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Tributes paid to late gospel icon Lavine Hudson

FAITH: Lavine Hudson pursued her dream of becoming a gospel singer from the age of just 16

TRIBUTES POURED in thick and fast on social media following the announcement that UK gospel pioneer Lavine Hudson had died following a long battle with lupus. She was 55.

MOBO Award-winning singer Lurine Cato described Lavine as a gospel pioneer and trailblazer, penning a personal tribute which mentioned the fact that although she had been star-struck by Hudson when she was young, the singer always encouraged her.

Cato shared on Facebook:

“Had the opportunity to sing one of your songs in your presence some years back ... what an honour, what a memory, what a lady that sang with anointing and passion and with such skill.

“That smile, that elegance your voice and all you did will live on #RIP.”

Worship singer Faye Simpson wrote on Facebook:

“RIP Lavine. A singer that proved to us there are no boundaries when it comes to gospel music.

“She showed us if you applied excellence with the right spirit, there’s no telling where it will take you. An amazing role model to myself and many others. Gone but not forgotten.”

Hudson holds a special place in British gospel music history because she was, and remains, the only UK female gospel artist to sign a deal with a major record company. Her debut album, Intervention, was released on the Virgin record label in 1988 to critical acclaim and peaked at No. 19 in the US Billboard gospel chart.

Her second album, Between Two Worlds, failed to attain the same level of success and she was let go by the label when it was bought by EMI.

Nicky Brown, Director of Music at Ruach City Church, got his first taste of working on a major music project when he worked as producer on Intervention. He said:

“Lavine was a super-confident and amazingly talented singer and songwriter and was wowing us and all the guests that would come to our church on a regular basis.

“Her dad took a keen interest in my musical progress and made a plan that we should work together – and that is how my career started.”

Even though Hudson’s illness curtailed her ability to produce music, she still thought that she would be healed and often sent Brown messages that they’d work together again.

Hudson is one of five siblings, born on June 26, 1961 to the late Reverend Austin Hudson and his wife Elaine.

She honed her talent within the Calvary Church of God in Christ UK (COGIC UK), playing the piano and guitar. She always harboured a desire to sing and at 16 joined UK gospel group The Harmonisers.

Pursuing her dream, Lavine won a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and while in the states performed alongside many of the leading gospel singers of the time including The Clark Sisters.

Upon her return to the UK, Lavine’s reputation grew and soon after winning a talent competition advertised in The Voice newspaper, she was signed by Virgin Records. She was also a featured guest on flagship UK gospel TV show People Get Ready, alongside Bishop John Francis and other gospel luminaries of the 1980s.

Hudson was diagnosed with lupus in 1992, an illness which greatly limited her efforts to pursue her musical ambitions.

Despite her illness, Hudson maintained her faith and listened to Premier Radio and Premier Gospel religiously, gaining great comfort and encouragement from the shows.

Hudson is survived by her mother and four brothers.

Her funeral will be held on Tuesday, April 25 at COGIC UK, 102 Fentiman Road, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1QA.

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