Sat | Apr 4, 2020

Chozenn’s ‘Bawl Out’ receives IRAWMA nod

Published:Saturday | March 23, 2019 | 12:08 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer

Reggae gospel artiste Chozenn has said that his recent International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) nomination is simply a manifestation of the fruits of his labour and a confirmation of his mandate.

On Wednesday morning, a jubilant Chozenn took to social media to thank IRAWMA for nominating his controversial song. The gospel artiste stated: “Huge thank you to the International Reggae and World Music Awards…My song Bawl Out Jesus Name was nominated Gospel Song of the Year 2018.”

This is particularly validating for Chozenn because it represents a vindication of sorts. The song stirred controversy when it was released last year and was even banned by a prominent gospel station. It is a remake of a bawdy single by secular artiste Dovey Magnum, and while it proved extremely popular and even set a record for its one million views on YouTube, Bawl Out Jesus Name was snubbed, to much controversy, at the recent Sterling Gospel Music Awards. The organisers said that the song was “not original”.

God is love

In response, Chozenn, who insists that he genuinely loves his Christian audience, said he is big on a relationship with God rather than religion. According to him, he prefers to celebrate the fact that God is love and is not in the business of throwing out people. Further declaring that he is not about religiosity (a term used by both Christians and non-Christians to refer to those who have replaced God with their religion), he told The Gleaner that the mandate is what matters most and that he’ll choose it over earthly acceptance every time.

“Once you understand your mandate, you will realise that it is not about social circle or acceptance or to be in a particular environment. The Word says, ‘Go out in the highways, and what you are seeing is the manifestation of the fruits. God is sending me back to where he took me from. When he is ready for a new season, he will direct me to it,” the Unashamed singer said.

Interestingly, dancehall artiste Wayne Marshall, whose song Glory to God was not included in the Sterling Awards, is also nominated in IRAWMA’s Best Gospel Song category.

A very vocal Chozenn said that Wayne Marshall’s song is a mighty move from God. “I strongly believe that this song was a direct download from the spiritual realm of God. That is not a song that you put pen to paper and write. I am a man of God, and I am telling Wayne to be encouraged. Do not be discouraged by religiousness. As a real Christian, we love you, we respect you. Push on. Go through the fire, you will come out pure gold.”

He continued, “Wayne is a baby to the faith, and a baby needs nurturing. That is the same reason why Vegas is now not into religion. He came but didn’t get the nurturing that he needed.”

After all of the controversy and the backlash, would Chozenn have done anything differently? Not record the song, perhaps?

“I would go back into the studio and record this song again and again,” he declared.

The 37th A=annual International Reggae and World Music Awards takes place on Saturday, May 11, at The Pegasus hotel in New Kingston .