Ernie Smith will bring musical pleasure at this year' s Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP) Living Legacy Awards.
Slated for September 28, this year's awardees are four Jamaicans who have made significant contributions to nation-building. They include: Glen Christian, founder and Chairman of CARIMED; Joy Crooks, founder of the Committee for the Upliftment of the Mentally Ill (CUMI); physician Owen James, and Dr Jean Small, educator, author and theatre practitioner.
"As one of the first CCRP Living Legacy Award recipients (in 2012), I am looking forward to performing at this year's event. CCRP continues to ensure that Jamaica remembers the legacy of our elders, and I applaud them for it," said the renowned singer, songwriter and musician.
Born in Kingston in 1945, Smith grew up in a large musical family (he has eight siblings) in St Ann. After high school, he formed a singing group with four of his brothers and sisters, and his career took off when he recorded I Can't Take It at Federal Records.
Smith's professional music career grew from strength to strength. He won grand prize at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo with his song Life Is Just For Living the first Jamaican musician at the time to win an international award. He was the first popular musician to be honoured by the Jamaican Government with the Badge of Honour in 1973.
Smith lived in Canada for 13 years, and is credited with popularising reggae there. Returning to Jamaica in 1988 after Hurricane Gilbert, Smith recalls watching people exchanging gifts and thanking God for life, instead of crying over their losses.
Last year, he celebrated 50 years since his first recording, with a Mass at the Bamboo Catholic Church where he once served as an altar boy; and a Solid Gold concert.
The CCRP Living Legacy Award was established in 2012 to honour the legacy of Jamaica's seniors. Since then, over 100 Jamaicans have received the award, with their citations outlining their contributions to the nation. Living Legacy Award recipients should be 55 years old or over, and should have served beyond the call of duty.