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|Eleuthera's Eddie Minnis: Nassau Guardian|
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|Posted by:||Oct 9th 2003, 03:45:54 pm|
Bahamian Artist, Poet, Singer, Songwriter
By MONIQUE FORBES Guardian Features Reporter
For more than three decades the art of Eddie Minnis has delighted enthusiasts around the world.
With mere strokes of the paintbrush this multi-faceted Bahamian artist brings people and places to life on canvas, and through his colourful song lyrics and prose, captivates his audiences.
"I guess I'm more of a story teller; I see things happening in the community and our everyday life, and try to put it together in a humorous fashion, while at the same time getting the message and the moral of the story across," says Minnis, describing his work during a recent visit with Guardian Lifestyles.
The full time painter, part-time singer/songwriter, and former Guardian caricaturist, born and raised in Nassau, admits he always had his sights set on a full-fledged career in the arts.
"All of my life I've been involved with some form or other of the arts. Ever since I was in high school at St. Johns College, art was my favourite subject, and I started out in 1969 as a professional artist," explains Minnis.
Interestingly, young Eddie received a scholarship to attend Canada's McGill University in 1966, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. However, it was a few college English courses that peaked his interest in writing.
"In the early 1970's I started writing poems. Then I decided that rather than just do poems I'd do songs," said Eddie.
Songs that he has shared with local audiences again and again over the years, include: Shot Gun Wedding, Granny Flying, and even more recently, Church Out, Crab Crawling.
"I thought, even if nobody read your poems, they hear your song on the radio and get the message anyway," he comments.
Despite his love for writing, Eddie had a stronger love for painting which he decided to do full time.
"I had a passion for it. It couldn't be denied; money was never the object, it was something I just knew I had to do!" he enthuses.
"My belief was the weekend was too short to live for, so I wanted to do something that I could live for every day. The freedom afforded by being an artist whereby I could set my own hours if I wanted to If I could make a living and enjoy what I do on a daily basis," adds Eddie.
He admits it was very difficult early on as an artist to convince local persons that investing in his paintings was worthwhile, and today he has made a name for himself among the top Bahamian painters whose work are in demand.
Amazingly over the years he's still also found time to produce some 82 original songs.
Spirituality and His Music
The former Nassau Guardian "Pot Luck" cartoonist now lives in Eleuthera, where he says he spends his time doing door to door ministry as a Jehovah's Witness. He says his spirituality plays an integral part in the message of his music, so he keeps it at a G (general audience) rating. Even more recently, Eddie says he's happy that even schools are using the messages in his songs to teach students.
"Religion should be a way of life, and God has given me a talent, and I try to express it the best way I can, and always keep in mind Gods principles," he responds.
And who inspires Eddie Minnis?
Eddie says his mom Kathleen has always been a strong pillar of strength, showing support for him in all of his endeavours.
"She is the one who has always encouraged me to do my best, and she has always encouraged me in whatever I did. She was there for me," he says with much emotion.
Additionally, Minnis lists Bahamian entertainer Ronnie Butler, and British boy band The Beatles as his musical inspirations.
Even though he has sold thousands of copies of his music over the years, Eddie says it's a "hobby".
Recently, he reintroduced 18 of his songs in a CD entitled Greatest Hits Volume II, the third in a series of songs on CD. Some he says are a remake of his classics in an effort to produce a richer sound to replace those recorded in the 1970's on 8 track cassettes.
"This is the collaboration of songs that has never been on a CD before. These are songs that I've recorded since the mid 1970's. I realise there is a whole generation of Bahamians that have never heard this music or were never able to purchase it," he states.
Pick up the Mail from the Mail, Alcohol, The Finance Man, and Eleuthera are just a few of the songs on the latest album which also features fellow artists Sweet Emily and Ronnie Butler.
A Hole in my Heart, It Takes a Woman (I and II) and Tommy are the four newest original songs to make the CD.
A man who describes himself as "laid back" when he's not working on a project, Eddie says fans can look forward to Greatest Hit Volume III due next summer. And possibly a concert later this year.
Over the years Eddie says he feels the attitude to Bahamian music has become more positive.
"Even though we would like to have international acclaim, the deal is, if we have Bahamians who appreciate what we do and support us, that will go a long way," he comments in respect to the support local artists receive.
With this in mind Eddie urges more Bahamians to call local radio stations and request to hear music from Bahamian artists like himself, and "Let them know, so we can maintain what is uniquely ours - The Bahamian culture!"
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