Did you know Aylesbury is home to a multi award winning musician who has been recognised by MOBO? Well you do now... meet Christopher Grant aka Chris Da Ambassada.
The 30-year-old makes people look good by day in his job as a barber at Salvino’s in Kingsbury and makes them feel good by night as an inspirational reggae gospel artist.
Reggae gospel may not fit into the label of typical mainstream music, but it would be a mistake to ignore Chris’ work on that basis as it is right out of the very top drawer. I should know I have been listening to his debut album Changes on repeat for the last week!
The Jamaican-born artist has been heavily influenced by the likes of legendary artist Beenie Man, Prodigal Son, Papa San, DJ Nicholas and his older brother who is also a reggae artist.
Chris first came to Aylesbury in 2002 to visit family and loved it so much he moved here in 2005. He went on to meet his wife Simone in the town and the couple now live together with their two ‘princes’ Kailen and Le’Krae with Chris describing Aylesbury as ‘a great place to raise a family’.
Between 2014 and 2015 the popular character won ‘Reggae Artist of the Year’ for both Prosperity Awards and Gospel Xplosion Music Media Awards (GXMMA) and so far this year has scooped both GXMMA’s ‘Song of the Year’ and ‘Music Video of the Year’.
His crowning glory so far, though, came when he was recognised by the MOBOs (Music Of Black Origin) earlier this year.
The world famous organisation even did a special feature on Chris which he says was a ‘great privilege’.
“It was a great platform for me to reach a wider audience and most importantly to spread the good news, to encourage and uplift especially the young people,” Chris said.
“Being recognised by MOBO is also a great platform to both display my music and create awareness of my ministry.
“These (awards) have all been great achievements for me and very encouraging to my ministry.”
So how did it all begin for Da Amabassada?
“I was consumed by music especially reggae from a very young age, and sang my first song aged four,” Chris said.
“I first discovered my musical talent as I got older watching my older brother singing and performing at concerts and street dances, which gave me the courage to become a greater artist.
“I had a radical encounter with God in 2005, where I saw my life take a significant change of direction.
“God is now the centre of my life, and the music I make is based on my own personal experiences. I seek inspiration from my faith and walk with God to write all of my songs.
“My goal is for my voice to be heard by the world to bring forth changes in lives and also help to maximize gifting in others, setting a good example of what life should be.”
Chris is keen to use his talents and music to help his hometown too.
“My dream and passion is to help all young men in Aylesbury to believe in themselves, and know that they can achieve great things in life by going about it in the right way,” Chris added.
“I preach ‘changes’ because I totally believe that I got this word from God to help to refocus and build young people, especially young men. I want to help them to become the men of tomorrow, the future husband, father, someone who cares for and loves others. I will not give up until my mission and mandate has finished because God sent me on this mission for a purpose.”
Chris says he is motivated to succeed by his two sons and says they too have already showed signs of being ‘very musical and gifted’.
But where does one of the stars of the reggae gospel scene hope his musical journey leads him in the future?
He said: “I am hoping to expand to a wider audience by regularly producing varied styles of music and staying current.
“I also want to stand out and be different to other artists, creating a unique personal brand and bringing forth a positive message that can bring ‘changes’ - giving the young people positive music to sing along to each day instead of singing about sex, drugs, money, guns, crime and vanity.”
Chris’s album changes features 15 songs with a real mixture of styles and he has been enthused by how well received it has been both locally and internationally since it was released last summer.
He added: “My music has been played on most of the UK’s radio stations including Premier Gospel, Soulcure, New Style Radio and GFM 96.6 to name a few. Internationally, songs from my album have reached chart positions of both 1 and 2 in ATL Praise House - Atlanta, USA. My music is played widely in Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, Miami and Europe.”
You can find out more about ‘Chris Da Ambassada’ at the following at www.chrisdaambassada.com or by following him on Twitter @daambassada and Facebook: Chris Da Ambassada.