The Gleaner: KINGSTON, Jamaica, By Yasmine Peru – Sanchez said he is pleased to be one of two recipients of the prestigious Jamaica Music Icon Award.
‘Nothing happens before the right time’ neatly sums up reggae singer Sanchez’s reaction to the announcement by the culture ministry that he is one of two recipients of the prestigious Jamaica Music Icon Award, which will be presented on Independence Day, August 6, at the National Stadium.
“I am very, very pleased,” Sanchez told The Gleaner. “On Tuesday morning, my wife and I woke up – very pleasantly, I might add – to congratulations from fans, friends and family all over the world. The voice notes and the texts came in all day long. We received the official letter from Minister Grange last week, and she had personally met with us before to inform us of the details, but we didn’t tell anyone, so we were surprised, in a good way, when the news was released.”
He shared that many people believed that this honour was “long overdue”, and while he fully understood that perspective, he preferred to emphasise that “the timing is perfect”.
“Yes, I have been doing this for decades, and recognition could have come at any time, and maybe it should have come before now. But look at it this way: This is the year when we are celebrating Jamaica’s diamond jubilee, so what better time to be honoured by my own country?” asked Sanchez.
His wife and manager, Monica, was beside herself with joy. She noted that Sanchez has received accolades in various parts of the world, including the official keys to various cities; however, the Jamaica Music Icon award will hold a special place in their hearts.
“Kevin is one of those artistes who always carries Jamaica’s flag high wherever in the world he goes. I have never seen anybody love to sing Jamaica’s anthem on stage in other people country like Kevin. It doesn’t matter where in the world we are; he will ask if there are any Jamaicans in the audience, and once he sees a show of hands, he says ‘Great’, and the band knows that that is their cue to start ‘Eternal Father bless our land….’ And there is always a hush, and those who know it will sing, and those who don’t will listen and get goose pimples, because we all know that there is something special about the Jamaican anthem,” Monica stated.
Sanchez noted that this award would not have been possible without his wife, and shared that he is dedicating it to her.
“If babes wasn’t here, I would not be getting this award, and that’s the truth. This honour is for both of us and, by extension, my family and fans, but I have to dedicate this one to babes. August 6 will be a big day for us, and I would like to publicly thank the Government for considering me and finding me worthy,” the Praise Him singer said.
He admitted that one of the things uppermost in his mind now is what he will wear to the National Stadium for the Independence Day Grand Gala, when Prime Minister Andrew Holness will present him with the Jamaica Music Icon Award. Sanchez is known for his sharp, always well-groomed appearance on stage, and on this, he is expertly guided by his wife, who gave up her own fashion designing and dressmaking school to be beside him as he toured the world. In the past, she has even designed several of his outfits.
“We have two things in mind for this occasion, but Kevin’s fans know that whichever we choose, they will not be disappointed,” Monica said.
Sanchez, who had one of his biggest hits in 1988, the track Loneliness, was voted Singer of the Year, Best Up and Coming, and Best New Artiste by Rockers and Bins Awards that same year. He has since scored with songs such as Wild Sanchez, Love Mi Lover Bad (a combination with DJ Flourgon), If I Ever Fall In Love Again, Pretty Girl, One In A Million, Amazing Grace and Frenzy, which won for him the 2002 Songwriter of the Year Award from The Martin International Awards.
Among his other achievements are A Crest of the Township of Harrow, City of London, presented by the mayor; a proclamation and Keys to the City of Hartford, Connecticut; induction in the International Gospel Hall of Fame; the Governor’s Cup for Excellence at the Caribbean American Gospel wards; and honorary citizenship by the city of Lauderhill, Florida; and the Reggae Soca Award for the gospel song, Amazing Grace.