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Gospel artiste Naomi Raine talks journey with songwriting

Encourages Jamaican acts to collaborate

Published:Sunday | March 26, 2023 | 12:40 AMAaliyah Cunningham - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Grammy Award winner, Naomi Raine, brought praise and worship to Sabina Park recently when she performed at the Well Encounter gospel showcase.
Grammy Award winner, Naomi Raine, brought praise and worship to Sabina Park recently when she performed at the Well Encounter gospel showcase.
Naomi  Raine
Naomi Raine
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Gospel music powerhouse Naomi Raine is known for her ability to touch lives and communicate through her lyrics and melodies. Her ministry through music has impacted many young Christians on their faith walk. The artiste, who performed at the Well Encounter held at Sabina Park last weekend, is a member of songwriting cohort Maverick City, which has won Grammy Awards for their work.

Open about her singing and songwriting process, she shared how she moved from performing at her first concert at age two to now focusing on ensuring that the Kingdom of the Lord is expanded.

“I wrote my first song when I was seven, then I got seriously into songwriting at age 10. My parents bought me a piano and a keyboard and a dry-erase board so I would start writing. For me, all of my songs were about God and what I was feeling. Songwriting has always been a way to express my thought process and what I was going through. It was like another form of prayer. My parents were singers and songwriters as well. So, to me, it just made sense. This is what we do, we write down and we sing what we wrote,” Raine expressed.

Raine said that while her music was focused on self-expression before, now it is about getting others to join in the sanctifying of God through song.

“Now I would say, the reason why I write is because I feel like songs are tools to help people to cope, to believe, and it is inspiration. I look at the songs I write now as a public service. My hope is that, for people who are feeling alone, I can write something to help them understand that they are not alone and that God is with you and He is peace and He is your rock,” she said.

She notes that Jamaica has several gospel music creators, whether musicians, singers or songwriters, composers and producers, and hopes that they will understand the value in coming together to spread the word, as opposed to focusing on doing it alone.

“People look at what we have done with Maverick City ... and we did not start out as a singers, we started out as a group of writers. We are still not a group, we are a group of artistes that come together to sing songs that we have written. I would encourage other songwriters to get with other songwriters. I know we want to write our own songs and say ‘Yea, I wrote every part’, but I think it is better when you get other perspectives and you can come together. I think that is the heart of the community of the Church. I really believe in collaboration, and then, those who are not songwriters, get with people who know they are songwriters but might not be artistes and let’s really work together and put our hands together so that the Kingdom will be enlarged and we can push back the darkness,” Raine reasoned.

Raine is known for tunes such as Pour me Out and Back to Eden.

As she suggested ways to deliver the word of God through song, Raine, who is the mother of two teenagers, also shared that there will always be worldly distractions but, to find Christ, they must distance themselves from interferences.

“The best advice I can give to teenagers trying to seek out the Lord for Himself is to get away from the things that are screaming for your attention and start to quiet yourself and listen for the small, still voice. That’s how I met Him and, when I listen to most people’s stories, they met the Lord in a very special space when something bad happens and we turn to the Lord and He is there. It is in these moments that we find the Lord. I would tell them that, when you feel the worst, or the most depressed, this is an opportunity to hear what the Lord has to say to you. I would also encourage them not to isolate,” she said.

As for bringing in a younger population to the Church through music, she believes that gospel ministers have to remain truthful.

“I would say to the Church to be authentic and real but don’t compromise. I think we believe that, if we change up our message now, that they will receive it a little more, but I actually believe that Gen Z wants authenticity and they want the truth.”

aaliyah.cunningham@gleanerjm.com