Versatility With A Purpose: St. Vincent Sensation Hayden Billingy
  Gavin Luke
November 2019

Keeping busy and keeping purposeful is what Hayden Billingy does best. This talented individual emerging from Orange Hill, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has long since proven to be multi-skilled. “I am really a Development Consultant in the environmental field,” he professes, but to many in the creative world he is also a singer, song-writer, music producer and most recently author of a Caribbean cook book.  His passion for music and all else is what keeps him grounded and provides an outlet for him to ‘keep calm’.

Before gravitating towards music, as a youngster he engaged in the writing of poetry. On reflection he admits, “I grew up very lonely. I started at a place where I wrote my thoughts down starting with poems and it soon graduated to turning to song to express myself.”  The very first song he wrote was one on ‘cheerleading’ for Bishops College in Georgetown for a school sports event.  The song incidentally won the Schools Road March Competition in 1997.  This influenced his decision to join several bands and choirs in his younger years. Upon choosing to do his Bachelor’s degree in Forest Engineering in Cuba his passion did not desert him as it was only a matter of time before his Cuban lecturer was fuelling his interest.  “He taught me songs and encouraged me to perform in front of the public for exposure.”  This included the privilege of performing in the Thomas Terry Theatre in Cienfuegos, Cuba.

On return to St Vincent, Hayden continued to channel his energies positively towards others by using his skillsets as a vehicle to inspire others. To his credit he has written and released over twenty songs in various genres and has already released two albums entitled Hold On and Love Over Hate. “Hold On was a message to myself, despite my own afflictions and situation at the time. Love Over Hate was intended to reflect that love is an expression that characterizes Christ and should be the force that drives us as believers of Christ.”

For those who are attentive to his works, some of his popular tracks include Pour It Out, Good Times, No Life and his recently released Stone Heart. Hayden is also one of the directors of Arch City Entertainment Management Agency, one of the leading events, production and recording companies for Christian Music in St Vincent and the Grenadines. He has previously achieved nominations for the SVGAMP Awards for Gospel Single of the Year 2016, Gospel Single of the Year 2017, Songwriter of the Year 2017, Best Vocal Collaboration of the Year 2017 and Best Video of the Year 2017. His most recent release in 2019 was Feel Him in My Soul.  Having already performed in Cuba, Holland, Gospelfest in Barbados and in Florida and Chicago, he does cite as his influences people like Smokie Norful, Andre Crouch and Beres Hammond, but again reminds, “My love for God drives my music.”

When quizzed about the inspiration behind his recent cook book released in May 2019 and entitled “Cook Calypso”, he explains, “It was the tendency to have to be cooking for various NGOs and sharing my cooking pictures on Facebook.” The feedback from his peers to write the book was encouragement enough.  The book is, as he puts it, “About Caribbean foods and delicacies expressed as culinary works of art.”

In the field of book writing, we can next expect “Nine days of pursuit of happiness - A lifetime of benefits”, from Bellingy. This one, he proclaims, will be inspirational and intended to to help people recapture the essence of happiness in their life. “We need to come back to that place of joy where we feel a sense of peace and happiness,” he states.

His current Facebook Live show “The Jump Start, which he also hosts, was, according to him, created to bring clarity and awareness to issues affecting us both economically and spiritually. If well delivered he sees no reason why the show cannot get onto a network.

Amidst all this activity, one cannot forget his work as an Environmental Consultant, which has seen his involvement in such major initiatives as the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with emphasis on such issues as climate change, food and agriculture via the United Nations and similarly with one on Climate Change Adaption in the Eastern Caribbean Fisheries Sector.  He also does work on many Saturdays as a motivational speaker where he does camps with youths on topics such as “Youth Empowerment and finding your purpose”.

Hayden does not see himself taking on less responsibility any time in the near future as he aspires to continue to use all his capabilities to further the cause of elevating emerging gospel artistes and to continue to use both the conventional media and social media to send messages of hope.

He concludes: “At the end of the day it is never about me.  It is about helping others to live a purpose driven life.”

You can check out some of Hayden’s music at the links below:

All photos are courtesy of Hayden Billingy

By: Gavin Luke | FEATURES | November 2019

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