ARTICLES INDEX STAR!

MARK RAGSDALE ASKS 20 QUESTIONS TO KAY MORRIS

1. How did you get started as a singer?

I started singing at the tender age of 4, my parents being pastors would take me singing at most of the conventions, crusades and church rallys. I was so tiny, they had to put me on a table so the audience could see me.

2. How long have you been a 'professional' singer?

Since 1994. This is the year I started taking my music ministry more seriously when the Lord appeared to me in a vision and gave me the name of the group and my two first songs.

3. How long have the Jewels been with you? Any changes in personnel with the Jewels?

The Jewels have been with me since that time, and yes there has been changes over the years. Over the years members of the Jewels have either migrated to another country or have enrolled in University which makes it very difficult to juggle the rehersals, gigs and studies at the same time, some have married etc.  I still have some of the original members going strong, and the new members adjusted quite well, pretty much they are told what my expectations are, and vise versa. Should a problem or concern arise within, it is brought directly to the table, where it is addressed, that is basically the understanding.

4. What made you choose to sing Reggae/ Gospel music?

I got my fist two reggae/calypso songs in a vision and that was really the starting point, prior to that I was a contemporary singer. I was directed by God as He spoke to me through that vision.

5. What sort of reaction has there been to "Armageddon"?

There has been some very good reactions, reviews have come in from DJs all over the world.

6. What reaction has there been to "Pray A Prayer For Me" so far?

Pray a Prayer For Me (single) has taken the airwaves by storm here in Canada and abroad. It has received numerous reviews as well as a Canadian Reggae Music award nomination for best Gospel album.

7. Anything new or different for the next album?

Of course, the next album will feature a lot of new materials, it will have a mix of ska, reggae, and calypso.

8. Have you experienced any racial or cultural barriers in your career?

I have been able to break through racial and cultural barriers with my music and have been able to reach a wider audience. I do have a mixed fan base, please note the release of a single in Asia last Fall which is doing extremely well.

9. What caused you to move from Jamaica to Canada?

Since the age of 14 most of my relatives had already migrated overseas, and so, I was encouraged by them to do the same.

10. Have you won any awards?

Yes,  in 1997 I won the Canadian Reggae Music Awards in the Top Female category. I also do have a number of certificates that have been given to me by churches and organizations for my contribution to their cause.

11. How do you choose the songs on your albums, as far as your own songs compared to songs written by someone else?

The songs that are written by myself of course gets first priority on my album, as most of the lyrics that I write relates to my life and experiences, therefore the vibes is much stronger in my own song, as it carries a message.

12. How do you choose how many reggae or gospel songs to put on your albums?

The fans speak to me, their requests dictates my next move, as well as, the Times from a Bibical perspective. Also, because of my versatility, I am able to fit something in for everybody, and as a result broadening the base.

13. Do you have the same backing band or does the personnel change?

Some of the band members are from the very inseption, while others have moved on, and new ones come aboard.

14. Why did you start your own record company instead of signing with an established label?

For me, I believed it was the best way to go being a new artist, I am a firm believer in the creeping before you can walk theory, and with much hard work and persistence, I believe eventually a major record label will discover me one day, if is the will of God,  really, I don't believe it is an overnight thing.

15. What are the advantages and drawbacks to recording for your own label compared with recording for an established label?

An established label has the money as well as the major distribution networks, basically it's money vs. talent. The label cannot exist without the artist but the artist can without the label, so for me it gives me a bit more independence and control, the drawback is that it's a lot slower getting it out through the small distributors and keeping up with the tracking.

16. Any plans for signing other artists for your label?

At this time I am solely focused on my own albums, but I would not rule it out in the future.

17. What are your plans for the next six months?

My plans for the next 6 months is to produce a professional music video, release my next album and look at some tours that are in the works.

18. What and or who are your musical influences?

I must say that I do admire a number of artists for their artistic ability, but I am more of a self motivatior, God himself is the influencing force, I don't want to be seen or known as a singer or an artist who performs to entertain, but one that is driven by the anointing which takes it to the level of ministering, my goal is souls, I am here to take back what the devil has stolen. I look at this as a spiritual warfare, when I go to a concert, I look at it as a battlefield.

19. What do you think of the current state of the CCM industry and their reactions to reggae and gospel artists? Do you think that the 'industry' is more concerned about sales or witnessing to the world?

I think it's very shameful that we are Gospel artists straight across the board, regardless of the style we are doing, and they have practically pushed us aside. I think this is because they are intimidated by the driving force of the music itself, and how powerful it could be. So, if they can continue to keep the lid on it, then they are in control, but if and when the lid blows off, they are in for a rude awakening. I also believe that sales is a factor, and they are not really concerned about souls.

20. What kind of charitable work do you do and do you work through any organization?

The kind of charitable work I do is outreach based.  Kay Morris Outreach Ministries of which I am the president, holds an annual Gospel concert "Caribbean Praise", where we donate the proceeds and collect non-perishable food items, clothing, educational materials, etc. and donate them to orphanages, countries/cities that have suffered major disaster, and some outreach centres.

 Mark thank you very much for this interview.