Shalom back in dancehall, but still a man of God
Singer Steven Harper, better known as Shalom, who converted to Christianity some years ago, is moving back in the dancehall spaces but is adamant that his mission is still ministry.
Shalom is currently the pastor of the International Faith in Action Deliverance Ministries, on Young Street in Spanish Town, St Catherine.
"I am still singing gospel with the name of Jesus in it, but there are some songs that I am singing now which are also conscious music with the message of truths and right and love. God is about love and justice, so I am singing those songs with the message of Jesus Christ in the music," Shalom told THE STAR.
On Monday, he was one of the artistes paying tributes to music icons at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association's Honour Awards at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston. Shalom sang a couple of songs from Sugar Minott's repertoire.
"That was a tribute to a dear friend of mine. Sugar Minott was the one who launched me out in the music. He is like a father to me, and I used to tour with him and sing harmony for most of my career coming up. That is how I got the experience of travelling all over the world. So when they called and asked me to come do a tribute to him I couldn't say no," he explained.
But he added that in his head, there is no battle going on about performing on a secular stage as opposed to a gospel one. Shalom shared that in the same way that Minister Marion Hall is scheduled to perform at Reggae Sumfest, he too is looking out for similar bookings.
"Minister Hall is doing a good thing. She is doing her gospel music from that platform and when you get an opportunity to spread the word, you should do so. That is something I would do also ... as an artiste and as a minister. I'm available," Shalom declared.
He is currently working on his fifth album Tailor Made, which he said is not a gospel album, but rather one with a message. He is yet to release a full gospel album.
"I tell people that we have to know how to package the good news. I prayed for years asking the Lord to help me to go back to win some [souls]. I'm not becoming unsaved, I am still a man of God, but I am back on the circuit. The thing is that a lot of people don't know that I am in Jamaica I have a song called World is in Trouble that was released six months ago. I have another titled Jah a Champion that was released a couple of months before that. I have a gospel medley that was released last month," he said.
Shalom enjoyed enviable success with the 1997 release Baby I've Got News For You, which was a massive hit in Jamaica and climbed to number one on the Black Echo's Chart in England.