18-year-old says her ability to sing is a gift from the Lord and an answer to prayer.
The Seventh-day Adventist community in Jamaica is celebrating Erica Lumsden, a student at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) and member of the Claremont Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Mary, who won the 2021 National Gospel Star Song Competition.
Lumsden, an 18-year-old second-year communication student at NCU, topped 10 finalists in a four-week televised competition.
“One of the reasons for entering the competition is that my father, Pastor Kanhai Lumsden, was two points away from death last year, so I was at a different place in my life,” Lumsden said. Her father recovered. “I was thinking outside the box because I was really living outside the box as a pastor’s kid,” she explained.
She said that her father’s health scare caused her to become more responsible and serious about life. She felt that God was more personal with her family then than at any other time. One of several songs she sang in the competition was “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.”
The Gospel Star Competition, which replaces the annual Jamaica Gospel Song competition, had the contestants perform cover songs instead of original ones and ended on August 1, 2021.
Erica Lumsden performs “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” in a televised broadcast on July 12, 2021. Lumsden was among 10 finalists who competed for the title of Jamaica’s National Gospel Star. On August 1, she won the competition after a four-week final championship race. [Photo: screenshot from Jamaica National Gospel Star Competition/YouTube]
“Musically, I knew I could go in any direction when it came to musical genres, though I did not know at the outset that we would have to present the gospel in song in several categories of genres,” Lumsden said. “My ability to sing was a gift from the Lord as an answer to my prayer many years before.”
The winner was decided by votes from the public, which made up 50 percent of the total, with the other 50 percent taken from the opinion of three judges who were selected from Jamaica’s music industry.
For her win, Lumsden achieved the title of Jamaica Gospel Star, one million Jamaican dollars (about US$6,460), a contract for recording a single, a video to that single, and a smartphone.
“I intend for this victory to be a launching platform to showcase and grow my gift in the Lord,” Lumsden said. “I also believe that this blessing has come at a time when my family faces unique circumstances, especially with my father.”
Apart from the support of the church members and friends who voted, Lumsden acknowledged the support of her mother, Judith, and her sister, Evie, along with her coach, Audrey Brown, all of whom, she said, were there for her every step of the way.
“We feel honored by the Lord God Almighty for placing this special child with this gift in our midst,” Judith Lumsden said. “Seems He picked the right time. It was exhilarating seeing her win. Now, I hope she will take this victory, this revealing, to the next level, and all to the glory of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whom she has said, gave her the gift of singing when she desired and prayed for it.”
North Caribbean University president Lincoln Edwards expressed gratitude on behalf of the university.
“We congratulate our student Erica Lumsden on winning the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s Gospel Star Competition 2021,” Edwards said. “At NCU, we strive to do usual things unusually well. We are, therefore, pleased and extremely proud of this outstanding achievement by Miss Lumsden. Her performance epitomizes the finest traditions of the institution — Christian values, sterling character, and creativity.”