RG360: Welcome Chevelle! Thank you for taking the time out for this interview with us. How are you?
CF: I’m doing really well thank God, and the pleasure is all mine to be speaking with you.
RG360: Congratulations on the release of your two new singles “Go In Your Strength” and bonus track “iPrevail” It’s a fresh new sound from you Chevelle, what was the inspiration behind both songs.?
CF: The inspiration behind both songs is really about encouraging people to not lose hope because God is fighting for us and that through His shed blood we prevail. The songs also reminds us of who we are in Him. These are songs of declarations that will go before us and breakdown walls. Break walls of fear, anxiety and panic. God who’s not just called us, but has chosen us will never abandon us, all that we need He is. He’s our Maker, Keeper, Deliver and Healer. In this difficult time, he’s still King of all Kings, just trust Him to finish what He’s started in our lives.
RG360: In interviews, you speak passionately about the talent and relationships made in South Africa, hence the birth of your forthcoming album South Wind Vol 1. Who are the main contributors to the making of the album? the inspiration behind the naming of the album, and the overall theme.?
CF: I can tell you exactly where I was when God gave me the name of the album, me and my husband was sitting on a flight waiting to leave South Africa when he said babes, what are we going to name the album. And like a rush in my spirit came the name ‘South Wind’, immediately I fell in love with it and right away I knew that’s the name God wanted for it. So I went to look up where the South Wind comes from, and this is what I’ve found.
Job 37:17 Why are your garments hot, When He quiets the earth by the south wind?
The South Wind brings calm, it brings out fragrance because of its heat.
The Co-producers on this project are Nqubeko Mbatha and Mojalefa ‘Mjakes’ Thebe, two of South Africa’s leading producers, the project also features one of SA’s best singers Ntokozo Mbambo.
RG360: Your story of how you became a Christian is an inspiring and bold one. For those who have not heard your testimony, please share this life-changing moment for you.
CF: I started out doing secular music and for years, I was traveling as young as sixteen years old. I was very determined to make something good of myself being that I came out of great poverty. The closer I got to all the people that I wanted to be like, I realized all the money in the world and fame could not complete them. Some of them were really not happy, and I knew that God is what they needed, but that the hand of the enemy was strong on their lives.
In the year 1997 I got a very huge song which was a soundtrack for a movie Dancehall Queen, and due to the success of the movie I got a record deal, recorded an album and was touring on a different level. But I could sense the presence of God stronger and stronger, ministering to me the voice of God calling me even in some of the darkest places, but I was not ready to serve God I kept telling him give me more time.
When I left Europe I had to stop in America at the famous Apollo theatre, and before I went on stage there was a young christian woman singing a song about the safest place to be, was in the will of God. And I felt that was God speaking to me again. I left America went back to Jamaica which is home for me, and I had a big concert there and that’s when God stepped in. I could not resist his power, and I said to the people as of tonight, I’ll be serving the Lord, the next time that you see me I’ll be singing about Jesus. Then I sang Silver and Gold I’d rather have Jesus than Silver and Gold. That was the start of my music ministry, the next day I had to call my then manager, and told him I had now given my life to the Lord.
RG360: We have come to love and admire, your gift of singing songs in African languages. As much as you effortlessly switch on your native Patois when you Singjay, in sections of your songs. (Singjay – a Jamaican style of reggae vocals) How do you go about learning to pronounce, and apply the correct phrasing, when singing in African languages.?
CF: What I love I spend time to learn about, and so I think that’s what makes it easier for me to do them. I also have a lot of friends and I pick up a few things from them, and even ask them to teach me what I don’t know, so I’m not the best at it but I try to represent it well.
RG360: Given we are a gospel reggae platform; our ear is always in tune to a one drop. “iPrevail” has a catchy melodic hook to it, and lends itself to a possible Reggae mix, what do you think Chevelle.?
CF: That sounds very good and I’ve thought about it as well, but I know it’s not the time yet, so really its as God leads I will do it.
RG360: There’s a real buzz around the African music industry. What was it like touching down in the motherland for the first time, and the opportunities you’ve had over the years to minister at key gospel events.?
CF: It was a glorious experience, Especially when I touched down in South Africa there was like fire in my bones and the water could not put it out. It was unreal because I’ve been to other African countries like Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Ghana, and Zambia, but there was never a feeling like what I felt, when I went to South Africa. So I know that there is just something special about me and South Africa. I think it’s because I grew up singing background vocals on songs about the apartheid.
I remember when I first went to SA I ministered at Rhema Bible Church and stayed back for the Zulu service. The Pastor there introduced me, and said tell the people of Jamaica that your songs of emancipaction kept us through the apartied as it was illegal for us to sing such songs. Little did he know I was in the studio in Jamaica singing on those songs at the age of 18. Nigeria was also special, I believe I connected with Nigeria also because of the land, which looks like a backdrop of Jamaica. This is why I call myself Nijamaican
RG360: It’s evident that you have a love for the motherland, can you pinpoint what draws you to Africa?
CF: Everything draws me to there they are family they have been the missing link to part of who I am, and so it’s just an honour being there, seeing that we have a lot more in common than I think. My history my ancestors link me to home. The love and sincerity is so real and I love being there, there is a great sense of belonging, I love Africa. When Africa calls, its such a privilege for me to honour the invitation, a very special people.
RG360: In February this year, you were awarded the Iconic Gospel Music Award by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) congratulations first of all. And what does the recognition from the JaRIA mean to you, being a daughter of the soil.?
CF: It’s always a great privilege to be recognized in your own country, and I am truly honored truly grateful that God should see it fit to do this, at such a time as this.
RG360: Oliver Samuels Jamaica’s legendary Comedian, in his comedy series, portrays a lack of travel experience, though he professed to be a regular traveler. What parts of the world have you travelled to for ministry? and do you have any travel tips for Mr Oliver Samuels.?
CF: God has truly blessed me to Minister in places like Europe, America, Africa, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Middle east Doha, all throughout the Carribean
I love Oliver Samuels he is one of my favorite comedians of all time, he makes me laugh. And to give you a little story, when I was quite younger, because I do have a comedic side to me that most people don’t know, it comes out every now and then on social media, He asked me to act in one of his plays years ago, probably when I was about 17 years old, so I’ve known him for a long time. I think the ultimate travel tip is to be in comfortable clothing. Make sure you’re hydrated and fully loaded with your sanitizers. I always have a small bag with medication, it could be just headache tablets, Tums and a pen.
RG360: We are based in the UK, and at this time, the government are cautiously easing lockdown measures, as the world faces a Pandemic. You’ve chosen to encourage your supporters via social media, with regular words of encouragement and worship, with the hashtag #SIMIBIGBIBLEYAH (We love your big Bible). How are you maintaining your connection with God during these times? And could you offer a few words of encouragement to everyone reading this interview.
CF: I think for any sane person your natural reaction is to reconnect with God on a deeper level than you were before. And I think most persons are doing that right now. For those who have not yet found time to do that, there’s a scripture that I was reading in Psalms 90:12 So teach us to number our days,That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
At such a time as this our souls must be our highest priority. It is not just older people that’s dying, it is babies and teenagers. The Bible says what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul. For now we see that vanity has been paused up. We can hardly drive or wear our expensive clothing that doesn’t mean much, so it is obvious that God requires something greater from all of us. Get your souls right with God.
RG360: Apart from your full-time call to ministry, do you have any hobbies or hidden talents.?
CF: First of all I’m girl of all trades and I do master a few. I have lots of hobbies, I love writing songs, I love producing. I have so many books in me that I have not yet published.. I love to motivate and encourage people. I love cooking, I love doing girly stuff like makeup and hair, and I love dogs oh my…..
RG360: Thank you Chevelle and Gods best with the album and beyond. How can your supporters keep in contact with you.?
CF: Please reach out to me on my social media platforms, I will try to answer you all …lol I am just getting use to social media, and I plan to be on more frequently. My platform needs to be pointing people to God and not to me.
You can find me here;
Stream/Download ”Go In Your Strength” here https://ffm.to/goiyourstrenghtw3dkd6j
Stream/Download ”iPrevail” here https://ffm.to/iprevailvr2kmrr.oyd