Features, Inspiring Women

Nigela St. Clair-Daniel – Ready to Take on the World

By Marvlin Anthony
Nigela St. Clair-Daniel
Nigela St. Clair-Daniel

Nigela St. Clair-Daniel is easy to love. She has a charm that’s hard to miss and her voice is like a melody. And on top of that, her personality is infectious too. Born and raised in Saint Lucia, Nigela St. Clair-Daniel is a singer-songwriter, Christian (to the core!) and overall, a fun-loving individual.

I interviewed Nigela a few days ago, and must admit that the minute she said “hello” (we spoke over the telephone), she captivated my attention. She greeted me with such warmth and oozed with joy, it was hard not to like her.

Nigela started singing at an early age. She grew up listening to her father, Wilfred St Clair-Daniel, as he sang some of his favourite songs and according to her, it had quite an effect on her.

Her father’s voice was mesmerizing and she studied him as he did his chores.

“My dad is a former Speaker of the House of Assembly. He was a very authoritative figure (and) a lot of persons knew him for his voice. As much as he was such a powerful figure in the public eye, at home, (he) was the warmest, kindest, most loving person, and I grew up seeing him sing around the house. My dad would sing whilst he was making his tea, whilst (he was) in the shower, (etc.) I suppose I attached (myself) to (music) because of the joy that it brought,” Nigela said.

“I can still remember some of (the) hymns that he used to sing around the house and that kind of stuck with me… growing up… he would sing loudly (and) I started (doing the same thing). From there I started to sing in the choir at the Methodist school and then I started to sing in the choir at the Methodist church in Castries,” she added.

But when Nigela’s father died, her life changed considerably… in ways she could not imagine.

“Even if my grandfather stepped in legally, adopted me, and gave me so much love, there was a lot that was going on with me as a teenager. A lot of young women don’t grow up without a father, so as much as my grandfather was there, that hurt and that void was very present,” the singer explained.

She ultimately turned to Jesus.

“I was not able to find peace and have proper healing until I found Jesus. When I found Jesus I realized that God loved me beyond all the hurt I’d been through. He took away my hurt, my pain (and) He took away a lot of the anxiety (and) depression I (went) through … to see that I’ve found peace, love (and) joy, of course I definitely want to share that with others!” she said.

Nigela poured her heart in music hoping it would inspire others to turn to Jesus. She has released a number of songs including a chart-topping hit (I’ll tell you more about that later) and according to her, she intends to release more music in the “very near future.”

Her music is packed with Caribbean flavour. In fact, she said, “when you hear my music, what you hear is more or less like a bouillon, so anyone in any Caribbean country can listen to my music and be able to identify with it.”

Nigela absolutely loves her home country (she’s ‘Lucian to the bone!’ like we say), and though she currently lives in Trinidad, she makes it her duty to visit Saint Lucia regularly. (She’s from Gros Islet by the way).

Her music has taken her to various places and Nigela couldn’t be more grateful.

“Recently I had the opportunity to sing and speak to some of the prisoners in Trinidad and Tobago. I’ve done (this) in Saint Lucia at Bordelaise (and) also at the Boys Training Centre. I’m grateful for the big stages, but these opportunities always give me sharp reminders as to why I do what I do: to bring messages of hope especially unto persons who feel forgotten, persons who feel left out and persons who need someone to remind them that people care and God loves them,” Nigela said.

According to her, “I think it is one of the most gratifying and humbling experiences I’ve had so far.”

Nigela has performed at a number of festivals and this has certainly been a blessing for her.

She has participated in songwriting competitions “which I won in Saint Lucia, and those opportunities gave me I suppose the confirmation that I’m doing something right, (that) maybe I’m not so bad at this, maybe this is something that I can actually pursue.”

“It gave me a stepping stone in terms of the opportunity to sing with others. Thank God I’ve been able to share the stage with a number of persons (including) Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary, Chevelle Franklyn, Marvia Providence, Jaron Nurse, Positive, Samuel Medas, the list goes on,” she said.

Nigela also performed at the Gospel Music Festival in Trinidad earlier this year.

“When I realized that I would have the opportunity to officially represent my country it meant the world to me. I was fully supported by the Ministry of Culture in Saint Lucia. I had a full band, background singers, a Creole drummer (and) six dancers. The Ministry of Tourism also provided the backdrop video that I used on the LED screen. I incorporated a lot of our music into my set—I was singing Patois and people were responding,” she said, adding that she wanted to ensure that people saw what Saint Lucia has to offer.

Songbird, dancer and more, Nigela’s doing it all. As for that chart topper?

“‘Under the Blood’ has made it to the number one spot in a number of places (around) the world,” Nigela told me.

“My song has been on charts in the UK, in the U.S. and recently I got an opportunity from Kenya where they interviewed me based on the fact that they heard my music. They actually asked me to partner with them for a dance competition,” she said.

Nigela believes that we all will leave a mark in this world in some kind of way. In what way, however? That’s for us to decide, she said.

“Why not leave a mark where you can assist in turning society around? I love Saint Lucia (and) my part is to share that light of Jesus Christ; to give people a solution. Jesus is the answer,” the singer noted.

As for her greatest accomplishment? Nigela said although she has been nominated for several awards “I think my greatest accomplishment thus far is just knowing that I have a positive impact on the youth.”

This songbird is ready to take on the world, and in some ways, she already has. Nigela says there’s a lot more in store for fans;

“You can definitely expect a lot more… in the very near future. Persons can look out (for more music) on all my social media pages; Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, everything is under @nigelamusicministry.”

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