Chris Da Ambassada has a flamboyant stage presence. At the recent Tru-Life Promotions Gospel Live event he took to the stage in a leopard print jacket and matching shoes and immediately had the crowd on their feet and joining in with the gospel / reggae blend that he has become known for. Before he took to the stage we caught up with Chris Da Ambassada (AKA Christopher Grant) and found out about his music and his dramatic testimony.
That's your stage name, why Da Ambassada?
Chris Da Ambassada, to cut it short - I was preaching at a seminar once, I think that was in 2012, while I was doing that I remember one morning I felt like God was just saying something, but I was seeking to get to know God more. I had one of the tutors and he said "What is your purpose?" and the Holy Spirit said "The world is waiting to hear and you need to step out." So I said 'I need to rename myself, I need to get myself a name' and I remember looking in the mirror and I said 'Chris Da Ambassada'. You know what, the Bible says that we are all ambassadors for Christ, so I said 'you know what, I will jump in and take my portion as one of the ambassadors'. Well here I am today!
I love the idea of being an ambassador because if we are an ambassador for the kingdom, we take the kingdom with us. Whatever ground we stand on is the Kingdom's ground. If you have an Ambassador in London, you have the embassy and that is the land of the country that the embassy represents, so as an ambassador we represent God's Kingdom in the area that we stand in. You are part of the Kingdom and you take it out.
At the moment on your website you've got a split personality on there. Is there any particular reason for that? Are there 2 sides of Chris?
You see what is it, Chris Da Ambassada, the Lord gave me a word when I launched, and he said "changes to the world" and I'm thinking 'Lord, Changes to the world?' and He said "yes, changes to the world, use it as a slogan". So everywhere I go, before I sing a song I quote 'changes to the world', even now I am working on some t-shirts and I am trying to get that out, I launched my album, "Changes" and everything I do is about Changes.
The website, my manager designed the website, and when he had designed it he sent it back to me. I like it but I'm thinking 'why did he do it like that?' but when I look deeper into it, it reflects changes, change from one to the other and everything just keeps flipping itself automatically, so it was like a divine intervention there.
What is your background, your story and coming to faith in the first place, finding out who Jesus was and who you wanted him to be in your life?
I'm from a background from a place, originally from Jamaica, born and raised in Jamaica, born and raised, came here 2002 I came to the UK. Back then I used to do secular music, I remember when I was 14 years old I was on stage. I was doing all these things, smoking marjuana, drinking my own alcohol at 14, working, making my money, going to school, loads of women...
At 14, loads of women?
When I was 14, one of my girlfriends was 21 years old. I had more than 1 at 14. At 14 I feel like I'm a big man now, I know what a gun is and I started work everyday and I didn't leave my knife. When I came to the UK I thought 'I want to pursue my music', because I don't even really watch TV because music is something I dedicated to since I was young. My friends some wanted to be a cricketer, some want to be a runner, some want to be a footballer, some want to be a doctor, some want to be a lawyer, but I always want to be in music. I have an older brother and I tried to mirror my brother. And I get mixed up in all of these things and out there lost.
Until 2005 I actually get invited by a friend of mine to visit his church. I think 'I haven't got nothing to wear' but I still went, attended the service and the people were so nice and they invite us again and I went back, and I heard a voice at the time I didn't know where the voice was coming from. The voice said to me "It's time for you to give your heart to God" and I was a bit confused, and I heard it again, and then I heard it a third time. I went over to the Pastor and I said "I heard a voice telling me I should give my heart to God and I don't know what this means." And he said, go and speak to that lady, and this was a lady from America she was visiting as a preacher for the weekend. She looked at me and touched my 2 ears and said "what are you doing with all of these?" I used to have 2 big earrings in each ear. I smiled and I remember when she touched me on my forehead something picked me up off the floor and I feel on the floor backwards, but I didn't hurt myself. One thing I can remember was I was rolling down the aisles and I was screaming and crying out "Please Jesus don't leave me, Lord God don't leave me." I used to walk with this thing that was a weapon in my pocket, I remember my watch was on my hand and my watch broke off, my weapon went - and I don't know where these things went.
Since that day my life was transformed, since 2005, I met my wife and 2 beautiful kids and the rest is history.
That's obviously the past and it's a great story of transformation and God's obviously still doing that work. So what's the next thing? You had an album out in 2015, so it's obviously coming on time for another one.
That's right, I'm currently working on a project. It's a very big one, because I had a great success on the first one. That puts a high demand for a higher standard, so I am working hard in the studio, I'm working with the vocal guys, but we are trying to put everything together at the moment, but it's going to be very, very interesting.
Do you ever find, for yourself, going back to the phase that you were in around 14, 15, not the drugs side, but with the music where you get a little too intense with it? Do you ever find...if you have an alcoholic and they become a Christian, they can always slip back down that route? Do you ever feel that could be the case for you?
You know since God transformed my life, he dealt with me on the floor, and when I got up off the floor I was seeing different, I was hearing different and I was walking different. I always testify and say "God did what He did then on the floor before I got up, because He knew that if I didn't have a solid testimony I would be out there in the world." I don't really picture myself as someone who hasn't really been there and done it. If you're going to preach to me I need to see things happen. I'm one of those guys I call myself a "firestarter", I'm a bit radical.At times I feel that the workload is a bit tough, balancing family, balancing the ministry and I don't just sing music, I preach.
I first established to be a minister before I launched Chris Da Ambassada, because sometimes if you don't be careful you can get caught up in the hype of get up, dress nice, go on the stage and entertain. One of my philosophies is that an artist is not responsible for what they say, but a minister does. So as a minister I believe that you should get yourself on solid ground and let the Lord establish you and I believe that is the road I took.
That is why I can hold out, and even though the workload can be a bit heavy, juggling different things, I never feel to give up or to do the secular, even though I have a lot of people say to me, "Chris you are so good you can come on my side and sing about the girls and the drugs and these happy music, you'll be rich." I said "No, I'm OK, I will continue to praise God and seek souls for the Kingdom."