Despite the many obstacles in her way over the years, Martine Graham has made it her mission to bring as many lives to Christ as she possibly can through the gift of song. Throughout her musical journey, she has sung for the Governor General of Jamaica, all Seventh Day Adventist conferences island wide and countless other events since the days of her youth.
The 45-year-old singer hails from the town of Buff Bay in Portland. She grew up under the guiding care of her mother Naomi Johnson, who joined the Seventh Day Adventist Church when Mrs. Graham was 4 years old. Her mother was invited by one of her neighbours, who was a baptized member of the Buff Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church, to a crusade during this time and eventually became a believer of the gospel herself. To ensure that her daughter gained a strong connection with the Lord, Mrs. Graham’s mother ensured that she religiously attended church every Saturday.
“My mother, who we affectionately call Auntie Lorna, was actually brought up in a Sunday Church. I’m not sure which one it was but my grandmother sent her to a nearby Sunday church until she was old enough to decide if she wanted to continue. She eventually chose the world instead of God and drifted down the wrong path in ways that I do not wish to disclose. This is why when she eventually became an Adventist and came back to the religion, she made sure that she planted my roots deeply into it. After all, Proverbs 22:6 tells that we should train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” she said.
She spent most of her days with her mother until she eventually decided to move in with her boyfriend at the time and leave the parish of Portland altogether. They left Portland to pursue an independent life free from the restrictions of their parents and the judgement of others. They didn’t leave with a particular plan in mind or any financial backing and as soon as they rented their first room, Mrs. Graham got pregnant shortly after. It wasn’t an easy road that the both of them embarked on but life is filled with risks and this is one that were willing to take.
“My mother wasn’t fond of my boyfriend at all. She was always warning me not to get involved with ‘Daphne dutty foot bwoy’,” she said
After the birth of her son, Mrs. Graham, her boyfriend and her mother all came to a mutual understanding and together they all moved to her aunt’s residence in a West Rural St. Andrew community called Lawrence Tavern. It is here in Lawrence Tavern that she met her best friend, Nicole Williams. They first interacted at church one Saturday when fate placed them beside each other on the benches of the Lawrence Tavern Seventh Day Adventist Church and they just instantly connected. Interestingly enough, it was Nicole who taught her how to fully master the art of a good vocal performance.
“I had been singing for years up until this point and people at church and other places would marvel at the power and control in my voice. But singing time and time again at church, I’ve always felt that there was something missing in my performances. You know that feeling when you’ve done good but deep down you know you can do better. That was how I felt before I met Nicole. She was a trained singer and she taught me so much about intonation, pitch, belting and helped me to develop a more rounded and less breathy head voice. After joining her singing group and receiving her advice for a couple years, I was ready for the road as the young people would say,” she said.
Years later, she broke up with her boyfriend and pursued a career in primary education. Upon completing her studies, her sister in Portland made her aware of a job opening at the Norwich Primary School and she took the opportunity and went. It was at Norwich Primary that she found the love of her life, Dennis Graham.
“I met Dennis and fell in love after we dated for a while. I moved in with him to the community of Swift River, where as you know, I currently reside. We are all baptized members of the Seventh Day Adventist church and I continue to sing for the Lord every chance that I get in order to win souls for his Kingdom,” she said.
Mrs. Graham’s musical talents continue to bless the hearts of many and she inspires a lot of young people within the church to remain faithful and consistent to God in the walk of life.
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