Singer and songwriter, Lurine Cato – dubbed ‘The Queen of UK Gospel’ – has had a great year. With her single, ‘Power’ about to be released, excitement is growing for Lurine Cato’s forthcoming album, ‘Chosen to Serve’, where tracks like ‘Running for the Train’, ‘A Mother’s Prayer’, ‘I’m Lost’ and ‘Never Alone’ are concert favourites.
Born in North London to parents of Jamaican descent, Lurine is the ninth of eleven brothers and sisters; a child who, according to doctors, should not even have been born – a miracle story in itself! Lurine grew up in a Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and began singing at the age of three. “During conventions, they had to put me on a chair for me to be seen. Singing and dancing have always been a part of my life,” said Lurine. She won her first award for singing when she was nine: Enfield Borough Singer of the Year.
“I have been on a life-transforming journey throughout my singing career. I used to be a backing vocalist for various secular and gospel artists. Then I went through a very low and painful season in my life, which caused me to take some time out and go through a period of restoration.”
Lurine’s talent was reborn out of a painful past that has since given her a fresh wind of direction; out of her experience came a renewed focus on her singing ministry as a gospel artist. She now has a purpose and mission, carrying a message to those who are also going through pain. Her first song released after that particular period was ‘You Revive Me’, which has become an anthem wherever she ministers.
Lurine’s journey has had notable landmarks along the way. She toured with the Lighthouse Family and, as a teen, with the late Lynden David Hall. Her song ‘Friends’ was a massive hit on the club scene. She was a nominee for the MOBO Best Unsigned Act in 2002, and featured on the ‘MOBO 2002: The Very Best of Urban’ album with her song, ‘We’ll Get Thru It’, alongside tunes by Missy Elliott and Rihanna.
In 2005, Norwegian DJs, Iceberg & Eskimo, sampled Lurine’s vocals on ‘I Will Follow’. Their dance track, ‘Follow Your Heart’, gave the DJs a No1 hit in Norway.
In April 2010, Lurine, as a part of an ensemble of Christian artists, recorded a Haiti charity single, ‘Somebody Help Me, Please’, written by Israel Houghton and Noel Robinson. Lurine sang with Graham Kendrick, Martin Smith, Tim Hughes, Guvna B and Muyiwa – to name a few. The proceeds went to build a hospital in the earthquake-stricken island.
Her song, ‘Following the Star (Closer)’, featuring Tony Momrelle (Incognito) and rapper, JayEss (Dove, Stella and MOBO nominee), has become a smash hit across gospel and indie radio stations. She has already sung at sell-out concerts and top venues, eg. The Royal Festival Hall, 606 Jazz Club, The Jazz Café, Notting Hill Carnival and, in her hometown, The Millfield Theatre, among others. During the Olympic period, she was the principal female soloist for ‘Evening With The Olympians’, with keynote speakers such as Carl Lewis (Olympian of the Century), and attended by London 2012 winners and athletes, past Olympians and sports personalities. The event was aired as far abroad as South Korea.
Lurine was the go-to host for concerts with USA gospel artists in London, namely Michael Bethany in 2013 and Jason Nelson in 2014. In October 2013, her MOBO Award-winning speech lit up social media, when she thanked God and stated despite all odds to “Never Give Up!” In the same month, Lurine won the BEFFTA Award for Best Gospel Act, and went on to win a Gospel Music Award in Italy.
She headlined at the Novara Gospel Festival, Italy 2014, the first Brit to do so – which has also hosted Grammy and Stella Award winners, such as Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin and Myron Butler.
In November 2014, she was special guest artist at the Teatro Cilea in Naples, with Italian Award-winning artist Rita Ciccarelli. It was the theatre’s first gospel concert, which sold out two weeks before the event. Such was the impact of the concert that it made the mainstream television news and papers. Her live performance, with the Singout Gospel Mass Choir at the OVB Arena in Germany, has received outstanding acclaim, and she has headlined at other festivals in Europe, including the Barcelona Gospel Festival.
She is the gospel artist of choice for prestigious award events, including performing at last year’s actors and celebrity-studded event, the 8th Movie Video & Screen Awards at Birmingham’s ICC in November 2014, which was featured on BBC News.
Lurine has sung with multiple award-winning artists, such as Mary J Blige, Andrea Bocelli (Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium) and gospel artist, Kim Burrell (singer and best friend of Whitney Houston). Her producers are Ian Green (Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Noel Robinson, including film scores like Matrix and the Bourne series); Marcus Johnson (Beverley Knight, Kim Burrell USA and Soul II Soul) and USA’s Qura Rankin (Christina Aguilera and Andrew Lloyd Webber) and Shaun Stewart (iGospel). She is an international artist, who has worked on chart-topping Adele’s first album and as Kylie Minogue’s backing singer; who has toured on the On A Night Like This and Fever world tours for two years, and who has taken part in international televised productions before God called her into full-time ministry.
Lurine has also recently recorded on a number of artists’ albums, including Jahméne Douglas, Emeli Sandé and Susan Boyle, to name a few. Not bad for someone who appeared at Westminster Central Hall as a teenager as part of gospel duo, Redeemed, with Marie Carter (née Reid). She has never left her roots and continues to sing in churches and communities across the UK.
This year, Lurine was special guest artist for the Kirk Franklin Concert in the Midlands, and positive comments are still being made about her performance. She was also invited to sing at ‘One Minute in May’ (which highlights young people who have died due to violent crime) outside Downing Street, which was featured on BBC London News. Later this year, Lurine will also be featured on Songs of Praise.
Lurine has supported other fellow artists through their difficulties, and helped them to achieve their goals – even at the expense of her own progression. Although this was sometimes painful and frustrating, Lurine trusted the Lord to provide the breakthrough she needed in her own ministry, at His appointed time. The journey has taken time but, throughout, God has proved Himself faithful, blessing her with insurmountable favour, rare opportunities and God-given connections that have brought her to where she is today.
Demand for Lurine Cato has grown to such a phenomenal level, because she leaves a lasting impression wherever she performs. Behind the scenes, she is in demand as an international vocal coach for choirs, groups and individuals, songwriter and music arranger. She promotes a number of charities and not-for-profit organisations, such as The Rudolph Walker Foundation (Rudolph Walker plays Patrick Truman one of the UK’s most popular TV soaps, EastEnders), and has unfailing support for Love Life UK Ministries, bringing gospel music to prisoners and young offenders, and which was founded by lifelong friends, Bruce Dyer and Isaiah-Raymond Dyer. She organises fundraising concerts for Chosen To Serve (Ghanaian Orphans Education & Health Programme). Her latest work is with UK national charity, The Children’s Society, which works to reduce the number of children and young people in poverty. As an ambassador for the Children’s Society, Lurine is working with them on a new project to promote Christmas carols, so that the message of Jesus is not forgotten.
Lurine’s Mighty Men Experience project is comprised of artists from the worlds of gospel, worship, RnB, reggae, pop and hip-hop – and even opera – including some of UK’s top gospel singers, such as MOBO Award-winning artists Isaiah Raymond and rapper, Faith Child; soul singer, Zalon, one of the late Amy Winehouse’s backing vocalists; Mark Beswick; award-winning worship leaders, including Noel Robinson, recently signed to Integrity Music; Aaron Sokell, Emeli Sandé’s backing vocalist; Tony Momrelle of RnB’s Incognito; Jermaine Riley from former hit group, Fundamental, and now part of duo, Dora Martin, and other award-winning artists, such as David Daniel, Dayo Bello and former opera singer now Baptist minister, Craig Downes.
Recently, she invited the Mighty Men to record a charity single, ‘Keep Fighting’, to raise funds for the charity Gangsline. The theme throughout the song is for men to never give up, to have hope, stay strong and keep fighting for it. The song is still making waves.
Based on her experiences, it is Lurine’s heart’s cry that other artists realise their purpose and know that what they have is unique. She also encourages artists not to chase the fame, but to be driven by the purpose and mission to reach people, which has been her motivation and focus. She is now ‘of age’, and is the mother of two wonderfully gifted children, whom she loves dearly. Besides singing, Lurine is also an ardent football supporter and prefers “food shopping over clothes shopping” any day!
Her testimony is in the words, the music and her soul.
For more information, visit www.lurinecato.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/lurinecato Facebook: www.facebook.com/lurinecato