When Steven Malcolm was nine, his father was deported back to Jamaica. His mother turned to alcohol, and he gravitated toward the streets. But his search for identity would ultimately lead him to his heavenly Father.
His new album, The Second City, tells some of that story. His father’s hometown, Montego Bay, is often called ‘the second city’. But for him, the title also symbolises the second chance that comes with redemption.
At 18, Steven was studying Criminal Justice, and pursuing a basketball career. But when events in his life caused him to look in the mirror, he realised he was lost. ‘I found myself a young, talented kid, who was generally a good kid, but I didn’t know who I was, and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do on this Earth. Everybody here in Grand Rapids kept telling me about this hip hop Church. Go check this place out! And I’m like nah, I’m not into the whole Church thing.’
It seemed like the opposite of the party life he was enjoying. But he had a basketball friend who’d given his life to Christ a year earlier. Having someone he knew well to go with inspired him to try it out. ‘I walked in there, and everything I was going through in that time, God became the answer to that. And the rest is history.’
‘I started leading worship at the hip hop Church,’ he said, ‘and then I felt this calling really to pursue it as a career. And so I diligently did that, and stewarded that to the best of my ability, and tried to be the hardest worker in the room, and got a record deal two years ago.’
Since then he’s produced two awesome albums, and made what might be Alex’s favourite song, Fuego. ‘It literally is fire!’’ she said.
Either we can hold onto that strength that is in God… & continue to praise… or give into it
He admitted it’s his favourite too. ‘When I press play at my shows, it goes crazy. So Fuego’s my baby.’
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing though. In his latest single, Even Louder, he says: ‘The harder my depression hits, the louder my praise gets.’ Through the hardships in his own life, he’s realised that the sin and brokenness in the world means all of us will go through experiences that leave us stressed, depressed or frightened.
‘We have two choices when we’re in that spot,’ he said. ‘Either we can hold onto that strength that is in God, that is in Christ, and continue to praise, and continue to pray, and to worship, and to fight through it, or give in to it, and crumble. And we can’t.’
That got him thinking about all the suffering Job endured. ‘And still he chose to not curse God. It’s like: the little I’m going through? Imagine if my whole family’s just died! So I want to be that person, who I can be down and out, and still lift up my voice, and say Christ is Lord.’
Steven is dedicated to serving the world with the gifts God gave him. It was partly losing his real father that helped him find his heavenly one. And that journey has taught him how important it is that those of us who know the Truth are outspoken about our faith.
That night he attended hip hop Church, looking for himself, he found someone else as well, someone who sacrificed his life for people he would never even meet. ‘I was like yo, there’s a Man who loved me so much, that lived a perfect life. There was no reason for Him to die. And He chose to take on that for me. The least I can do is tell the world about Him.’
Steven Malcolm’s new album, The Second City, is out now. If Alex had her way, Vision180 would just play Fuego 24/7 from now on. But our music director says we have to play some other stuff too! Still it’s always in the mix, so stay tuned!