When Carol Addison released the song Born to Shine 46 years ago, she had no idea it would endure to this day.
The title track off her debut album, Born to Shine has been covered by many, most famously singer Vaughnette Bigford, and still elicits a positive response from crowds whenever it is sung.
“When I wrote the song I had no idea it would have this appeal, it would last this long, it would touch people in this type of way. It was a simple, modest song,” she said.
Addison wrote the song coming out of a bad relationship to express the inspiration from her mother who told her repeatedly that she was born to shine.
She said the words of the song continue to motivate, encourage and pull her out of difficult situations.
“It has to be because I have been able to survive; I have been able to pull through. I am really in awe,” she said.
Addison was speaking to Loop News at a press conference on Sunday at Kafe Blue to share details about a concert bearing the name of her famous song.
The concert is the brainchild of pannist Dane Gulston and will serve as the official launch of his band Sweetbread.
Growing up, Gulston was exposed to Addison’s music and became a fan.
After performing with her last year at the Trinidad Consulate in Manhattan, he thought of inviting her to perform at his show.
“This is something I’ve dreamt about since I was a youngster and I decided after this whole Covid scene happened to really start acting on my dreams and ideas more proactively,” Gulston explained.
“So how we bounced up in New York last year, I said I might as well throw the idea out there to her in the moment of chatting with her, but didn’t really expect an answer immediately and wasn’t sure if she would agree.”
Carol Addison with Dane Gulston, Denilson Gulston and Karla Gonsalves, producer of the show
Addison said she had no idea what the name of the show would be.
“I said yes and I said God this is in your hands. When I realized the title of the concert would be Born to Shine I was amazed. People would think I created all this but it is all God’s work. I didn’t tell Dane to do this, he just did that,” she said.
It would be the first time in five years Addison is performing in Trinidad. The last time, however, she performed at a gospel show hosted by the late Margaret Walcott.
Apart from “Born to Shine”, Addison is also known for the song “Take Me Back” off the same album.
The song speaks about her relationship with God and looking back, Addison believed she was being called to acknowledge a higher power since then.
“This song from ‘76 continued to draw from deep within me in a way I never understood,” she said.
In the early 90s, living in New York and giving into a gnawing desire to seek fulfillment, Addison walked into the Brooklyn Tabernacle church and began her journey of faith. Today she is baptised and is an ordained minister in the Hungry for God Church.
“God wants to use me wherever I am,” she said, referring to her upcoming performance at Born to shine, a secular space, where she will perform her old hits.
Addison, who has performed on stages with Natalie Cole, Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five, mainly sings gospel today and has even written a movie called A Pastor’s Secret, which played Off-Broadway.
Dane Gulston and sons
It’s her faith as well as therapy, which helped her through the death of her husband of 32 years.
He died on May 5, 2015, after they left a party early because he was feeling unwell.
“While in the car driving he was giving me directions and then he stopped talking, Addison recalled, describing the experience as a tough, tough journey.
“I know God is allowing me to use my experience to help others because now that I know, I can hold someone’s hand and tell them tomorrow will be different,” she said.
Addison was part of the pop movement in the early 70s led by singers such as Mavis John, Ann Marie Inniss and Oliver Chapman. Connected to the prolific KH Studio located in Sealots, Addison was fortunate to have then-Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams at her album launch. His presence elevated her career to a higher level, she said, opening doors for her to travel the world.
Asked about her thoughts on the musical landscape of her country today, Addison said she follows Vaughnette Bigford and Charmaine Forde.
“Those are two of the singers whose music I have fallen into and followed and admired. I know there are many others in the gospel field as well who are doing great music,” she said.
Born to Shine takes place at the Central Bank Auditorium on December 1. Doors open at 6.30 pm with showtime at 7.30 pm and one brief intermission only. Tickets are available at Kaiso Blues Cafe, Trinidad All Stars Pan Theatre, Ronnie and Caro Mas Camp on Robert Street in Woodbrook or at Central Bank Auditorium on November 29, 30 and December 1.
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