Award-winning, MOBO-nominated gospel reggae artist, Watchman’s, new album, Timeline, is now out. This multi-talented Christian also runs RAP Academy, an organisation that works with disenfranchised youth. He spoke to KTF about the inspiration behind Timeline, his life, struggles and exciting plans for the future.
KEEP THE FAITH (KTF): Congratulations on your new album, Timeline. What’s the inspiration behind this new release?
WATCHMAN: The inspiration behind Timeline was my journey, from the place I was to where I am now. My biggest influence, my father, died unexpectedly, and my wife, whom I’d known for over 25 years and was married to for 11, decided to jump ship, also unexpectedly. During this time, I didn’t have anyone I could talk to. I felt like a failure, lonely and ashamed. Sadly, that’s how you can be made to feel in the church, worse if you’re a man. I eventually turned to the one Person that I knew never judged, but who could empathise with my situation, Jesus. I poured my heart out to Him, in what I describe as counselling sessions, and they became songs.
KTF: Why did you record Timeline in JA, and how did you get Rondell Positive and Jermaine Edwards to perform on two of the tracks?
WATCHMAN: I never actually planned to record in Jamaica. It was while on the aircraft travelling to Jamaica for a vacation that I heard a clear voice in my spirit say, “Begin to write.” I immediately recognised it to be the voice of God. I wrote nine songs on the plane. Within the first week of my being in JA, I met Jermaine Edwards at my family’s home and he turned to me and said, “I would like to bless you and produce your next album.” Blood-fire!!! If there is ever a time in my life that I am so glad that I obeyed the voice of God, this was one of them.
KTF: What are the three stand-out tracks on the album for you, and why?
WATCHMAN: The stand-out tracks for me are not necessarily the most aired. They are: I want to be true – this song is a prayer I wrote, because I was struggling in my walk with the Lord but, in my heart, I wanted to be true. WOW speaks of the awesome, unconditional love of God, and Why-Ya-Yo – this song is a cry to the youth of today to stop the madness and badness, and to pull up their folly ground, even if they can’t pull up their pants.
KTF: You run the RAP Academy, which works with disenfranchised youth. What do you like most about your work with young people?
WATCHMAN: It’s being able to meet physical needs, emotional needs, as well as the spiritual needs in a relevant and practical way in the lives of these hurting and disillusioned men. Many times they ask me, “What’s in it for you, big man?” I turn around and say to them, “YOU”. They find it hard to believe that someone would genuinely care for them, without wanting anything in return.