Colwyn Lonsdale Murray may seem like the ordinary Immigration Officer many persons think him to be but when he pulls a note there’s nothing ordinary about him.
Recently, he blew up Facebook with one of his videos which went viral and has seen a thousand shares since.
“It was a holiday (Caricom Day) and work was really slow and people had requested videos since I usually post videos on Facebook… We had sung a new song — “Spirit Break Out” by William McDowell — in church the previous day so I Googled the song and started practicing. After a few takes, I posted it. A colleague of mine had introduced me to Odessa Primus [local actress] one day when she visited the office. She had said whenever I posted, remember to tag her and so I tagged Odessa. Usually when I share my videos I get a thousand views and twenty five shares or so…,” the young officer shared.
This time there was a record-breaking 2,000 likes, 1,000 shares and 50,090 views and counting. “That is incredible!” the young man excitedly added.
Music has always been a part of Colwyn’s life whether it was played on the radio or sung by him or other family members. He clearly recalls singing in front of his peers while attending nursery school whenever his teachers called upon him. But though he had a love for singing, he never saw himself as talented until one day a member of his church (Uitvlugt Wesleyan Healing Centre) pointed it out. The member believed his voice was good enough to be on display and organised a concert. Colwyn, still not sure of his talent, went along with the plan. Sometime later when the concert was announced and friends of his learnt he was singing, many were shocked and some snickered at him.
Then the night of the concert came. Colwyn stepped onstage and with the microphone to his lips blew the crowd away with his mesmerizing voice. His life changed after that.
Over time he went from being backup singer to lead.
And even though in 2013 he joined the Guyana Police Force this career path aided him as it brought out his boldness and shortly after he started posting his videos on Facebook. While in the Felix Austin Police College, whenever there was a church service, Colwyn led as one of the choristers.
But according to him, he’s more of the singer who has to be in the mood to sing and whenever that mood comes on and he’s at home, he goes downstairs and sings his heart out, then the neighbours would hear and everybody else would hear, he laughed. On one of those days when he was belting out his song, he spotted an elderly neighbour at his gate. Stopping, he enquired if he needed anything but the man requested that he continue as he had just come to hear him sing. Feeling a bit embarrassed yet not wanting to refuse the man, he continued.
Though his singing is mostly a form of expression and worship, there are times, when music comes as an escape and he explained what he meant by this. “Being a Christian I’m in an environment where there are a lot of expletives. Sometimes I find myself in a position where people say negative things or try to belittle me and I feel as if there’s nothing I can do so. Whenever I can sing, I always do,” Murray said. In such situations his favourite song to sing is “It’s Not By Might Nor By Power But By My Spirit Says The Lord.”
Whenever he’s not singing gospel, which is most of the time, he likes to sing R&B, Soul and some American country songs.
Growing up, his house was always filled with oldies and by oldies he means Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, although he remembers also hearing older oldies from world famed singers like Charlie Pride, Jim Reeves and the Beatles while his parents waltzed around the house, which he hopes to learn as well someday. His parents too are songbirds and would sometimes argue as to which one of them provided Colwyn’s talent.
They have been great supporters he said and always wanted to see him grow in the fear of God. Another relative who played a dynamic role in the way he turned out would also be his late uncle and former Assistant Commissioner of Police Derrick Josiah who died in 2013 shortly after he joined the force. His uncle, he said, taught him a very important lesson when it comes to discipline.
Growing up, Colwyn was always in trouble, always in some fight. However, one day when his mother became frustrated after having visited the school on numerous occasions, she sought to talk it over with his uncle who promised to show up at school the next time he misbehaved. Not taking his uncle seriously, he found himself in trouble again. However, this time instead of his mother showing up at school, his uncle did and taking his belt off his pants was about to teach him a lesson in front of the class. His teacher, pitying him, begged that he be left alone to which his uncle complied. Although he escaped a beating, he wept because of the embarrassment. That incident, he said, made him a better person and he has his uncle to thank for it not forgetting his teacher.
Singing he said, can be used as a form of ministry and that is just the way he intends to go. Colwyn has been inspired by local gospel artiste and friend, Samuel Medas as he’s impressed by the way God has used him and wants to be used in the same way as well.
Though it’s been just four years since he’s had his job, he’s already been promoted; something many persons in his field of work wait longer periods for and he strongly believes it’s because he’s remained humble that God has worked for him.
“Whenever I’m singing I give it my all because He deserves all. ‘Whatsoever you do, do it heartily unto the Lord but not unto man’ (Colossians 3:23),” Colwyn recited.
His free time finds him writing poems and songs. To date, Colwyn already has five singles that he plans on releasing in the near future, two of which are: “Not Going Back,” and “A Thousand Times Have Fallen.”
Since his famous post almost two weeks ago he’s been receiving numerous Facebook requests to a point where he can no longer accept friends. Colwyn is currently working on a cover for the 704 Competition where he’ll be performing as a special guest. He’s also met with producer Brandon Jones so as to make a cover of “Spirit Break Out”.
The aspiring artiste along with his videos can be found on Facebook at Colwyn Lonsdale Murray.