paula Hinds (who will share duties with Norville and Woodz) make for a who’s who of Barbadian gospel.
“There are others we wanted, but then we decided that we want to make this event an annual event, so we held back on connecting with other Barbadian gospel powerhouses such as Alison Norville, Jan Gibson, Carlyn Leacock, and thelist goes on and on, with respect to future editions,” Morris said.
There are also economic benefits to Barbados which weighed heavily on the producer’s mind.
“We hired a team of six persons for two months for this event, and our temporary staff requirements for the two shows [including the BMA Awards on January 11], inclusive of ushers, technical personnel, security, etcetera will exceed 240 persons. But the benefits for Barbados go way beyond that.
“Queens Of Gospel and the tenth annual Barbados Music Awards are funded entirely by foreign exchange from our investors in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. So there will be no drain on the island’s purse,” Morris pointed out.
“Added to that,” he stressed, “is the fact that we believe that Queens Of Gospel will attract close to 3,000 visitors from the Caribbean and beyond, and if they spend BDS$3,000 each while here on hotels, food, event tickets, transportation and shopping, that’s $9 million for this island, and coupled with the BMAs, which we believe will attract 300, we could close in on $4 million for Barbados.
“And that was really a motivating factor for us; and we are very, very confident this will happen, based on the groups already booking from Dominica, Denmark, the UK, Canada, and the USA. But Guyana and Trinidad are way out front so far. The numbers are blowing our minds right now,” Morris boasted.
There is also the fact the major players in Hollywood and the music business are coming in for the event, and Morris is hoping they will invest in the island’s real estate.
“We have, for example, a huge female Hollywood star, huge, who is coming for the BMAs, but we are not allowed to advertise her name. The executives and investors who are already coming could do wonders for the island, especially if they see the villas on sale here. I’m hoping that these events can make a difference.”
Morris said the motivation behind the Queens Of Gospel was attributed to his roots in the church.
“I started my career in music in church. I moved between the Adventist, Anglican, Evangelical, Wesleyan and many others trying to understand the Word, and fully examine the differences between each church I visited. I always wanted to produce a major gospel event; but I had to wait until the time was right, because if I do something to worship and praise God, it has to be bigger, grander, more major than any event I have ever done before –– because He is worthy.
“Our aim is for the saved to join hands with each and every man and woman who comes to this event to be uplifted and to be blessed.
I myself need the prayers; I’m human, not even near to being perfect, and I have been through enough to script an entire Tyler Perry series. But when thousands of saints are gathered, who knows what can happen?”