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In Remembrance of Oneil Edwards from Voicemail

05/28/10

Permalink 11:08:52 am, by amilnal
Categories: Entertainment, Culture, News

In Remembrance of Oneil Edwards from Voicemail

When he sang the words “Mr. Wacky is gone but his dancing lives on…”, O’Neil Edwards could never have known that his end would be equally tragic. He was named O’Neil Jason Charles Edwards at birth, an event that took place on May 8, 1974. One of ten siblings, O’Neil’s five sisters and four brothers knew that music would be the road he would take from early in their lives. He was destined to be in the music business, following in the footsteps of his father, well-known Jamaican recording artiste and producer Rupee Edwards. The performance and production of music was a part of O’Neil’s early life as he watched his father, heard the sounds, felt the excitement of the music business and decided this was what he wanted to do.

Even as he was making a decent living as an entrepreneur, the music business called out to O’Neil. Confident of his ability and determined to succeed, he joined with his neighbourhood friends, Jerome "Craig "Jackson, Kevin Blaire, Robert Manning and Leonardo Grant to form a multi-talented group of singers. It was 1999, and the new century was to bring a round of success for the brand new group Voicemail.

One hit after the other, with popularity rising, Voicemail became highly sought after on the dancehall scene. The group became a trio - Craig, Kevin and O’Neil. Although O’Neil’s deep and distinct baritone was sure to provoke loud screams, the trio was known for their seamlessly interlaced voices. Their mantra was one sound, one distinctive look, a group that moved in unison and sang in harmony.

This complete image, professional demeanour and focused outlook did not happen by accident. The standards were maintained through O’Neil’s management style. It was he who administered the group’s business. While the other’s trained, O’Neil toiled. He made the deals and confirmed the bookings, planned the tours, coordinated the recordings and thought through the promotions. He was the foundation upon which Voicemail was built. The life of a performing artiste is a challenging one. No one knows this more than O’Neil’s life partner, Ingrid Smalling. With every late night, early morning and long, gruelling hours, Ingrid provided the strength and support that O’Neil needed to make it through the labyrinth that the music industry can be. Their daughter, Nehalis Nastacia Edwards provided her father with a month of joy, born five weeks before he passed. ‘Fun and gregarious’, a man of style, that is how O’Neil Edwards’ friends and neighbours from the Duhaney Park community describe him. Always “Ready to Party”, always ready to dance.

O’Neil Jason Charles Edwards left Jamaica a message, one last voicemail. The circumstances of his death and the time at which he passed are both significant. O’Neil’s last voicemail serves to point Jamaica and the Jamaican recording industry in a new direction. A direction that seeks to help to build a nation, take a nation ‘Higher’. His wish would be that everyone in the fraternity would hold up their hands higher, clasp them together in his memory, and move as one to help to heal nation in distress.

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Sister Mary Margaret

SISTER MARGARET MARY, WHO WORKS FOR A LOCAL HOME HEALTH AGENCY WAS OUT MAKING HER ROUNDS WHEN SHE RAN OUT OF GAS.

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT A GAS STATION WAS JUST A BLOCK AWAY.

SHE WALKED TO THE STATION TO BORROW A CAN OF GAS TO START & THEN DRIVE TO THE STATION FOR A FILL UP.

THE ATTENDANT REGRETFULLY TOLD HER THE ONLY GAS CAN HE OWNED HAD BEEN LOANED OUT BUT IF SHE WOULD WAIT, IT WAS SURE TO BE BACK SHORTLY.

SINCE THE NUN ! WAS ON THE WAY TO SEE A PATIENT SHE DECIDED NOT TO WAIT & SHE WALKED BACK TO THE CAR. AFTER LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO FILL WITH GAS, SHE SPOTTED A BEDPAN SHE WAS TAKING TO THE PATIENT.

ALWAYS RESOURCEFUL, SHE CARRIED IT TO THE STATION & FILLED IT WITH GASOLINE, & CARRIED IT TO HER CAR.

AS SHE WAS POURING THE GAS INTO THE TANK, TWO MEN WERE WATCHING FROM ACROSS THE STREET. ONE OF THEM TURNED TO THE OTHER & SAID, "IF IT STARTS, I'M TURNING CATHOLIC".

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