King Stitchie rings in Christmas with a blast

POSTED: 12/28/12 12:56 PM

St. Maarten – Quellitor Drive in Dutch Quarter came alive on Monday night as international reggae gospel artiste King Stitchie blew the roof off of the big gospel tent in a stellar performance.

In the process he took the modest audience into the early hours of Christmas morning with hits like Fast and Pray, Lord I Thank You For Today and Messenger.

Stitchie came onstage just after 11:00 pm on Christmas Eve and did not leave until after 3:00 am the next day. Accompanied by his award winning band, he performed hits from his albums To God Be the Glory (1999), Kingdom Ambassador (2004), Real Life and Real Power (2007) and Serious Message (2010)

The event was a gospel concert called The Experience that was put on by Power Praise Deliverance Ministries International. It featured local gospel artistes such as Blessed, Piper Laundry and Snatra Bauld who made way for another international sensation; Kirk Little Kirk Davis.

When Davis belted out his popular tune “If You Had One More Chance Would You Make It Right,” he evoked tears from the audience.

Davis’ album Don’t Deny Me has gotten rave reviews in Canada and Europe for his sultry and passionately honest renditions. He has been touring with Stitchie for over two years now following his conversion from the dancehall to Christianity. This was the first time that he had performed at a Christian event on the island.

Stitchie on the other hand has visited St. Maarten multiple times. He explained that on his last visit to the island, he was not too pleased with the sound engineering which affected the clarity of his message in song. This time around, he remarked that things would be of a more excellent quality and having three members of his band along with him made “the flow” even smoother.

He was able to quickly get audience participation in many of his songs such as the catchy hit “No talk when de general a talk, me deh pon mi assignment.”

Stitchie, born Cleveland Laing originally worked in the dancehall style but switched to gospel reggae in 1997 after surviving a car crash. He was injured in the crash while driving to Montego Bay to perform at the Reggae Sumfest festival .Against medical advice he went on to perform as scheduled, after which he was given a Gideon Bible by a Canadian boy. After reading the Bible in his hotel room he became a Christian and soon moved away from his dancehall songs to work in gospel reggae. Although he completed a further album in the dancehall style (Raw Episode), he refused to promote it, and spent a period away from music, studying the Bible. In 2002, he won the ‘Outstanding Male Reggae Vocal Performance of the Year’ award at Caribbean Gospel Music Marlin Awards. He has performed at several festivals since adopting gospel, on occasions giving Bible teachings to other performers throughout Europe, North America and the Caribbean.

Earlier this year he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Cornerstone Christian University in Orlando, Florida, in recognition of his contribution to gospel reggae music.

He is also an ordained minister who received the International Reggae and World Music Awards Best Gospel Song of the Year Award for What A Mighty God in 2009.
Stitchie has also pioneered a completely new path in the history of Reggae Music, by becoming the first Reggae and Dancehall Artiste to write and publish a book entitled The Power of Determination, his autobiography, for global distribution.

The gospel concert ended with calls for people to pray for those who are alone and destitute during the holiday season and as well as for those who are in need of employment in 2013.

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