All the way with her God-given talent
She has the voice of an angel РР and grand dreams!
Seventeen-year-old Ashawnya Bellamy already has an international performance under her belt, and is well on the way to doing bigger things in the entertainment industry. And, if all goes well, this easy-going beauty with a powerful voice should have a very successful career.
Over the Independence holidays, Ashawnya was invited by the Barbados Consul General in New York Dr Donna Hunte-Cox to perform at a pre-Independence extravaganza.
For the former Alexandra School student, this was an experience of a lifetime.
“I was accompanied by Jeff Broomes and my mum. It was such an exciting feeling to be invited to sing in New York. My grandmother even came to support. I felt so honoured!
“It was my first winter that I could remember, and I stayed at the Consul General’s house. At the show I sang My two strong point songs РР Still I Rise and And I Am Telling You. It was the best experience I have had in life.
“The stage was huge. The lights were so bright! And the acoustics in the room were on point. That performance was the best I have had yet,” the young singer said with pride.
Ashawnya also got the opportunity to perform at a church. This, she said, made her New York trip even more remarkable.
“. . . I sang Hallelujah at the St Mark’s Baptist Church as members took Communion. It was great!” she said.
This performance definitely secured in Ashawnya’s mind that she wanted to stick with music and take it as far as she could. And she is determined to see her dreams come true.
Long before she got on that plane to New York, the young one knew she wanted to be onstage entertaining crowds.
“I started singing at age seven; but that was in the shower,” she said with a laugh, adding: “I originally began singing in the church at age 11 where I stood in front of a congregation for the first time. It was a frightening experience, but I received a standing ovation for the first time . . . . I was so proud of myself,” the Barbados Community College student said.
But her first big break came when she performed to a wider public for the first time at NIFCA.
“Paula from the New Dimensions Ministries Church in Barbarees Hill believed in me, and trained and helped me prepare for the wonderful rendition of Alabaster Box, the song that got me started on my singing journey. I received a bronze medal for the rendition,” she said.
It was also that year that she joined the Alexandra Beacons, and they also won a bronze medal. Ashawnya offered special thanks to Shernell Clarke who was the director of the choir at the time.
“Special thanks goes out to Shernell Clarke, formerly Greaves, for warmly welcoming me into the select group, which was a smaller one from the big choir; and also for allowing me to have experiences on stages at various events such as Love Poetry And Song, BMAs, at hotels, and much more. During My years at Alexandra, I entered the annual inter-house singing competition in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, where I placed fifth , third, second and first respectively.
“I then performed at the 2013 Barbados Music Awards with the Beacons Select, where we opened the show and were background vocalists for Cissy Houston,” Ashawnya said proudly.
She also enjoys the wonderful support of her mother, who is her “everything”.
“My mum is my hero; she supports me in everything that I do; she is at every performance. I just love the support,” she said.
After her whirlwind at the Alexandra School, which she enjoyed, Ashawnya then moved on to the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School where she propelled her music career even farther.
“I got a warm welcome from Jeff Broomes, the principal; Sheldon Hope, the choir director; and Randy Eastmond, the band director. I was a member of the Revolution Band at Parkinson, and I had many experiences onstage; and I got to explore different genres, where before I only sang gospel.
“I then entered the interschool singing competition, and placed third with the song And I Am Telling You by Jennifer Hudson РР chosen by Sheldon Hope who saw the potential in me. I was then asked by Stephanie Chase who had recorded my performance to perform at her show Miss Humanity International, where I sang Yet Still I Rise by Yolanda Adams and And I Am Telling You . . . . This was yet another great performance,” she explained.
Ashawnya has also benefited from voice training lessons, which she thinks has helped her singing ability.
“Mrs Clarke then lead me to the NCF voice training programme, where I met Rochelle Griffith who voice-trained me. Thanks to her for believing in me,” she added.
Ashawnya too looks up to international singer Fantasia Barrino.
“Fantasia inspires me because she just knows how to make you feel what she is singing and how her voice just commands an audience is just so inspirational,” she said.
Over the years, the charming singer said, her confidence had been boosted tremendously, and she was thankful for all the help she had received thus far.
In terms of her music career, Ashawnya said: “I plan to keep using this God-given gift to me, and see how far it takes me.”