Leap of faith brings rich rewards
Olivia Hamilton’s self-confidence took a nosedive at the beginning of the year.
After singing and performing for close to two decades, the 28-year-old started to question why she hadn’t had her “big break”.
“It was definitely a hard time this year and I began feeling like my window for opportunity in the music industry had passed, like I was too old to pursue my dreams,” she said.
“I felt like I should let it go and move on, but my faith is what helped to change my mind.
“I know that God doesn’t make any mistakes and that He has given me this gift for a reason. I just had to stop playing small and go for it. I took a leap of faith and the opportunities have just started coming.”
Ms Hamilton is the opening act at the City of Hamilton’s New Year’s Eve celebrations. American R&B artist Keri Hilson and Bermuda band Working Title will also perform at the free event on Front Street.
It’s just one of the gigs she’s been blessed with recently.
“It’s amazing what happens when you make the decision yourself for your life,” she said.
“Only you and God know how you feel and what it’s going to require to chase your dreams. And only you have to deal with the consequences.
“I have to constantly remind myself of that so, while 2017 was a year for learning and challenges, I believe 2018 will be a year of restoration. I’m hoping everything will get back into alignment and believe everything I’ve been through career-wise, professionally and personally, has brought me to where I am today and has made me ready for such a time as this.”
Ms Hamilton started singing in the church as a young child. Her faith grew at Heritage Worship Centre where her grandfather, Reverend Dr Goodwin Smith, was the Bishop.
“I believe the opportunities and the blessings coming to me now are because of the faith I was raised in,” she said. “I’m an adult and have strayed from my faith along the way, but those early years were the foundation in my relationship with God and what I always go back to. It’s what keeps me grounded.”
One thing God helped her to overcome this year was her pattern of negative thinking.
The second she realised He was truly on her side everything started to change. She realised God was boosting her self-confidence, telling her that He had given her the power “to do anything”.
“So I feel like, for me, one of the biggest lessons I have learnt in 2017 is to decide who you are according to God, and not who people say you are.
“We live on a small island and everyone thinks they know you, but the second you start to see yourself the way that God sees you — that you are fearfully and wonderfully made — that’s when things get better.
“Even when a million people around you are saying ‘no’ and doors are closing in your face, God has the final say. He knows you are worthy.”
Ms Hamilton has decided to commit “100 per cent” to her music this year. She had built up a hair extension supply business but realised the venture wasn’t fulfilling her the way that singing always had.
“I didn’t think I could do that for the rest of my life because I wasn’t passionate about it,” she said. “That’s when I felt in my spirit and told myself, ‘You know what, I’m going to at least try to do the things I love and see if my gift will make a way for me’.”
Danilee Trott at the City of Hamilton helped open up opportunities: Ms Hamilton was host on the red carpet at the City Fashion Festival; in March she will perform as part of an international tour with Savvy Entertainment.
Ms Hamilton is confident those who come out on Sunday won’t be disappointed.
“This is an amazing free event and it’s going to have amazing entertainment, food and music, as well as good vibes,” she added. “You can come out and bring your kids or your elderly parents and there will be something for everyone to enjoy.”
•See Ms Hamilton and her dancers at 9.30pm at Number One Car Park. Celebrations start with the movie Descendants 2, at 7.30pm