‘God will never leave or forsake us’ - Kevin Downswell says Jamaica will be stronger after COVID-19
Everyone's journey is unique, and no matter how long and hard that journey is, Jamaicans show resilience every step of the way. This is what makes them special as a people. Though the journey might be long and hard, as a nation of tallawah people, Jamaica has always risen above challenges, even in the midst of COVID-19.
The same can be said for locally grown, now international gospel artiste Kevin Downswell who, in light of the pandemic, has a message for Jamaica as it approaches 58 years of emancipendence.
"We will be stronger, we'll get through this together!" is the anthem Downswell chants in the remix of his popular song Stronger, in which he joined with quick-service restaurant giants KFC Jamaica and some of the island's biggest artistes, including Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Tessanne Chin, Chris Martin, and Wayne Marshall, to create a message of positivity.
"The song has found a way to connect with many people, and I think it was important to remix and reintroduce it as a song of unity and togetherness - something that will help us get through this season and provide hope," said Downswell of the remixed Stronger.
Emphasising the need for togetherness and unity as Jamaica approaches Independence Day, Downswell said that he wanted to remind the people of Jamaica that this situation is temporary and will soon pass. "We will find a way to make this better. We need to recognise that God is with us no matter what, and He promises to never leave or forsake us."
Reflecting on what gives him strength, Downswell goes back to the days of his childhood in Westmoreland when he first started singing and developing his passion for music. As he got older, he made it his mission to inspire others through his music. Since then, his life has been a reflection of patience, strength, and persistence.
"We had to use kerosene oil with our Home Sweet Home lamps and had to go across the bushes to get dasheen, ackee, and mangoes for food. That is how I grew up. Ferris is very dear to me." While that way of living may not seem ideal to many, it's a reality many Jamaicans share, something that ties into their strength as a people and one that he is very fond of. Despite being raised by both of his parents in separate homes, he acknowledges his mother for shaping him into the man he is today. "I have gained over 90 per cent of who I am from my mother. I do thank God for my father because he has contributed in many ways, but it's my mother who I celebrate as my hero."