Gospel singer John Mark Wiggan seems to be “working” in 2023. With a recent stint as a judge at the JCDC gospel star competition and a commanding performance at the Jamaica Praise independence celebration at the National Arena, his career seems to be on an accelerated track to success.
The 27-year-old Jamaican-born singer is banking on his new single Work to take his God-centered message through music, outside the church walls. Although he was born in Jamaica, Wiggan spent his childhood and time as a teenager in the eastern Caribbean country of Antigua.
He credits his time in Antigua for influencing his sound and describes his music as “Caribbean Fusian”, influenced by reggae, dancehall, and soca.
The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts alum’s latest single Work has an undeniable soca identity that can easily rival the rhythmic potency and production of tracks on the Private Ryan Mix.
According to Wiggan, Work came at a time when his life was thrown into a period of unpredictability. He had just completed his studies at the Edna Manley College and was required to return to Antigua as a condition of his government funded scholarship. He felt a strong pull to remain in the island of his birth due to his desire for opportunities for professional growth and the calling that God had placed on his life for ministry in Jamaica. Unsure of his future John Mark was confronted by a word from God saying, “what you see as problems, I see as platforms” and “raddam the song drop ina mi lap”.
Engaging his skills as a producer, John Mark took to the studio and began producing the song with his backing band and musical family the SG Band, made up of former Edna Manley schoolmates. He performed the song for the first time in February of 2023 to an enthusiastic reception. John Mark found while performing the song to Christian audiences that there was a huge appetite, particularly from young Christians, to participate in the wave of soca popularity currently moving across Jamaica.
While soca gospel isn’t new, as the likes of Sherwin Gardner, Positive and Blessed Messenger have transitioned into the mainstream consciousness of Trinidadian music, it is relatively new to the Jamaican gospel diet. John Mark hopes it can soon become a staple standing alongside reggae gospel, dancehall gospel and traditional gospel music.
The 27-year-old believes soca is powerful in that it creates a feeling of joy and connection and when Christ is added to the rhythm it is an opportunity to spread a message of hope in a genre largely focused on “togetherness”.When asked whether or not he is open to his song being played in a fete or on the road , Wiggan is in full support of music entering those spaces , as he believes the gospel should penetrate the spaces where the people who need it most can hear it. As to whether or not he will
perform in same fete. John Mark “would have to pray on that one”. As he wants to ensure that his message is preserved and that if he enters the fete it is a direct mission from God.
Work is just a taste of what is shaping up to be a breakout year for John Mark Wiggan. Recently, he performed a collaboration with gospel crossover star Kevin Downswell, who Wiggan says has become his mentor. The collaboration is expected to be featured on his much-anticipated debut album “Validation” later this October. The album is expected to reflect his lifestyle and immerse listeners into the various sounds of the Caribbean with some American pop and gospel influences.