Interview And Music Of Christian Urban/Contemporary Musical Artist "Sherwin Gardner" 11/28/2017 At 8:00 PM CST. 9:00 PM EST.
Special Guest Christian Urban/Contemporary Musical Artist "Sherwin Gardner"
Time: 8:00 PM CST. 9:00 PM EST.
For over a dozen years, Trinidad & Tobago’ s native son, Sherwin Gardner, has been a humble but immensely influential leader in Caribbean praise and worship music. The 9x Marlin Award (The Caribbean’s equivalent to the Stellar Gospel Music Award) winner has built an extraordinary presence throughout the region with Reggae, Dancehall and Soca-styled gospel music. He has sixteen albums to his credit and is known for popular songs such as “I Worship You,” “Leaning (Lion of Zion)” and “He Died For Me.” Gardner is now on a mission to expand his base internationally with a new album “Greater” (Flow Masters/Tyscot) that features the inspiring new worship anthem, “Because of You,” which is now receiving global radio airplay.
“Because of You” isn’t just a melody. It’s also a testimony for Gardner who might not have been alive today had it not been for his mother’s faith. In 1979, doctors feared his mother, Merle, a pastor, had cancer so they subjected her to a battery of tests, including a barium meal. The results were negative but a few weeks later; she learned she was pregnant during that period of time. “The doctor said she needed to abort the child because the radiation would have hurt the baby,” Gardner says. She agreed to abort the baby but the night before the procedure, she said that God questioned her on what right she had to take a life, so she decided not to abort the child. “I could have been born crippled or deformed,” he says. “She chose life even though doctors told her the child wouldn’t live and if it did, it would be messed up.”
“That’s part of my backbone to stay faithful to Christ because he was faithful to me even from my birth,” says Gardner who was born with no complications on February 14, 1979 in Arima, Trinidad & Tobago. His dad was a welder/tailor. His grandfather, Ivan Patterson, was a Bishop in the New Testament denomination, and his uncle, Kennedy Patterson, was one of the top gospel artists at the time. The prayers of Gardner ‘s mother predestined his avocation. He would cry often as a baby so every time he cried, his mother would say, “Open your mouth and sing unto the Lord.” She would call the name of a country and then, she’d say that country was calling him to worship. Three decades later, Gardner’s been called to worship all over the world.
Gardner’s musical gifts were nurtured early. “We had this little competition at my house with all my cousins and we were singing for biscuits and I sang, `We Are the World.’ My uncle said that I could really sing.” The next day, Gardner was singing at church for the first time and soon, he was singing at churches all over the island, He started to play the piano at the age of seven and when he was twelve, he started to write his own songs. Although, he enjoyed the music of American gospel artists such as Kirk Franklin, Byron Cage and Fred Hammond; he wanted to exhibit his Caribbean culture when he recorded his first album, “Power in the Name,” in 1996.
“That whole album was done on a cassette recorder,” Gardner says. “We didn’t have a big budget. When I started to travel, I’d buy a piece of equipment to build my own studio. I started with Logic software and then went to Q Base. “ When the project was done, he sent the cassette to DJ Jamie Thomas at Trinidad’s only gospel radio station at the time, Family Focus Broadcasting. In spite of some airplay, many rejected the music. “When I started gospel Reggae, everyone was against it because we didn’t have Papa San yet,” he says. “He was still singing in the world at that time.
Everything that would come from America was accepted. Everything that was Dancehall, Reggae or Soca was considered secular so the people would never give it a chance because they identified the style of music as secular. They were just listening to the beat instead of to the lyrics.”
Gardner was touring the country of Grenada when he was a guest on a radio program where he was confronted by a listener who called in to complain about his music. “The man asked why I was bringing this devil music to Grenada?,” he recalls. He challenged the caller to come to the concert and tell him after the show was done if he still felt it was the devil’s music. “So, he came and saw so many young people’s lives touched and changed that he came up and apologized,” Gardner recalls.
In the midst of Trinidad’s initial rejection of his music, an executive from the secular VP Records label took note of Gardner’s appeal and started courting him when he was 19 years old. “They said you just have to take out all of the Jesus stuff,” he remembers an executive telling him. “There were all these big secular Reggae artists at the time like Jah Cure, Sizzla. They wanted me to sing what those guys were singing about Jah, ladies and love and stuff like that. That just wasn’t happening for me.” He turned the offer down and wrote a song about his decision, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” It made the news. “A lot of people thought I was really crazy for turning it down,” he says. “I wasn’t always perfect, but I never strayed from my foundation. “
“Nicki Minaj is from Trinidad,” Gardner explains. “Rhianna is from Barbados. If I was doing secular, I’d already be signed because I turned down contracts before but I want these people to see that God can do exceedingly and abundantly above what you can think if you stay planted in Him. I didn’t have to go to with world, I didn’t have to do anything secular to catapult my career and then comeback to gospel. I stayed within the kingdom. I was faithful to God.”
Gardner didn’t let rejection stop him though. He kept pumping out albums and DJ Jamie Thomas became a friend, as well as, a supporter. “Jamie used to do this party concert and he would feature my group. We did a concert in Tobago and he recorded it and began to play the music on the air and it really helped build our name. He was really responsible for pushing us and with him playing it, others started playing it, even non-Christian stations.” Eventually, Gardner was signed to Christafari Records (a Reggae gospel label) and started enjoying hits such as “Babylon” and “Hotter Than A Fire.” However, it was “I Worship You,” which propelled him to the top in the 2001-2002 period and earned him his first Marlin Award, making him the first non-Jamaican to earn Song of the Year.
“At that point, people started seeing the young people following us and getting the positive message and that’s when their attitudes started to change about Reggae gospel,” Gardner explains. “It also helped a lot when Papa San got saved and was signed to Gospocentric Records. That was a big deal because it was an American company sanctioning this music and it helped us who were already doing Caribbean gospel music to have more credibility.”
The hits kept on coming. “Leaning (Lion of Zion)” brought Gardner even greater acclaim and was an international success. He won the Most Impacting Artist Award at the Flame Gospel Awards in Barbados. In 2003, Gardner formed his own record label, Flow Masters. “In the Caribbean, we always say if you have a good musical flow its like from Heaven,” he says. “We named the company Flow Masters because we used to say we’re the masters of flows. We have years of building that brand.”
The Flow Masters brand was further burnished by Gardner’s 2003 radio release, “He Died For Me (Hamalhamadla),” which spent a staggering twenty-one weeks at No. 1 on the Caribbean gospel charts. The upbeat song with East Indian influences, earned him 2004’s Gospel Songwriter of the Year by the Copyright Organization of Trinidad & Tobago (COTT), the island’s most prestigious performing rights organization.
Over the years, Gardner has spent time in the USA, working with various churches, as well as, sharing stages with the likes of CeCe Winans and Israel Houghton. He has also collaborated with the likes of Jonathan Nelson, Papa San, Christafari, Monty G and DJ Nicholas. Gardner now feels its time to expand his ministry with the new album, “Greater.” It shines with a universal rhythm. The rocking “New Life” should appeal to those who aren’t fans of island music. However, there are still upbeat tracks such as “Trouble,” “I’m A Winner,” and “Praises Never Stop” which all boast a riveting Caribbean backbeat. There are also soulful mashups with Deitrick Haddon and Todd Dulaney. The warm, acoustic guitar of “Because of You” has some people comparing Gardner to America’s current No. 1 gospel hit-maker, Travis Greene.
“That’s been Sherwin’s style for years and years,” says Gardner’s manager, Rev. Veryl Howard, of the comparisons. “Sherwin isn’t imitating anyone. He has his own unique style of worship that has put him in the forefront in the Caribbean. ”If Bob Marley and John Legend met Kirk Franklin, that would be me,” Gardner says. “Bob Marley is the Caribbean – he’s the Reggae. John Legend is soul and he has that deep soul sound and Kirk is gospel. Now, I have so much gospel in me that I have to bring that out as well like a chocolate bar mixed up with caramel.”
DISCOGRAPHY & FAST FACTS
SELECTED RADIO CHART HITS
2017 Because of You #28 Billboard Gospel Airplay Chart
2009 I Made It #1 on Gospel Radio in Kenya
2009 I Will Survive Top Ten on MTV Africa Chart
2004 He Died For Me (Hamalhamadla) #1 Caribbean Gospel (21 weeks)
2017 Greater (Flow Masters Records/Tyscot)
2015 Fixer (Flow Masters Records)
2011 Relentless (Lion of Zion/Flow Masters Records)
2010 Borderless (Lion of Zion/Flow Masters Records)
2008 Gospelreggae Christmas (Flow Masters Records}
2007 Elevation (Flow Masters Records)
2006 Turn It Up Volume 1 (Flow Masters Records)
2004 Who I Am (Flow Masters Records)
2001 Revelation Unfold (Flow Masters Records)
2014 Venticinco (Flow Masters Records)
2013 Nacent (Lion of Zion/Flow Masters Records)
2003 Closer (Flow Masters Records)
2002 Leaning (Lion Of Zion Entertainment)
2000 I’d Rather Jesus (Judah Sounds)
1999 100% Sold Out (Judah Sounds)
1998 Power in the Name
Flame Gospel Awards
2001 Most Impacting Gospel Artist of the Year
2017 Soca Recording of the Year: Di Road
2017 International Recording of the Year: On the Way
2014 Soca/Song of the Year
2004 Calypso/Soca Vocalist of the Year: We Now Start
2004 Foreign Language Recording of the Year
2004 Reggae Recording of the Year
2004 Recording Engineer of the Year
2004 Song of the Year
2002 Outstanding Male Contemporary Vocalist of the Year
2004 Gospel Songwriter of the Year
2003 Gospel Songwriter of the Year
Book Sherwin contact Faith Management - Apostle Veryl Howard at 910-644-1824
Also if anyone wants to book him on radio or magazine contact Min. Tara at 919-924-2313
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