Colonels Ridge, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica
|Years active||Late 1970s–present|
|Labels||VP, Gee Street, Glory Music|
Carlene Davis (born c.1953) is a Jamaican gospel and reggae singer active since the 1970s. Successful since the early 1980s as a reggae artist, she survived cancer in the mid-1990s, after which she dedicated her career to gospel music. She has released over ten albums.
Davis was born in Colonels Ridge, Clarendon Parish and moved to England with her parents at the age of fourteen, where she began to perform professionally a year later, playing guitar in an all-girl band before joining the pop trio Toreadores. She then moved to Toronto, Canada where she lived for eight years. Davis initially found fame as a reggae singer. She recorded her debut single in Toronto, a version of "Leaving on a Jet Plane", and had a local hit with a version of Jimmy Cliff's "The Harder They Come".
In 1980 she returned to Jamaica to further her career, and performed at the Reggae Sunsplash festival in 1981. Also in 1981 she finished runner up in the Festival Song Contest with "Peace and Love". She had hits in Jamaica with "Like Old Friends Do", "It Must Be Love", "Winnie Mandela", "Stealing Love on the Side", "Dial My Number" and "Going Down to Paradise", and released a string of albums in the 1980s and first half of the 1990s, becoming one of Jamaica's most established female reggae artists. In 1985 she recorded a duet with Gregory Isaacs — "Feeling Irie" — on his Private Beach Party album. In 1990 she was named Best Female Vocalist at the Caribbean Music Awards. She toured as part of the Reggae Sunsplash World Peace Tour in 1991.
In 1996 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and her Christian faith became a more important part of her life. She returned to recording gospel music, which she had first recorded in the early 1990s. She released the album Vessel in 1998, and in 2000 her single "This Island Needs Jesus" was a major hit in several Caribbean countries. She became involved in cancer charity work, with half of the proceeds from her 2003 album Author and Finisher going to the Jamaica Cancer Society. Davis has continued to perform regularly, including appearances at the Redbones Blues Revue, Fun in the Son, and Live On The Waterfront.
In 2000, Davis was named Minister of music for The Family Church on the Rock in Kingston. In 2006 she gained a doctorate in pastoral counselling from the Trinity Theological Seminary in South Florida.
In 2014 Davis released the album Dripping Blood, and announced that 25 percent of royalties would go to US-based charity Samaritan's Purse to fund their work fighting Ebola in Liberia. The album reached number 3 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.
- I Remember (19??), Pioneer International
- At the Right Time (1980), Carib Gems
- Paradise (1984), Orange
- Yesterday Today Forever (198?), Nicole Music
- Taking Control (1987), Nicole Music
- Reggae Songbird (1990), Peter Pan
- Gospel Reggae (1991), VP
- No Bias (1991), Sonic Sounds
- Carlene Davis (1992), Gee Street
- Taking Control (1992), VP
- Songs of Bob Marley (1993), Eko/VP
- Christmas Reggae Rock (1992), Orchard
- Jesus Is Only A Prayer Away (1992)
- Songs of Freedom (1993), Lagoon
- Echoes of Love (1995), VP
- Passion & Pain (1995), Avex
- Vessel (1998), Jet Star
- Redeemed (2000), VP
- Alive For Jesus (2002), Gospel Times
- Christmas Everyday (2002)
- Author and Finisher (2003), Glory/VP
- Rock Me Jesus (2005), VP/Universal
- True Worship (2009), VP/Glory
- Dripping Blood (2014), VP/Glory
- The 15 Classics (1991), Sonic Sounds
- Best of Glory (2009), VP
- Songs in other projects
- Caribbean Gospel: Book One, "One Day at a Time", "Give All to Jesus" (2001), VP
- Caribbean Gospel: Book Two, "I Saw the Light" (with Junior Tucker), "I Surrender All" (2006), VP
- Caribbean Gospel: Book Three, "Rivers of Babylon/I Shall Not be Moved" (2009), VP
- "Carlene Davis". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-11-16.
- Tuber, Keith (1983) "Reggae's Carlene Davis Sends a Message From Jamaica", Orange Coast Magazine, January 1983, p. 88-90, retrieved 2011-04-29
- Campbell, Howard (2009) "Carlene Davis focuses on 'Best of Glory'", Jamaica Gleaner, 4 August 2009, retrieved 2011-04-29
- Pryweller, Joseph (1991) "Carlene Davis Sings Songs Of Freedom, Brings Music's Message to Norfolk Sunday", Daily Press, 5 July 1991, p. 13
- "Carlene Davis Finds Her Reggae Roots", Miami Herald, 1 October 1983
- Jebbinson, Andre (2006) "Singer, minister, now Dr Carlene Davis", Jamaica Gleaner, 8 October 2006, retrieved 2011-04-29
- Moskowitz, David V. (2006) Caribbean Popular Music: an Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, and Dancehall, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-33158-8, p. 79-80
- O'Brien Chang, Kevin & Chen, Wayne (1998) Reggae Routes: The Story of Jamaican Music, Ian Randle Publishers, ISBN 976-8100-67-2, p. 181
- Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, p. 130
- Smith, Toussaint (2005) "Carlene Davis grows closer to God", Jamaica Gleaner, 9 January 2005, retrieved 2011-04-29
- Santella, Jim (1991) "Sunsplash Whips Crowd Into Frenzy", Buffalo News, 27 June 1991
- "Carlene Davis - Redeemed and healed from cancer to Christ", yardflex.com, 1 July 2007, retrieved 2011-04-29
- "Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Society to educate through beauty salons", Jamaica Gleaner, 1 October 2003, retrieved 2011-04-29
- Batson-Savage, Tanya (2003) "Carlene Davis delivers at Redbones Revue", Jamaica Gleaner, 25 June 2003, retrieved 2011-04-29
- "A packed Fun in the Son", Jamaica Observer, 23 March 2010, retrieved 2011-04-29
- Thompson, Noel (2011) "Gospel Night At Live On The Waterfront Welcomed", Jamaica Gleaner, 27 April 2011, retrieved 2011-04-29
- "Carlene Davis makes good on her promise", Jamaica Observer, 4 November 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014
- Campbell, Howard (2015) "Davis finds glory on billboard", Jamaica Observer, 30 July 2015. Retrieved 8 August 2015