JAMAICAN gospel artist Lissa Dillon is set to spice up Zimbabwean gospel music with a reggae flavour and get local fans dancing to the Afro-Caribbean beat following the release of her single that carries a simple but powerful message that one should never be afraid to “big-up” Jesus Christ.
By The Master
Dillon, who together with her husband are student pastors at Zaoga’s Amfcc Bible school, has released the single titled I Am Blessed, which is a medley with a fusion of reggae/dancehall and influences from black American gospel music.
”This is my first single after so many years of trying to produce one. I thank God who brought things together miraculously. It is an introduction to some of the songs we sing in Jamaica, particularly medleys which we can build on the spot if need be,” she said.
Dillon is also planning to do a live DVD and CD and some collaborations with local gospel ministers.
The 46-year-old said the reggae beat on the single will get listeners dancing and praising God — “Inna di Jamaican style”.
“The message is that we should never be ashamed or afraid to “big-up” Jesus Christ. For, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and are baptised, we can fully enjoy walking in the Kingdom of God,” she said.
“I say ‘I am blessed’ because I have the blesser, who is Jesus Christ, and when you have the blesser, blessings will come, no doubt about it.”
A memorable moment in her career was when her spiritual father, Archbishop Ezekiel Guti joined her on stage and danced to her reggae song when she performed at the official opening of the Mbuya Dorcas Hospital in Harare.
“God has done so much for me that I cannot fully express it without tears coming to my eyes. You see, He took a girl and her family all the way from Jamaica to Zimbabwe, Africa, a place where I would never have believed would be possible for me to come to,” she said.
“He reunited me with the culture of my African ancestors which we all but lost when we were brought to the Caribbean as slaves.
“Though I do not know where my family is here in Africa, I am still so happy to be back home.”
She thanked God for allowing her to meet two persons who have impacted her greatly, Zaoga Church founders and leaders, Apostles Guti and wife, Eunor.
Besides music, the Jamaican couple has started its own business, where they have introduced some Jamaican food to the local market.
“Presently we make green banana chips (which we call ‘the Jamaican Maputi’) and bread puddings which are so tasty. Our customers have been giving us good support as they also enjoy these irie Jamaican treats.
Married in March 1995, they are blessed with two children, Joshua (19) and Jessica (14).
Dillon is grateful for the support she receives from her family, particularly her husband .
“My family always watches my back, especially my husband, who is my greatest supporter. He is my head so I try not to make decisions without him but with him. He is a musician as well, so he understands this road we are on and I thank God we are on it together.”
While she loves many different gospel artists, Min Chevelle Franklyn (Jamaica) and William Mcdowell (United States) are her best.
”I have not heard much of the local artists and when I do they are singing in Shona… a language which I love but is still learning,” she said.
Dillon says gospel music cannot be measured the way secular music is judged, for the latter’s success is seen in dollar value terms, while for the gospel musicians the primary concern is that for the music to touch the souls of men and turn them towards God.
“Gospel music brings peace to troubled minds, joy where there is sadness and hope to the hopeless… is this measured as success?” she said.
“In my opinion, true gospel music cannot die because it lifts up Jesus Christ. So, often we look to secular music for inspiration when we should be looking to God who created music. He will give to us new songs, new melodies that will bring Him glory and and bring us success,” she said.
At the age of 14 years, Dillon gave her life to Jesus Christ and has since then been singing gospel. She provided backing vocals to prominent gospel dancehall singer Howard Reynolds aka Mr Goddy Goddy and was also a member of a Jamaican choir that visited Nigeria in 2014.
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