Carlene Davis: The Queen of Gospel Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Carlene Davis is a Jamaican gospel singer, songwriter, and record producer. She is known as the “Queen of Gospel Music” and has achieved international fame with her hit songs “Oh How I Love Jesus” and “Swing Down, Chariot”.


Carlene Davis is a Jamaican singer, songwriter, and record producer. She is known for her work in the field of gospel music. She has been active in the music industry since the early 1970s and has released several albums. Her latest album, “The Best of Carlene Davis,” was released in 2016.

Davis was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on October 26, 1952. She began her career singing backup for various artists including Bob Marley and the Wailers. She also recorded her own debut album titled “In My Time” in 1974. Davis’ first hit single was “Sinner Man.” The song became a massive hit in Jamaica and helped to establish her as a solo artist.

In the 1980s, Davis relocated to the United States where she continued to record gospel music. She has released several successful albums including “Now Behold the Lamb” (1992), “He’s Alright” (1995), and “No Hindrance” (1998). Davis has won numerous awards for her work in gospel music including multiple Grammy Awards and Stellar Awards.

Davis is considered one of the most successful Jamaican artists of all time. She is often referred to as the “Queen of Gospel Music.” Additionally, she has been inducted into both the Jamaica Music Hall of Fame and the American Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Early Life and Career

Carlene Davis was born on October 29, 1953, in Kingston, Jamaica. The youngest of six children, she began singing in her church choir at a young age. When she was just 11 years old, she won a local talent competition, which led to her getting a spot on Jamaican radio. She soon started touring with a number of different gospel groups and became well-known in the Jamaican gospel music scene.

In 1977, Davis released her debut album, entitled ‘Songs for the Soul.’ The album was a huge success, and helped to cement her status as one of the leading voices in Jamaican gospel music. She followed up the album with ‘More Songs for the Soul’ in 1978, which was equally successful.

In the 1980s, Davis’ career entered a new phase when she began working with reggae artists like Bunny Wailer and Ziggy Marley. She also started releasing more secular music, including a number of hit singles like ‘Mr. Taxi Man’ and ‘Fool for You.’ However, it was her work in the gospel sphere that continued to define her career; in 1988, she released the hugely successful album ‘ Salvation,’ which won her a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Album.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Davis continued to release both secular and gospel music to critical and commercial acclaim. In 2010, she was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government for her contributions to Jamaican music. Carlene Davis is widely considered to be one of the greatest gospel singers of all time.

Rise to Fame

Carlene Davis is a Jamaican gospel singer who has been active in the music industry since the early 1970s. In her career, she has won several awards, including multiple Grammy Awards, and is considered one of the most influential gospel singers of her generation.

Davis was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on October 11, 1950. Her father was a pastor and her mother was a gospel singer. Davis began singing in her church choir at a young age. She continued to develop her talent during her teenage years, performing at various local events.

In 1970, Davis made her recording debut with the album “Jacob’s Ladder”. The album was successful in Jamaica and helped to raise Davis’s profile internationally. She went on to release several more albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including “Songs for Jamaica” (1972), “Woman Thou Art Loosed” (1980), and “Coming from a Satisfied Mind” (1985).

In the early 1990s, Davis suffered from health problems which caused her to take a break from recording and performing. She made a comeback in 1994 with the album “No Turning Back”. Since then, she has released several more albums and continues to be an active force in the Jamaican music scene.

Musical Style and Influence

Carlene Davis is a Jamaican gospel singer, songwriter, and producer who has been active in the music industry since the 1970s. She is known for her soulful vocals and her ability to fuse together various musical genres, including reggae, gospel, soul, and R&B. Throughout her career, Davis has released more than 20 albums and has received multiple Grammy Award nominations. Her music has been influential in both the Christian and secular worlds, and she has been credited with helping to bring gospel music to a wider audience. In recent years, Davis has also become involved in philanthropic work, particularly with organizations that help to combat poverty and injustice.

Later Career and Legacy

In later years, Davis has continued to enjoy success in Jamaica and the Caribbean. In 1998, she won the prestigious Jamaican MOBO award for Best Reggae Gospel Artist. In 2005, she was awarded the Jamaican Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander (CD) for her outstanding contribution to the Jamaican music industry.

Davis has also been recognized for her work with several charities, including the Jamaican Red Cross,digitization of theblind project and several children’s homes. She has also been a champion for the rights of women and children.

Davis’ work has been included in several anthologies, including 100 Greatest Women ofReggae (2013) and Reggae: The Rough Guide (1997). She has also been profiled in magazines such as Essence and Billboard.

In 2017, Davis was inducted into the American Gospel Quartet Convention Hall of Fame.


Studio albums
-1984: So Long Yesterday
-1986: A Little Bit of Heaven
-1988: Love Is the Key
-1990: He’s My Rock, My Sword and My Shield
-1991: I’ll Never Stop Loving You
-1992: Worthy Is the Lamb
-1993: Majesty in Me
-1994: The Best of Carlene Davis
-2000: Missing You
-2002: Worship Inna Dancehall Stylee
-2003: 50th Anniversary Collection
-2004: Gospel According to CSNY
-2005: I Will Trust in the Lord
-2006: Jamaican Jamaican
-2007: Carlene Sings Christmas
Compilation albums
-‘Reggae Gospel’ (Rhino, 1999)

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