By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
IF someone had told Bahamian gospel singer Vanessa Clarke that her summer would turn out the way it did she would have probably not believed them.
From releasing her first book in June, to being invited to perform during the welcome event on Grand Bahama for members of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) just this week, the “Divine Lady”, as she is known, has been experiencing a whirlwind of opportunities over the past few months.
She was invited to participate in the festivities that welcomed Laurie and Matt Crouche from the world’s largest Christian television network. TBN hosted a live recording for its” Praise the Lord” TV programme in Freeport at the Grand Lucaya Resort.
Hundreds of locals and visitors attended, as Laurie and Matt Crouch along with internationally acclaimed gospel ministers Johnathan McKnight, Samuel Rodriguez, Donnie McClurkin and Smokie Norful took to the stage.
A number of Bahamian gospel ministers, including presidents of the Bahamas Christian Council, Dr Ranford Patterson and Pastor Peter Pinder of Grand Bahama, Apostles Henry and Anne Higgins, Pastor Eddie Victor, The Cooling Waters, Simeon Outten & the New Life Singers preached the word.
Vanessa said to be able to perform at the welcome event was a one-of-a-kind experience that she believes will open the door to a number of opportunities.
“It was a wonderful opportunity for me because I got to represent God and the entire country. You cannot pay for the an opportunity like that. Grand Bahama will get a great deal of advertisement because TBN has a viewership of six billion people. So only God can set up an opportunity like that,” she told Tribune Religion.
During the event, Vanessa performed her original song “Crown Him” live for the first time.
“I debuted the song for TBN. I never performed it live so I decided that this was the right time to do so. It was a hit. It got the people dancing, celebrating and worshipping. After the event, Smokey Norful said that he was putting the song on his Twitter page and he is taking it to the world. Other people started encouraging me and told me that I should market it fully because of the attention it will garner on TBN,” she said.
“I also ended up singing a special love song for the Crouches who were celebrating their wedding anniversary.”
Vanessa is currently a news reporter and radio personality on Grand Bahama’s first Christian radio station, Dove 103.7 FM, where she is fondly known as “Divine Lady”. She is also a contributing writer for nation’s first documentary newspaper, The Compass.
In 1996, she became the very first winner of the Bahamas Gospel Music Marlin Awards for Best Female Vocalist and the Coral Award in the same category at the Bahamas Musicians and Entertainers Union Awards that same year.
In January 2005, Vanessa won The People’s Choice Award at the Cacique Awards for the Junkanoo song “Hold On To Jesus”, along with her musical colleagues in Da FAM – Tamika Smith, Kenyatta Taylor and Rocky Solomon.
She is also a founding member of the Seventh Day Adventist gospel sensation Harmonious Praise; she has been a member for nearly 12 years. She wrote, produced and arranged the single “Due Season”, which was released by Harmonious Praise in December 2004.
This group won the 2006 Marlin Award for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance for the song “Due Season” and in December 2005 made history when they were announced the winners of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s First Annual Choir Fest. Vanessa was also a featured lead soloist with another one of the Bahamas’ top gospel groups, Shaback.
“I am very optimistic about what my future looks like. I just launched my book, ‘Ready For Repositioning’, and it has being doing very well. God is doing things and he is doing it fast. I have gotten invitations to travel to Paris and China,” she said.