Tyronne Dominic Walters, better known as Blessed Messenger, has copped the Caribbean Artiste of the Year award at this year's virtual staging of the fifth annual Sterling Gospel Music Awards (SGMA).
The SGMA is a Jamaican-based organisation which highlights the creativity, talent and stellar contributions in the growing and successful gospel industry in Jamaica and, by extension, the Caribbean.
The format of the awards ceremony, which was held last Sunday and endorsed by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in Jamaica, included a virtual red carpet photo booth and an awards ceremony with performances.
The event was aired live on Television Jamaica (TVJ) and on the station’s YouTube channel.
Speaking with Newsday on Tuesday, the 37-year-old Bethel, Tobago-born singer known for his powerful messages and high-energy performances, said he was elated.
“Though it’s a good feeling, all honour and glory to the most high for allowing me the opportunity to represent him on the international stage.
“All these awards are to me – it shows the sovereignty of my God. It is also a form of encouragement to myself, and it also speaks of the strength of my team which is my immediate family, church family, management Glow Entertainment, band Higher Levelerz Productions (HLP) and my personal team which I call Messenger Nation.”
The husband, father, gospel minister, motivational speaker, songwriter and worship leader is known for his popular hits such as Thank you in Advance, Move Mountains, Famalay, and Never Fail Me Yet among others.
But just how did he become involved in the competition?
“They saw the work that I have been doing and nominated me – for this I am thankful.”
However, he said he never expected to win, noting that other nominees in this category included Jaron Nurse, Samuel Medas and J Prince.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect it. It was hard to determine the winner in this category because everyone in it was deserving of this award as well.
“It now puts your name in the ears and mouths of a larger audience and opens doors that may have been a little more difficult to open in the past.”
The gospel artiste and songwriter said he has been in the music ministry for over 20 years.
"I use to look up to artistes such as Papa San, Sherwin Gardener and Kirk Franklin.
However, he has one target.
“In all, I have been involved with gospel ministry for about 20 years or more dating back since the age of 16 from junior choir to solo artiste. My goal has and will always be God’s messenger in this time and strive with everything I do, to be a good example.”
He said he intends to continue to “focus on ministry – pushing my morning devotions, continuous releasing of new music even in this pandemic and just continue to be a vessel used for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.”
He had one bit of advice for other gospel artistes.
“Continue to work on your craft. Practise what you preach and let Christ be the center of all that you do. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding and he will direct your path."