Longtime Jamaica resident, musician and pastor Shiloh Brown said that ever since he began singing at the age of 5, music has inspired him to lead a life in the arts and spread that influence to others.
“I like seeing people being blessed and touched. That’s what gives me strength,” the 46-year-old father of four said.
With a new record deal in place and a tour of several states, Brown said he and his gospel band, the Mighty Soul Lifters, will be bringing that divine inspiration to a larger audience. The singer said he and his family were excited when he signed with World Wide Music Inc., one of the largest gospel music labels, because it would let him bring the sounds of southeast Queens to other parts of country.
The quartet band, which consists of Brown, Antonie Hilton, Daniel Garvin and Charles Brown, will be performing in places such as West Virginia and Massachusetts this fall in anticipation of their debut album, “I’m Ready,” which is slated for release sometime after the tour ends.
“Here you can only play so much,” Brown said of southeast Queens, where he frequently performs at churches and events. “When you get a record deal, you can play a lot more, be on the radio and take it to a new level.”
Brown’s big successes started from humble beginnings.
Born in Augusta, Ga., he and his family moved to Jamaica when he was 4 and he joined them whenever they went to the Free Independent Church on Long Island. Aside from the prayers, Brown said he was attracted to the music that echoed through the pews and when he was 5 joined his parents and brothers in the church’s choir.
“Once I stared playing the music and seeing how [the congregation] reacted to it, it was a joy,” he said.
After graduating from Richmond Hill High School, Brown began performing professionally and toured with several popular gospel singers, including Spencer Taylor & The Highway QCs and Darrell McFadden & The Disciples.
During this time, he eventually found time to raise a family with his wife, who is also a musician and sometimes plays the drums for his band, and become a pastor of a church in South Carolina.
Around four years ago, Brown moved his family back to Jamaica and the singer decided to use his art to help the youth in the area. Brown said gospel music and his Christian upbringing kept him off the streets and he wanted to make sure today’s youth get on the right path, too.
One of his songs, “I’m Ready to Come Back Home,” was written to inspire a message of forgiveness and peace.
“Once you have tried everything, you have to come back to God,” he said.
Brown said he encourages others to get into gospel music because it gives them an outlet to find their soul.
“I play it all, but gospel reaches the soul,” he said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@c
©2010 Community News Group
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