It’s a Celebration for Carlene Davis at Reggae Month Gospel Spectacular
by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – Just over 40 years ago, Carlene Davis made a personal and professional decision to return to Jamaica permanently after living in the United Kingdom and Canada since the late 1960s.
It proved a correct call as she established herself with a series of hit songs including Like Old Friends Do, Going Down to Paradise, Winnie Mandela and the Yuletide favorite, Santa Claus Do You Ever Come to The Ghetto.
On February 21, Davis is one of the artists scheduled to perform at the Pre-Ash Wednesday Gospel Spectacular at Miramar Cultural Center. Two days later, she turns 70, and has no regrets about returning to her homeland.
“Returning to Jamaica, that’s home for me and God Himself has shown me that. Just look what the Lord has done even through the dark times, He has always been that light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “Twenty-odd hit singles, over 24 albums. Above all, Jamaica is such a beautiful country with beautiful people. Great weather all year round. We all just need to have a vision because where there is no vision the people ‘perish’ but all over the world there are problems.”
Davis became a Christian in the early 1990s and rarely sings the songs that made her a star. She has recorded several gospel albums, the most recent being The Assignment (with Marion Hall), released in 2018.
Most of her songs are produced by Tommy Cowan, her husband of over 30 years. They operate Glory Music, a company which promotes successful events such as Fun In The Son.
Meeting Nelson and Winnie Mandela when they visited Jamaica in 1991 is one of the highlights of Davis’ life. Another is beating breast cancer after being diagnosed in 1996.
“Overcoming cancer has taught me that this experience has built my faith and allow me to share with others that cancer is not a death sentence, and this experience allows you time to take stock of life, seek your purpose for living and share the message of hope and that God has the last say,” she said.
A mother of two children and two grandchildren, Carlene Davis was born in Clarendon, a sugar-belt parish in central Jamaica. She migrated to England in 1969 and after four years there, relocated to Canada.
Pre-Ash Wednesday Gospel Spectacular Artists
At the Pre-Ash Wednesday Gospel Spectacular — which is part of Reggae Month activities in South Florida — she will share the stage and message with Glacia Robinson, Jabez, Prodigal Son, Omari and Mr. Gallimore.