The Seventh-day Adventist community in Jamaica is still rejoicing after Erica Lumsden, a student at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and member of the Claremont Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Mary, won the 2021 National Gospel Star Song Competition.
Lumsden, an 18-year-old second-year communication student at NCU, topped 10 finalists in a four-week competition, which was televised on free-for-air television. The program featured musical performances from themes such as reggae/dancehall, gospel, traditional and throwback gospel.
“One of the reasons for entering the competition is that my father, Pastor Kanhai Lumsden, was two points away from death last year, so I was at a different place in my life,” said Lumsden. Her father is not fully recovered. “I was thinking outside the box, because I was really living outside the box as a pastor’s kid,” she explained.
The father’s health scare caused her to become more responsible and more serious about life, she said. She felt that God was more personal with her family then than at any other time. One of several songs she sang in the competition was “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.”
The Gospel Star Competition, which replaces the annual Jamaica Gospel Song competition, had the contestants performing cover songs instead of original songs, ending with the finale on Aug. 1, 2021.
“Musically I knew I could go in any direction when it came to musical genres, and though I did not know at the outset that we would have to present the gospel in song in several categories of genres, including reggae/dancehall, and traditional forms, I was challenged because these were musical forms I never did before,” said Lumsden. “My ability to sing was a gift from the Lord as an answer to my prayer many years before.”
The winner was decided by votes from the public, which made up 50 percent of the total, with the other 50 percent taken from the opinion of three judges who were selected from Jamaica’s music industry.
For her win, Lumsden achieved the title of Jamaica Gospel Star, one million Jamaican dollars (or US$6,452.00), a recording single, a video to that single and a smartphone.
“I intend for this victory to be a launching platform to showcase and grow my gift in the Lord,” said Lumsden. “I believe also that this blessing has come at a time when my family faces unique circumstances, especially with my father.”
Apart from the support of the church members and friends who voted, Lumsden acknowledges the support of her mother, Judith, and her sister Evie, along with her coach Audrey Brown, who were there for her every step of the way.
“We feel honored by the Lord God Almighty for placing this special child with this gift in our midst,” said Judith. “Seems He picked the right time. It was exhilarating seeing her win. Now, I hope she will take this victory, this revealing to the next level, and all to the glory of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whom she has said, gave her the gift of singing, when she desired and prayed for it.”
Dr. Lincoln Edwards, president of NCU, expressed gratitude on behalf of the university.
“We congratulate our student Erica Lumsden on winning the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s Gospel Star Competition 2021,” said Edwards. “At NCU we strive to do usual things unusually well. We are, therefore, pleased and extremely proud of this outstanding achievement by Miss Lumsden. Her performance epitomizes the finest traditions of the institution – Christian values, sterling character and creativity.”